Abbott edges Steggall as right-wing parties secure top spot on ballot paper


Former prime minister Tony Abbott has scored a top spot on the ballot paper for the federal election as right-wing parties in NSW and Queensland also take prime positions.

Tony Abbott has placed ahead of main rival independent Zali Steggall on the federal election ballot paper for the Sydney seat of Warringah in what he's described as the fight of his life.

Mr Abbott and Ms Steggall were both on hand to watch the ballot draw on Wednesday in a crowded office in Manly.

Ms Steggall placed eighth, while the former prime minister was drawn in sixth spot.

The former prime minister holds the northern beaches electorate on a comfortable margin of 15.3 per cent, though Ms Steggall's high profile campaign is expected to erode Mr Abbott's primary vote.

Both candidates played down the importance of the draw and believe voters in Warringah will know who they want to vote for come May 18.

"The ballot paper is the ballot paper and as I said the electors are pretty smart and they'll navigate the ballot paper pretty well, I'm sure," Mr Abbott told reporters.

"I've been campaigning hard and obviously this is a very tight race and I'm in the fight of my life."

Ms Steggall compared the ballot to her time as an Olympic skier.

"I've been at the draw before in an Olympic Games race where you're really hoping to get that number one because you're going to have a clean course. This is about people choosing and focusing on policies," Ms Steggall told reporters.

She said action on climate change and addressing cost of living in Warringah were two of her top priorities.

The former Olympian condemned a planned advertising campaign by lobby group GetUp! targeting Tony Abbott, saying it was in poor taste.

The ad, which was pulled by the activist group earlier on Wednesday following backlash, depicted Mr Abbott dressed as a surf lifesaver refusing to rescue someone drowning at a beach.

A GetUp! spokesman said the organisation had "the greatest respect" for Australia's lifesavers, and apologised for the insensitivity of the ad.

Call for political advertising to focus on policy

Ms Steggall said political advertising needed to focus on policy.

"I don't approve of that kind of advertising. I think you need to focus on policies and not smear campaigns in relation to people," she said.

"That was of quite poor taste."

Mr Abbott described the ad as "unbelievably tacky" but added he took the extra attention he was receiving as a "backhanded compliment".

"I've been what I am for two decades-plus and I guess you change and grow as time goes by but the important things stay constant," he said.

"It's not about me, it's the lifesavers of Australia that they should be apologising to collectively."

Animal Justice Party candidate Heather Barnes placed first on the ballot, ahead of independent Susan Moylan-Coombs and Labor's Dean Harris.

Right-wing parties take top spot in Queensland, NSW

Right-wing political parties have nabbed the top three spots on Queensland's Senate ballot paper.

The Rise Up Australia Party, Pauline Hanson's One Nation party and Clive Palmer's United Australia Party were allocated positions one to three, respectively.

The LNP took fourth spot, the Greens eighth and the Labor Party position 10 at the ballot draw in Brisbane onWednesday.

Rise Up Australia also secured prime position on the Senate ballot paper in NSW, which will feature more than 100 candidates.

A record number of Australians are enrolled to vote this election
A record number of Australians are enrolled to vote this election

The right-wing political party on Wednesday drew the coveted first spot on the ballot, ahead of the Liberal-Nationals in fourth place and Labor in 10th.

One Nation was drawn in 19th ahead of Clive Palmer's United Australia Party, which has drawn an unfavourable 26th position on the far right of the paper.

The Greens and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party will appear between both major parties on the ballot papers in seventh and eighth position, respectively.

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