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Democrats' launch major ACT Senate seat bid: Rick Farley to run for Democrats.

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Senator Meg Lees,

Parliamentary Leader, Australian Democrats


8 September 1998



Democrats’ launch major ACT Senate seat bid


Rick Farley to run for Democrats


The Australian Democrats have launched an audacious bid to win back the b alance of power from election day. The plan centres around taking an ACT Senate seat off the Coalition.


Democrats’ Leader Senator Meg Lees has announced that the former head of the National Farmers Federation and key supporter of Native Title, Mr Rick Farley, will stand for the Party to spearhead their bid to win the seat from long-serving Liberal Margaret Reid.


“I welcome Rick Farley to the Democrat balance of power team,” Senator Lees said. “Rick’s values and skills are a marvellous addition to the high-quality team of Democrat Lead Candidates contesting this election. He is a wonderful Australian, and I look forward to working closely with him in the Senate.”


Senator Lees said Mr Farley’s campaign would have the theme ‘Canberra’s One Chance to Make a Difference’.


It is widely expected that Labor will retain the two ACT House of Representatives seats they now hold, and that Kate Lundy will be re-elected as a Labor Senator. The only seat which could realistically change hands is the Liberal’s Senate seat - to the Democrats.


“The Democrats have long stood up for Canberra in the federal parliament,” Senator Lees said.


“Now Canberrans can help us help them by choosing to replace a Howard-Costello Liberal Senator with a Democrat Senator.


“That would immediately change the composition of the Senate, giving the Democrats the balance of power instead of Senators Colston and Harradine in the post-election environment.


“The Democrats with balance of power would ensure the Coalition could not ram through massive amounts of socially-destructive legislation which would irretrievably change the face of Australia before the new post-July 1 Senate comes into effect.”


The Democrats’ commissioned private polling last week which indicates Senator Reid is indeed in trouble. The polling shows the Liberal Party on 26%, Labor on 36% the Democrats on 14%, One Nation and the Greens on 5%, Others on 1% and Don’t Knows 12%


“The key to victory is keeping the Liberals below 33%, and boosting our vote to the mid-20s,” Senator Lees said. “I truly believe that with the amount of damage which the Howard-Costello Government has wrought on Canberra - with the support of Margaret Reid’s vote in the Senate - that the mood is right for Canberrans to grasp their only chance to Make a Difference.”



For more information or to arrange interview: Geoff Dodd 0416-180-085



* Each Territory elects two Senators only;

* Territory Senators take up their term immediately following the election, and not after July 1 as with Senators from the states;

* If the Democrats win the ACT Senate seat from the Liberals then the Democrats will regain balance of power, a position they won at the 1996 election but lost after the controversial defection of Senator Colston from the ALP