David Pocock on the brink of historic ACT Senate victory as Liberals lose Zed Seselja seat

Former rugby union star David Pocock is about to become the first small-party territory senator.

Mr Pocock, a conservationist and former captain of the Wallabies, gained a strong vote in the federal election following his high-profile ACT Senate campaign.

He is now on the point of removing Liberal Senator Zed Seselja, while Labor spokeswoman Katy Gallagher will keep her seat.

However, the results remain unconfirmed as the Senate preference votes were not counted last night.

Before this election, Labor and the Coalition had occupied every ACT and Northern Territory Senate seat in history.

The ACT Senate vote in 2022 could also make history by being the first in which a Labor candidate is not elected on a first-preference basis.

In territorial elections, candidates need a quota of one-third of all votes plus one vote — about 33.3 percent of the vote — to win a seat in the Senate.

Late last night, Labor’s combined vote was 33.2 percent – the lowest number ever, but almost certainly enough to secure Senator Gallagher’s re-election.

The Liberal vote had fallen 9 percentage points to 23.4 percent, while Pocock took in 22.1 percent.

These results are preliminary and will change as the census progresses.

While Senator Seselja is currently leading the way, most minor parties have urged their supporters to back Pocock over Senator Seselja, making the prospect of a Liberal victory unlikely.

Pocock pledges action on climate, integrity, poverty and women’s rights

David Pocock, the center and supporters watch as the Senate results are broadcast last night.ABC News: Tahlia Roy

Mr Pocock announced his candidacy six months ago and gained the support of the progressive lobby group Climate 200, which helped fund the so-called “teal” independents.

He quickly gained the support of more than 2,200 volunteers, who compete with the major parties, and was one of the most visible ACT candidates during the campaign.

In recent weeks, the prospect of his election sparked a strong reaction from both main parties, both of which had never before lost a Senate seat.

At a boisterous celebration in the city last night, Mr Pocock thanked his supporters but held back on claiming victory.

He said he would continue to push for greater integrity in federal politics, a lower cost of living for poorer Canberrans and a safer community for women.

“And after a lost decade of denial and delay, it is clear that we must continue with climate action and play our part,” he added.

“We have to do what’s right for our future and we have to do it in a way that benefits ordinary Australians.”

Labor strengthens grip on all ACT lower house voters

A man wearing a shirt with the word 'Labor' and two women standing together smiling.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr, Canberra Labor MP Alicia Payne and ACT Labor Senator Katy Gallagher on Election Day.ABC News: Antoinette Radford

Labor supporters gathered in Belconnen to celebrate four local victories and the election of an Anthony Albanian-led government.

Labor retained all three lower house seats in the ACT, providing favorable swings in every electorate.

David Smith retains Bean’s southern seat with 62.3 percent of the bipartisan preference.

In Canberra’s central electorate, the Liberal vote fell by 8 percentage points, trailing the Greens and sending Labour’s Alicia Payne back with a 58.7 percent victory over the Greens’ Tim Hollo on a bipartisan basis.

Meanwhile, Andrew Leigh won his fifth term, with a bipartisan result of 65.8 percent in Fenner’s northern seat.

At the celebration last night, Dr. Leigh that Labor had never taken its ACT seats for granted.

dr. Leigh added that Senator Gallagher’s re-election meant that Australia would soon have its first finance minister from the ACT.

Katy Gallagher will consider the interests of the ACT as she sits down to put together a budget with [Labor shadow treasurer] Jim Chalmers,” he said.

“That will be immensely valuable to the ACT.”

Meanwhile, in the neighboring New South Wales electorate of Eden-Monaro, which includes the towns of Queanbeyan, Yass and Bega, Labor MP Kristy McBain was re-elected with a strong sweep in her favor of 7.6 percentage points.

Senator Seselja could not be reached for comment last night.

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