Liberal preselection challenger kicked out of party due to court case

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was leading a push to install candidates in multiple seats and bypass local preselections, causing controversy within the NSW Liberal Party. Many members have blamed Mr Morrison and his key ally Alex Hawke for delaying preselection until it was late enough to justify intervention.

The NSW Court of Appeal dismissed Mr Camenzuli’s application to overturn the federal intervention on Tuesday, ruling it was an internal political party dispute that was not capable of being arbitrated by the court. He has now lodged an application with the High Court to appeal the decision.

Shortly before Tuesday’s judgment was delivered, Mr Camenzuli emailed party members urging them “not to retreat” no matter the outcome. A copy of the email was forwarded to The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

“Our leaders have failed us,” wrote Mr Camenzuli, who was a member of the NSW Liberal Party’s hard-right faction and an ally of outgoing Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.

“Right now, your leaders are asking you to dig deep whilst they silence you. You are now denied even the few preselection plebiscites that were originally planned in NSW.”

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The federal intervention enabled the endorsement of sitting federal MPs Alex Hawke, Trent Zimmerman and Sussan Ley – protecting them from a preselection challenge and denying grassroots members a say.

At the weekend the committee also used its power to endorse candidates in nine other NSW seats including lawyer Jenny Ware as the candidate in Hughes, lawyer Katherine Deves in Warringah and businesswoman Maria Kovacic in Parramatta.

Jacqueline Maley cuts through the noise of the federal election campaign with news, views and expert analysis. Sign up to our Australia Votes 2022 newsletter here.

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