We can’t be certain. But we expect the din over Scott Morrison’s intervention to save Liberal MP Craig Kelly from a sticky preselection in his safe Sydney seat of Hughes would be a lot quieter if Kelly were a woman.
In either case, Mr Morrison has been forced to defend his controversial move after earlier this week he protected Mr Kelly’s political future by urging the party’s powerful NSW executive to ‘use emergency powers to endorse all sitting MPs for the next federal election’, AAP reports.
On Wednesday, Mr Morrison told reports:
‘There are four incumbent members — four incumbent members — that I believed it was important for the party to re-endorse for the next election…
‘As the leader of the parliamentary party, it’s my job to maximise the party’s chances and standing at the next election.
‘And with four incumbent members — members who have been on the ground, members who are well respected by their communities — they present the best opportunity to ensure the re-election of the government.’
MPs Jason Falinski, John Alexander and Lucy Wicks, make up the four incumbent members.
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Morrison claims government’s are shaped in the lower house
The Liberal Party’s moderate faction has been extremely separated after the decision was made to suspend NSW Liberal preselections. Three of NSWs’ state executive representatives have settled to abstain from a vote, allowing the move to continue forward.
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull publically criticised the plan, but the preselection races were still called off.
Mr Morrison explained:
‘As party leader I made it pretty clear I wanted them [sitting MPs] endorsed and I wanted them on the ground finding the next election, not getting distracted by anything else…
‘That’s my main mission, that’s their mission, and as leader I made a call, I said I want them endorsed, and the party backed me and I appreciate their support.’
Mr Morrison also referenced his decision to not save NSW Liberal senator Jim Molan. He has been demoted to a nearly no-win spot at the next election.
According to AAP, Mr Morrison claims that the lower house is where governments are shaped. He said:
‘That’s where my focus is, to ensure the re-election of the government’.
Queensland MP Jane Prentice was dumped after she lost a preselection fight in May, and the PM refused to comment on the outcome, stating:
‘I wasn’t the prime minister at the time of Ms Prentice’s preselection so I can’t make any comment about that…
‘That matter was dealt with many, many months ago.’
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