Zed says you asked for it and the Liberals say they’ve ‘absolutely’ got it: A strong, hard-working, unified team. As they turn into the home straight for the next election, hungry to take the Territory’s rising cost-of-living to Labor’s door, FREYLA FERGUSON talks to the Opposition Leader
STRONG, credible and unified is how Opposition Leader Zed Seselja describes his party leading up to next year’s ACT election.
Seselja says the Canberra Liberals have learnt from past mistakes and are working hard at forming a united front.
“We’ve heard the message from the electorate and what they want is a strong, hard-working, unified team and we’ve absolutely got that,” he said.
“I think we got a renewed team at the last election and what we’ve done with those talented individuals is worked on backing each other up.
“Focusing on the real task, which is servicing our community. Our political party getting itself into trouble focusing on internals – that’s long behind us; that’s probably our opponents’ problem where they are now jockeying positions in the ministry whether its Greens or within the Labor Party.”
Over the past three years, ACT Liberals have spent hours working at “the grass-roots level” in the community, door knocking and listening to the concerns of the community.
“We’ve spent a lot of time out in the community – Chisholm, Lanyon, Amaroo, Ngunnawal, West Belconnen and getting a sense of what needs to be fixed; what are the concerns,” Seselja said.
“We’ve very much heard cost of living is absolutely critical.
“They don’t want large palaces built for ministers they want their local oval taken care of, or their local school, or their local footpath – that’s very much the strong message we’re been getting.”
Seselja says the directions of the party will be in local service delivery, infrastructure, housing affordability and cost of living.
“Infrastructure Canberra – building better roads and getting land out quicker to the market,” he said.
“We pushed very hard for drug driving law. We saw a problem we were the only jurisdiction that didn’t have laws that deterred people from driving under the influence of illicit drugs and with great Labor resistance.
“We pushed that through and [Opposition health spokesman] Jeremy Hanson did a really great job; that gives a flavour of some of the policies we believe in.
“Some we’ve announced, some we’ve delivered through legislation but as we go forward in the next 16 months our policies will be some of those core service delivery, infrastructure and cost of living.”
Keeping the Labor Government accountable is what Seselja claims are his biggest “wins” for the Liberals, including exposing bullying in the Canberra Hospital, and the practise of downgrading patients on elective surgery lists.
“We are very engaged – and that’s been the key,” he said.