LIBERALS REVOLT TO CAST ASIDE EPPING MP DAMIEN TUDEHOPE
YOU can’t pretend something is not seriously wrong with the NSW Liberals after Damien Tudehope lost preselection for the upper house in a factional civil war.
Tudehope stepped in to help Dominic Perrottet out of the mess he created when he tried to move from his seat of Hawkesbury into the one next door. The MP for Castle Hill Ray Williams had other ideas. He offered him Tudehope’s seat of Epping. In return, Premier Gladys Berejiklian assured him of an upper house position. Then, on Friday, western Sydney branches defied her, voting against Tudehope 60-58 and opted for a fresh preselection open to all. NSW Liberals are split into about five factions, but let’s broadly call them left, centre-right and right. Scott Morrison ally, Special Minister for State Alex Hawke, leads the dominant centre-right. The right, led by Perrottet, is loyal to Tony Abbott. The left is the Premier’s team, run by state MP Matt Kean and federal MP Trent Zimmerman. Incensed by calls from Zimmerman urging a vote for Tudehope, preselectors in branches such as Mt Druitt, Penrith and Blacktown revolted on Friday night.