If Senator Zed Seselja is looking for somebody to blame for his now inevitable exit from Parliament, the mirror might be a good place to start.
The former ACT territory opposition leader and three-term Liberal senator, who snatched Gary Humphries' spot on the ticket in an internal party coup in 2013, has been the author of his own misfortunes. He has been aided and abetted by a cabal of ultra-conservative Liberals in the ACT branch.
Neither he, nor his backers, have ever been in step with what is one of the most progressive political jurisdictions in the country. They, if anything, vindicate - at least in part - Paul Keating's famous critique of some elements of the Upper House as "unrepresentative swill". While Senator Seselja is still a long way off conceding, and counting may continue into next week, it is hard to see how he can best independent David Pocock given the likely preference flow.
While Senator Seselja was ahead on the primary vote with 42,915 to 37,091 as of Tuesday afternoon, there is every reason to believe this will be reversed as more candidates, including the Greens' Tajanara Goreng Goreng (17,488) and independent Kim Rubenstein (7,544) are eliminated and second preferences allocated.
Senator Seselja could hardly be surprised he'll receive few preferences. Despite some belated efforts to win votes with sports facility funding promises, he's rarely sought to do the popular thing.
He showed his conservative colours early during his maiden speech in 2013 by speaking out against the ACT government's same-sex marriage legislation. Although he later supported a national referendum on the issue, the senator was absent from his seat on the day of the historic vote on national same sex marriage legislation in 2018 - despite having pledged to honour the outcome of the plebiscite.
While none of this ever sat well with many Canberrans, including moderate Liberals, the issue that has most characterised him - and perhaps condemned him - was his outright refusal to fight for territory rights.
On August 15, 2018, Senator Seselja voted "no" to the Restoring Territory Rights (Assisted Suicide Legislation) Bill 2015, which would have restored to the ACT Legislative Assembly the authority to legislate on the matter of voluntary assisted dying.
This fuelled the already embryonic "put Zed last movement" ahead of the 2019 election. That then inspired the recent challenges by Kim Rubenstein and David Pocock. These effectively gave disenfranchised moderate Liberals, who just could not bring themselves to vote for the ALP, somewhere to go.
More may have been tipped over the edge into voting for an independent by the dirty tricks orchestrated by Advance Australia - an organisation this newspaper revealed has close links with the senator - during the campaign. AA's activities included trying to brand Mr Pocock as a secret Green. This backfired badly, suggesting to many voters the independent was a very rare politician in that he actually stood for something.
Then, on election eve, AA "push-polled" thousands of locals about "the bias of The Canberra Times" and again attacked his "extremist" opponent. That also went down like a lead balloon.
As the now decades-in-the-wilderness Liberals in the ACT Assembly go through their own introspection, the message for party members is surely that to win back the second Senate spot next time they'll need a moderate candidate in the tradition of Gary Humphries.
While the count continues, it is clear Canberrans have rejected a senator who consistently put his own personal beliefs ahead of their best interests.
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