In February this year, three Liberal Party members including two former MPs were suspended for six months from the party for appearing on a 7.30 investigation into Liberal preselections.
Former federal MP Ross Cameron, former NSW Upper House MP Charlie Lynn and branch member Juris Laucis, all of whom are aligned with the once-dominant right faction of the party, criticised the current pre-selection process which they said was producing candidates favoured by factional bosses rather than the best possible candidates and that the party was a breeding ground for “hacks”.
“Well, it’s a growth of factionalism within the Liberal Party and the factions are very, very strong within the Liberal Party, and if you step outside the factions you are finished forever,” Mr Lynn said.
Mr Cameron called the Liberal Party’s processes “corrupt”.
After the program aired, the participants were sent a letter advising them of their suspension from the party under the constitution because comments to 7.30 were likely to cause “damage to the reputation of the division, cause embarrassment to the division or party or parliamentary leader and or reduce the divisions prospect of success in any election.”
The decision was made by the Acting State Director, Simon McInnes, in consultation with the party president, and there was no right of appeal.
On Monday night, Tony Abbott joined in, warning that lobbyists holding positions as power brokers in the Liberal party creates the potential for corruption.
“There is absolutely no doubt there is a dominant faction, there is a dominant individual inside that faction, and that individual is a lobbyist,” Abbott told the Four Corners program.
“Some of these factional warlords have a commercial interest in dealing with politicians whose preselections they can influence,” Abbott said.
He said this created a “potentially corrupt position”.
“There are people not on the state executive who caucus regularly on the phone and face-to-face with people who are on the executive to try and get pre-cooked outcomes.”
Will Mr Abbott be suspended from the party and if not, why not?
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