On Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison took the extraordinary step of overruling the Gilmore FDC in announcing the candidacy of former ALP National President Warren Mundine for the Federal Seat of Gilmore.
The official reason cited by NSW Liberal President Phillip Ruddock is “Mr Schultz nominated against a sitting member who later withdrew and given these circumstances the party has elected to not proceed with the endorsement. The party should be able to consider the best candidate to represent voters, their aspirations and concerns in each community”.
However, unofficially it is because the Prime Minister in collusion with the NSW Liberal Executive decided that a star candidate who lives outside of the electorate would have a better chance at holding onto the seat of Gilmore than a local who had already been endorsed by his Federal Division Council.
Incidentally, Greg Schultz is the son of the late Alby Schultz, a long-serving State and Federal MP for the Liberal Party in New South Wales. The dumping of not only someone preselected at the local level, but also of someone whose name carries weight and respect within the Liberal Party, is extremely telling of how undemocratic the Liberal Party has become, especially in New South Wales.
In the words of one commentator, “Why did ScoMo try and drop Warren Mundine into a seat that was preselected 8 months ago? Can that man do anything right?” and “The Liberal Party at branch level is already bleeding activists like a hemophilic [sic] elephant that’s been shot with an artillery piece and he decides to do a captain’s pick?”
Haemophilic elephant is a very suitable metaphor. The Liberal Party is haemorrhaging activists, and those who have dedicated themselves to its cause are falling – if they haven’t already fallen – into despair. This morning, there have been admissions from some Liberal sources that a “not insignificant” number of party members have threatened to quit the party prior to the Federal Election.
Moreover, the Speaker of New South Wales Legislative Assembly has referred to yesterday as “one of the darkest days of the Liberal Party” and has slammed the Prime Minister for his interference in the preselection process. [MORE TO COME]