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Xenophon threatens return to politics over Ugg boot case


Former state MP and senator Nick Xenophon is threatening to make a return to federal politics over a legal case about Ugg boots – and a former colleague believes he will win a seat if he does run.

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The former longtime SA No Pokies MP, and later senator left politics in 2018 and has since worked as a lawyer, but is now considering running as an Upper House independent at next year’s election.

“I will definitely run if the Australian Government doesn’t support the Ugg boot case,” Xenophon told InDaily.

“This has been a trigger for me considering a comeback.”

His re-emergence stems from a long-running legal battle with US footwear company Dekkers over use of the term “Ugg”.

Sydney bootmaker Eddie Oygur was sued by Dekkers in 2016 for selling 13 pairs of the boots to US customers, after a US court found Dekkers had the sole rights to using the term “ugg”.

While the federal government has contributed $200,000 to fight the case, Xenophon said the commonwealth had fallen short of assisting Oygur as a “friend of the court”, which means there’s little chance an appeal would be heard by the US Supreme Court.

“I’m telling the public that I can’t understand why the Australian Government won’t come forward and support what should be a good news story for the government and a good news story for Australia to stick up for an Aussie battler and an iconic Aussie creation and with it bring 400 jobs – I just don’t get it,” he said.

In true Xenophon style, he trotted out an Al Pacino line from The Godfather, saying: “Just when I thought I was out they’re dragging me back in.”

“They’re going to force me into it.”

Asked when he would decide for certain if he will throw his hat in the ring, Xenophon said: “The government’s only got another week or two before they make their mind up because otherwise it will be too late. I’m hoping that it will reverse it. I know that none of them want me back there so that might spur them into doing the right thing.”

Xenophon entered the SA Upper House as in independent in 1997 and served until 2007 before winning a Senate seat and acting as a critical  crossbencher.

He resigned from politics in 2017 at the height of the dual citizenship issue which claimed a number of political scalps, after being unsure whether he was a dual citizen, which would have made him ineligible to run for parliament.

However, the High Court later found Xenophon was validly elected and able to run for office.

He again turned his attention to South Australian politics, running for a lower house seat in the 2018 state election under the SA Best party, but failed.

Centre Alliance SA Senator Stirling Griff – a former Nick Xenophon Team senator – told InDaily “It would be a good thing” if Xenophon did run and that he would “most certainly win a seat”.

“That would keep the government on its toes and guarantee there would still be an independent in the senate from 1 July next year,” he said.

“A few years ago the electoral laws were changed and this change makes it almost impossible to gain a senate spot unless you have a very high popularity rating.

“Voters know Nick well and that he stands up for what is right and right for our state. If he does indeed run for the senate he will most certainly win a seat.”

-with AAP

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