FEDERAL South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon has provided a massive twist in the lead-up to next year’s state election, announcing he will be contesting it.
Mr Xenophon dropped the political bombshell, on Friday, that he’ll be vacating his federal senate position to contest for the state House of Assembly, while announcing the first six candidates for his state political party, SA Best – none of which were for local seats.
The former state politician-turned federal senator will take on Liberal MP Vincent Tarzia in his north-eastern suburbs seat of Hartley, while the other announced SA Best candidates will also contest Liberal-held seats.
It didn’t take long for the party to strike controversy, however, with Mr Xenophon sacking one of his candidates, on Saturday, over unearthed controversial social media posts he made in 2015.
While Mr Xenophon has yet to announce candidates in Labor-held territories, he has previously identified the northern suburbs as key battleground areas.
Mr Xenophon said the party will be aiming to, at least, win the balance of power in parliament, so it can hold whoever does form government to account.
“Just as NXT has used its position in the senate to achieve better outcomes for South Australia, SA Best will use a position of influence in our state parliament to secure reforms that will lead to better administration, more transparency and accountability, and better, reliable, more affordable services for all South Australians,” he said.
Mr Xenophon is currently facing the High Court over whether his election to the federal senate was constitutionally valid, due to possibly owning a British citizenship.
He said he will contest the state election, no matter the outcome.