According to the Canberra Times
ACT Labor and Greens MLAs have used their numbers in the Legislative Assembly to pass a motion condemning former opposition leader Zed Seselja for ‘‘betraying’’ the voters of Lanyon Valley.
Apparently his betrayal is because the ACT Liberal party has pre-selected Seselja as the party’s number 1 candidate for the Senate.
The pre-selection is a story in itself. Senator Gary Humphries was caught by surprise by Seselja’s nomination (that suggests a good deal of complacency) and a good number of members of the ACT Liberal Party were ineligible to vote because they hadn’t attended a party meeting for more than six months. These are the rules and Seselja has been properly pre-selected. In my view it is time for Humphries to retire in any case – Seselja should be a quality addition to Tony Abbott’s team. He is a step to the right compared with Humphries and has more of a libertarian instinct.
As for the Labor and Greens motion – this shows the irrelevance of the ACT Legislative Assembly. They are jealous that Zed Seselja is likely to move to the Senate. He is not walking away from his constituency – he is giving them more effective representation in a place where it matters.
Remember Meredith Hunter? The then Greens MLA who wanted an extra $50,000 salary for having to manage “three other Greens MLAs”. Well the people of the ACT decided to turf Ms Hunter out of a job, and cut the greens down to one seat. So much for that example of hubris.
I’ve argued before that the residential areas of Canberra should be transferred to NSW. The ACT government would then become a simple local council. There would be two fewer senators and hence four fewer Members of the House of Representatives* – the reduction spread over the electorates around Australia. Canberra residents would vote in their local council election, be part of a NSW state seat and a NSW federal seat. The parliamentary area 0f Canberra and sufficient forests would remain Commonwealth to ensure the Constitutional requirements are met. In short, no one would live in Canberra. That most expensive of jails, the Alexander Maconochie Centre, would be become Canberra Jail and run like a proper jail at much lower cost.
* Section 24 of the Constitution provides that there are twice as many HoR seats as Senate seats.