Former ACT senator Zed Seselja will turn his back on the territory in a bid to earn Liberal preselection for the party's NSW federal Senate spot, saying his family is joining "the exodus out of Canberra into regional New South Wales".
In an unlisted Youtube campaign video, the 46-year-old conservative promised to come after immigration numbers, cancel culture, and "the woke indoctrination of our kids" if he was selected for the seat vacated by former foreign affairs minister Marise Payne.
"We have to fight against cancel culture, and the attempts by the government to censor opinions that they don't agree with," Mr Seselja said.
"We need to stand up against the woke indoctrination of our kids in schools, and against the left wing bias in the ABC".
Several of the Coalition's conservative figures - including former prime minister Tony Abbott, Liberal-National senator Matt Canavan, and shadow defence minister Andrew Hastie - appeared in the video, urging party members to back Mr Seselja into the role.
Mr Abbott said that Mr Seselja would be "an absolute rock solid member of Peter Dutton's team"; an apparent nod to the fact that several politicians have exited the party since Mr Dutton became leader.
"And that's what we need. We need a united, cohesive, committed team in the run up to the next election which is absolutely winnable," the former prime minister said.
Mr Dutton has also backed Seselja in a letter to preselectors, according to reports in Nine newspapers.
But a moderate Liberal source told The Canberra Times that the high level intervention from Mr Dutton "won't change much" and former NSW transport minister Andrew Constance is still the frontrunner for the Senate vacancy.
Others in the party have frowned upon Mr Seselja's bid to distance himself from the territory that first made him a federal senator.
"Seems he never liked it here in the first place. Canberrans have a right to be even more angry with him," a Canberra Liberal source told The Canberra Times.
There are just 10 days to go until members vote on who will be their next NSW senator on November 26.
Mr Seselja is seen as a right faction front-runner among 10 candidates running to replace Ms Payne, a long-serving moderate figure.
In the campaign video, which has received more than 800 views in three days, Mr Seselja told preselectors the Coalition's success in defeating the Voice to Parliament was a "demonstration that when we stand up for our values, we can bring the Australian people with us".
"So now we as a party have a choice to make: do we retreat and become just a pale imitation of Labor or a lighter shade of teal? Or do we fight?" he said.
Aside from Mr Constance, his pre-selection rivals also include former Wentworth MP Dave Sharma, and Monica Tudehope, who worked as an advisor to former NSW premier Dominic Perrottet.
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