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“Strategic voting, including a blank box against the name of Zed Seselja will improve the chances of Canberra being taken more seriously by the federal government,” says political columnist MICHAEL MOORE.
THE ACT has been taken for granted by the Federal government for too long. And we can do something about it. Every vote counts. 
In Canberra, your vote in the Senate can really make a significant difference for the ACT and for Australians as a whole. At the polling booth, the best chance to disrupt the status quo is on the Senate paper. 
The ACT taken for granted? Go back half a century when the ACT voted in a referendum against the introduction of self-government. No problem for the federal government. Ignore Canberrans’ wishes and introduce it anyway!
What about the time when legislation in the ACT and the NT was proposed allowing people in great pain and suffering to die in a dignified manner? No problem for the federal government; just introduce changes to the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 to take the power away. 
In their minds, the moral views of MPs and senators were more important than those of the ACT Assembly that they had established. It was a similar story when the ACT determined it was well past an appropriate time to allow gay people to marry. Ironically, other jurisdictions have eventually caught up with the ACT and the measures are now in place.
The current conservative ACT senator Zed Seselja retains the view that the territory rights can be overridden if his personal moral perspectives dictate. Additionally, he has finally found “more land for more houses for Canberrans”. Why has he sat on this information until an election? Anyway, an independent or Greens senator will have enough influence to ensure that promise can be delivered. 
Of all of the incumbents, Senator Seselja is the only one of our politicians that appears seriously vulnerable at this stage. 
The Labor incumbents in the seats of Bean, Canberra and Fenner have behaved well enough and worked hard enough for a majority of constituents to accept that they ought to be re-elected. 
In Fenner, Andrew Leigh has been an outstanding parliamentarian and has brought a strong intellect and policy rigour to his party and to the parliament as a whole.
A vote for independents or Greens will send a clear message to the major parties. As an example, a vote for candidates such as independent Tim Bohm and Greens Tim Hollo in the seat of Canberra for the House of Representatives will send a clear message to the major parties about the need for a change to the way politics is conducted. 
Senator Katy Gallagher has worked hard enough for Canberra and for Australia to deserve re-election. Even if voting for an independent or a Greens candidate, it is appropriate to then assign a vote next to her name.
Note that Kim Rubenstein and David Pocock have established political parties. This does not make them “fake” independents. They have done so to remove the disadvantage of only being available to below-the-line voters. 
The second advantage is that should they be elected and at some stage need to resign, it is a like-minded independent that is likely to replace them. Fuxin Li is the only candidate who is listed below the line in the independent column.
Strategic voting is needed by Canberrans. If voting above the line on your Senate paper, remember you need to mark 6 of the 11 boxes. You must number at least 1 to 6 to have a valid vote. 
However, after placing 6 marks, if you really object to the policies, principles or candidates of a particular party it is better to leave that box blank.
Strategic voting is also possible below the line on the Senate paper. Once again, you must number at least 1 to 12 of the 23 candidates who will be listed. 
This is the first time in many elections that there appears to be a real chance to ensure that Canberra is not taken for granted. Strategic voting, including a blank box against the name of Zed Seselja will improve the chances of Canberra being taken more seriously by the federal government.
 
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Thank you,
Ian Meikle, editor
“As an ACT parliamentarian delivering a speech in the ACT, it may have been more apt for Dr Leigh to reflect on the ACT’s record in relation to the incarceration of Aboriginal peoples rather than that of WA, writes JON STANHOPE.
“As we settled into the footy finals – advertisements bombarded us in attempts to persuade us that we may enjoy the game more if we have money on it,” MLA Marisa Paterson tells MICHAEL MOORE. 
Under the amendment, votes by workers – to be part of an agreement, to take industrial action, or to accept an agreement – would be at the individual business level, writes MICHELLE GRATTAN.
Make a donation and support the future of journalism and media diversity in the ACT.
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