Liberal Candidate Unleashes On Scott Morrison After Being Dumped
An extraordinary spray has been launched at Scott Morrison, with a dumped Liberal candidate claiming the PM “betrayed” local voters and the Liberal party doesn't "support democracy or act with integrity."
Grant Schultz, who had been selected as the Liberal candidate in the NSW seat of Gilmore, angrily resigned from the party on Tuesday after learning he had been disendorsed and replaced.
Local party members had selected Schultz, a local real estate agent, as the candidate for the marginal seat last month after sitting MP Ann Sudmalis announced she didn’t plan to run again.
But on Tuesday, an internal process got underway to overturn the pre-selection and replace Schultz with former ALP national president Warren Mundine, who lives on Sydney's north shore.
He was also the Australian Labor Party's national president from 2006 to 2007, and was a member of the party as late as 2012.
A short time later, Schultz announced he was not only leaving the party but intended to run as an independent at the coming election.
"I can no longer be a member of a party that does not support democracy or act with integrity," he told reporters.
"The Prime Minister has stated that he believes in a fair go. He has not given me that.
"I believe the people of Gilmore need a strong voice. Someone who will fight for them and them alone. Someone who answers only to them, not to a union or to a party that doesn't know or care who they are."
Schultz had earlier claimed in an interview with the South Coast Register that the Liberal Party had "betrayed" the people of his electorate and that he could not stand with a party that "doesn't have any democratic principles".
Schultz is the son of former Liberal MP Alby Schultz. He claimed in the Register interview his father would be "rolling in his grave in utter disgust and anger".
The spray may only be the beginning of the backlash from the move, with reports some local Liberal branch members are set to quit over the Mundine plan.
The prime minister is hoping his new candidate -- who he described as a "top bloke" with "a lot to offer" -- can secure Gilmore in the upcoming election, tipped to be held in mid-May.
Mundine recently considered running for a seat for a number of conservative parties, after being unsuccessful in winning preselection for a Labor seat.
Morrison declined to confirm reports of the candidate switch on Tuesday.
"When I have more to say about our candidate in Gilmore I will say it then," Morrison told reporters in Cooktown on Tuesday.
The indigenous leader could be announced as the Gilmore candidate as early as Wednesday morning.