Dominic Perrottet has vowed that history will not repeat itself for the NSW Liberal Party.
The prime minister had witnessed firsthand the turmoil that ravaged the party’s primary elections ahead of the May federal poll.
Unlike his colleagues in Canberra, Mr Perrotet’s looming state ballots scheduled for March 2023 will have to change things up if he is to campaign effectively and keep the government. It was clear.
But five months later, liberals are once again plagued with internal troubles that spill over into the public.
Around the time of the federal election, Mr. Perrotet expressed disappointment over the messy primary, which had been stalled by partisan strife.
In the end, he and the prime minister had to intervene.
Some liberal candidates in key seats were just weeks away from campaigning.
At the party’s state convention in August, the prime minister declared there would be early primaries.
“Within two weeks we will start primaries for the next election across the state,” the prime minister applauded, adding, “I want to see more women, I want to see more cultural diversity.”
Nearly three months later, some incumbents have been approved to run in the March elections, but none of the new candidate primaries have been finalized.
And the government has withdrawn 12 MPs, 9 of whom are Liberals.
The situation surrounding deferred preselection is complicated by redistribution, unlike the situation in federal elections.
However, there is also factionalism, and there is a clear shortage of female and culturally diverse potential candidates.
The infighting was exposed by Transport Minister David Elliott.
Elliot’s voter boundaries in Borkham Hills were redrawn and the seat was renamed Kellyville.
The redistribution also affected the seat next to Castle Hill held by Ray Williams, the minister’s centre-right ally.
Williams had planned to run for Kerryville and Elliott for Castle Hill, but rival right-wingers dominate Castle Hill’s numbers.
The prime minister’s brother, Charles Perrottet, is a central figure in the right wing that Mr. Elliott has been so keen to point out.
“I’m not aiming at anyone,” the transport minister said Wednesday.
“This is a statement of fact, we have factions and we have faction leaders.
“There is an agreement between the faction leaders, and that’s why we can’t win the qualifiers.”
Elliott has also expressed concern about the “character” of Noel McCoy, who is currently likely to qualify for Castle Hill.
A former Young Liberals president and attorney, his conservative views on changing abortion policy settings have been widely reported.
McCoy is not a fixed candidate as no pre-selection has taken place.
As the primary drama in northwest Sydney unfolded publicly this week, another pastor quietly withdrew from a contest on the northern beaches.
When Infrastructure Minister Rob Stokes announced his retirement last month, Minister for Family and Community Services Natasha McLaren-Jones was quick to announce that she wanted to run for Pittwater’s seat.
She wanted to move from the Senate to the House of Representatives.
But Northern Beaches Alderman Rory Amon appears to have a number in the branch and is poised to win the pre-selection.
Another nominee is Claire Longley, daughter of former Pittwater MP Jim Longley, but her Liberal affiliation is problematic.
ABC understands the pressure within the government and party to resolve issues so that she can run for the primary.
Roads Minister and Senator Natalie Ward is about to be pre-selected for Davidson’s seat on the Lower North Shore. This will increase the representation of women in the House of Representatives.
But it’s proving to be a difficult transition, as she faces stiff competition from former Liberal staffer Matt Cross.
ABC understands that he’s been eyeing seats for years.
Current MP Jonathan O’Dea is set to retire in the election, and Mr. Cross is unwilling to give way to Mr. Ward.
Meanwhile, former South Coast minister Shelley Hancock and Ryde customer service minister Victor Dominero are both set to be replaced by male candidates.
But with no primaries, candidates aren’t locked in to start their campaigns.
In the eastern suburbs seat of Vaucluse, all three candidates are women, so the Liberal Party will certainly field a female candidate.
But she’s replacing former Attorney General Gabriel Upton, so she won’t be pushing women’s representation across the party.
Vaucluse is the first preselection to take place this week, but almost all other preselections have yet to be dated.
For a highly optimistic prime minister, the New South Wales Liberal Party will learn a lesson from a turbulent federal primary.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-30/nsw-liberal-preselections-delayed-by-factional-battles-analysis/101588692 Infighting and redistribution issues plague Dominique Perrotet’s preselection push