The Tasmanian Senate preselection results are in, and Senator Eric Abetz's 27 year tenure in the upper house may soon be coming to an end.
At a meeting at Campbell Town today 67 Liberal party heavyweights - the preselectors - decided Senator Jonno Duniam would head the Senate ticket for the upcoming federal election.
Speaking to The Examiner Senator Duniam said he was pleased with his placement at the top of the ticket.
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"You go into these processes not expecting anything but I put my best foot forward," he said.
"I'm humbled and honoured to have been chosen and I'm looking forward to getting down to business."
The choice of Senator Duniam as number one meant veteran Senator Abetz's previous comments about the top spot being reserved for the most senior member rang true.
In a surprising move by the preselectors Senator Wendy Askew has been selected at number two on the ticket.
Senator Askew said her billing was important for Northern Tasmania.
"I am very happy with the outcome of today's pre-selection vote," she said.
Earlier this week The Examiner reported Senator Askew was set to be consigned to third after filling a casual vacancy in the Senate for two years, after the resignation of her brother David Bushy, but it was not to be.
Talk before the preselection announcement abounded the fallout that could besiege the Liberal government if Wendy Askew was slotted into third spot on the ticket despite a commitment to bettering their female quota.
Senator Duniam said Senator Askew's second billing was meritorious after she "put forward and excellent case". "Gender is a consideration but it is one of a range of considerations," he said.
"It was a tough decision with three quality candidates and at the end of the day the preselectors chose Wendy.
With Senator Duniam and Senator Askew at one and two, Senator Abetz was bumped down to third - a position seen to be notoriously difficult to secure an upper house spot from.
After 27 years in the job, Senator Abetz's selection at three marks a new direction for the Tasmanian Liberals.
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Despite Senator Abetz's fall on the ticket Senator Duniam, who once worked in Senator Abetz's office, was confident in the veteran's position moving forward.
"Eric has contributed a lot and feels there is a lot more he can contribute, and the preselectors agreed," he said.
He said regardless of ticket positions, the party was confident he and Senators Askew and Abetz would secure a seat in the upper house.
However, Tasmanian Liberal Party President Rod Scurrah said the ticket was a strong one.
"I look forward to working with this team and our other Senators Richard Colbeck and Claire Chandler, and House of Representatives Members Bridget Archer and Gavin Pearce, to secure the re-election of the Morrison Liberal Government," he said.
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