Is SCOMO betting on the wrong guy?SC gives a blow to SCOMOs NSW Liberal Party take over aspirations
News by NRI Herald Australia 28 Feb 2022
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s bid to take over the administrative wing of the NSW Liberal Party ahead of the federal election has been dealt a blow, with the Supreme Court ruling in favour of a legal challenge brought by a member of the NSW division’s executive committee.
The decision handed down Friday afternoon does not prevent a federal takeover but will put pressure on party officials to strike a deal to endorse sitting MPs and select candidates quickly in other key seats. The state executive is responsible for running preselections in federal seats in NSW. Mr Hawke is Mr Morrison’s representative on the committee.
Friday’s ruling does not prevent a federal takeover of the NSW division, but will put pressure on party officials to cast aside their factional warfare and endorse the three sitting MPs - Mr Hawke, Sussan Ley and Trent Zimmerman - and select candidates quickly in six other seats.
Hawke did not appear or send a legal representative to the court on Tuesday, as it considered an urgent application tied to the Liberal party’s long-running saga over preselections for federal seats in NSW. As per the report published by The Guardian Scott Robertson SC, appearing for the plaintiff, Liberal state executive member Matthew Camenzuli, told the court considerable efforts had been made to reach the minister, including the service of court documents, emails and phone calls.
Justice John Sacker noted Hawke’s absence and that the case had received considerable publicity in the media. There is no legal requirement for a defendant to respond to a civil summons but as Sacker noted they should be given an opportunity to put their case.
As per the reports published by the Sydney Morning Herald, Many NSW Liberals believe Mr Hawke and Mr Morrison deliberately frustrated the preselection process in order to run down the clock and justify a federal intervention, through which they could directly appoint candidates ahead of the election, expected in May.
The so-called “Warringah rules”, championed by Abbott after he was rolled by Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister, introduced what was called a “one member one vote” rule, essentially creating local plebiscites in preselection ballots. The rules were aimed at making the party more democratic, while also making it harder for the state executive to overrule branches by requiring a 90% voting threshold to use its special powers to install candidates.
But by failing to protect sitting MPs, the rules have created a headache for Morrison in the lead-up to the election. Two ministers, Sussan Ley in Farrer and Alex Hawke in the Sydney seat of Mitchell, are yet to be endorsed, as is the influential moderate in North Sydney, Trent Zimmerman.
while reported by Sydney Morning Herald, “Don’t do it again” that’s the message from prominent Liberal Warren Mundine , who failed to win the seat of Gilmore at the last election after being parachuted in as a celebrity candidate by Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
As the Liberals descend into civil war over NSW preselections ahead of an expected May poll, Mr Mundine said the party was playing with fire by leaving endorsements so late and warned against repeating the mistakes made with him in 2019.
The failure to select candidates in key seats imperils the Liberals’ election hopes in Mr Morrison’s home state, where the party had been hoping to gain seats and offset potential losses elsewhere.