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Back Greens or expect Katter: Brown
Former Greens leader Bob Brown has urged Canberra voters to back the Greens in the Senate at this year’s election or risk Bob Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) holding the balance of power.
In a letter emailed out to ACT residents earlier this week and obtained by the Star Observer, Brown wrote that he believed the KAP were a real threat to the Greens’ position in the Senate.
“Yet again, my namesake Bob (Katter that is) and his fellow travellers in Katter’s Australia [sic] Party have been spreading a message of hate and fear towards gay and lesbian Australians,” he wrote.
Brown said that polling numbers showed that KAP were on track to share the balance of power in the Senate with the Coalition.
“I know what it feels like to face hate and bigotry. It breaks my heart to see its ongoing impact on young people in particular,” he wrote.
“This year’s election we can decide whether Bob Katter’s views remain on the margins – where they belong – or whether they’ll be catapulted to the front and centre of Australian politics.”
ACT Greens Senate candidate and former GetUp! national director Simon Sheikh is vying for the seat of Liberal ACT senator Gary Humphries.
Humphries was the first Senator to vote against the Howard government in its 11-and-a-half years in office when he voted to reverse the federal government’s ban on the ACT’s civil unions law.
“I have worked alongside Simon over the past few years in the campaign for marriage equality and seen firsthand his commitment to ending discrimination against gay and lesbian Australians,” Brown said.
University of Canberra ACT election expert Dr Robin Tennant-Wood said the KAP had no chance of winning a Senate place in the ACT.
“If there was going to be an alternative party getting a seat in the ACT it would be the Greens, the ACT is probably the most progressive voting jurisdiction in the country,” she told the Star Observer.
“For a party that has flagged fairly regressive views, shall we say regressive social views, I don’t think the community is going to buy that one little bit.”
She agreed the letter was electioneering for Sheikh, who she said did not have the community profile that the two former ACT Senate candidates had.
“I think we’ll probably see Bob campaigning fairly solidly in the ACT on the behalf of Simon Sheikh.”