Home杭州楼凤 › Ian Macfarlane defection: Liberals weigh bid to poach Warren Truss seat

Ian Macfarlane defection: Liberals weigh bid to poach Warren Truss seat

Any move on Wide Bay would take place only if Warren Truss announces his retirement from politics in the new year. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen Former Liberal MP Ian Macfarlane has jumped ship and joined the Nationals. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen
杭州楼凤

Queensland Liberals may attempt to snatch the Nationals-aligned seat of Wide Bay, which is held by Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, as political payback for the defection of former cabinet minister Ian Macfarlane.

At the same time, divisions in the senior ranks of the Liberal Party are on full display, with Treasurer Scott Morrison playing down the defection on Tuesday, while Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said it might not even be allowed to proceed.

Any move on Wide Bay would take place only if, as expected, Mr Truss announces his retirement from politics early in the new year and a new candidate has to be pre-selected.

Queensland Liberals are pondering a push to designate Wide Bay as a Liberal seat in response to Mr Macfarlane’s move to align himself with the Nationals within Queensland’s merged Liberal National Party.

As part of the agreement struck by the Liberals and the Nationals when the LNP was formed, MPs hold seats that are designated as either “Liberal” or “National”. This determines the party room they sit in in Canberra.

Wright MP Scott Buchholz, for example, was a former Nationals Senate candidate and a former chief of staff to fellow Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce but sits in the Liberal Party room because Wright is a designated Liberal seat.

The Wide Bay push has also been fuelled by an electoral boundary realignment that has seen the holiday destination of Noosa, which is regarded as Liberal territory, moved into the seat.

LNP deputy president Llew O’Brien is a possible candidate for the seat of Wide Bay if Mr Truss retires and is considered to be aligned with the Nationals.

However, Liberal MPs suggested that as with Mr Buchholz, even if a notional National such as Mr O’Brien is pre-selected, he or she may be required to sit with the Liberals.

One Queensland MP said Mr Macfarlane’s attempt to effectively defect within his own party was a “huge f–k-up” and that it should be resolved by the former cabinet minister “falling on his sword and retiring”, rather than being allowed to join the Nationals and possibly even return to cabinet.

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