â€œIndependentâ€ Tasmanian federal MP Andrew Wilkie is so worried about losing his seat of Denison that he is planning to run for the Senate and is consulting friends and donors about it, sources familiar with the matter have told VEXNEWS exclusively.
Wilkie â€“ whose anti-pokies crusade has now turned into a moralising attack on online gaming â€“ is thought highly unlikely to attract crucial Liberal preferences next time, as punishment for his parliamentary performance including supporting Labor to form a government and then repeatedly breaking confidences involving private discussions with Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his team.
Labor sources say they are hopeful theyâ€™ll be able to take back their heartland seat which is a mix of half working-families and the other half the Tassie equivalent of inner-city leftistes. Considerable resources will be devoted to unseating him, despite his support of the Gillard government in the House of Representatives.
The eccentric Wilkie is no fool and has been hoping to build his profile, insiders say, across all of Tasmania, ahead of attempting to shoe-horn himself into the Senate as a new version of Brian Harradine.
As a former Persian carpet salesman, he knows how to cut a deal and might attempt to trade his all-important Reps vote for early commitments on Senate preferences, said one observer familiar with the brand of realpolitik played by the cunning member.