Many people have asked me why as a lifelong, loyal Liberal, I am chairing the campaign of Anthony Pesec, an Independent candidate for the Australian Senate in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT).
The main role of any political party is to preselect top-quality candidates and present them to the public. The ultimate goal must be the election to parliament of professional and representative candidates who will govern us sensitively and wisely. Due to the lurch to the hard-right by the Canberra Liberals, the party is failing to preselect candidates and develop policies with any real appeal in the ACT.
These concerns are borne out in the party’s recent dismal electoral record. The Canberra Liberals have not won an ACT election since 1998, and actually went backwards in the 2016 Territory elections.
The current Liberal senate incumbent, Zed Seselja, consistently fails to win a Senate quota on first preferences. According to latest ReachTel polling, Zed’s support is now a shockingly low 22 per cent.
Many constituents and observers feel this is due to his apparent failure to achieve anything for Canberra in the national parliament and that his senate voting record is completely at odds with the wishes of the vast majority of his constituents.
I cannot support an individual whose values and policies are so far removed from my own and the people of the ACT.
Sensible on climate
So, why am I supporting Anthony Pesec? Simple really. He is a thoughtful, high-quality candidate with tons of life experience. He would be an asset to the senate and a real representative for the people of Canberra. He is not a career politician, party hack or staffer. I fully endorse and support his ‘sensible centre’ policy positions, especially but not only in relation to climate change.
Anthony was born and bred in Canberra. He is a self-made individual with an enviable record of achievement in the financial services and renewable energy sectors in Australia and overseas. He is well-equipped to make a real difference in the senate in helping to address the key issues facing Australia today.
Yet he is also a true local, with genuine community links, and committed to advancing the interests of the people of the ACT in parliament and elsewhere. He is the sort of candidate that Canberra needs. I am proud to support Anthony and will do all within my power to help secure his election.
Aside from ensuring the election of an outstanding senator for the ACT, I am hoping that the defeat of Senator Seselja will be the catalyst for a serious review of the Canberra Liberals’ corporate governance, preselection and policy development processes, which will help it reposition itself as a viable electoral force in Canberra.
The ACT political system desperately needs a competent, electorally-appealing opposition as we approach the 2020 assembly elections. At present we are far from that.
We also need a party whose Senate representative is able to help grow the Liberal vote in three house of representatives electorates. At the moment, there is much evidence that Senator Seselja represents a serious impediment to the prospects of the party’s lower house candidates.