Premier says Gibbons should remain in parliament despite losing pre-selection battle

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Meanwhile, several senior Liberals said they feared the party would now lose Holsworthy at the state election in March.

The Prime Minister said on Friday that Gibbons was a “great local member” and a “very strong member of our parliamentary party”.

“She has a strong future and I’m sure the party will find a way for her to stay, and she should,” he said.

Asked on Friday if Gibbons had been treated badly by the Liberals, Perrottet said: “These are matters for the Liberal Party and they are working through these matters … my expectation is that the NSW Liberal Party will resolve the matter.”

The Prime Minister’s Office was also asked whether Perrottet would honor his promise to elevate Gibbons to Cabinet, but declined to comment further.

The clearest route for Gibbons to move to the upper house would be if the NSW Liberals’ most senior woman in government, upper house MP Natalie Ward, wins Monday night’s preselection in the ultra-safe northern Sydney seat of Davidson, which is being vacated by outgoing chairman Jonathan O’Deaand creates a random vacancy in the Legislative Council.

Ward’s entry into the House of Commons would boost the number of Liberal women in the legislature, which has fallen to just 10, and Ward has even said one of his “bugbears” with the Left did not ensure that women ran in safe places.

But there could be another showdown, with Matt Cross, an aide to former premier Mike Baird, also a candidate for Davidson. Cross has been working to win primary for the blue-ribbon seat for several years.

Outgoing Liberal MPs

  • Pittwater MP Rob Stokes: Rory Amon is front-runner for replacement
  • Davidson MP Jonathan O’Dea: Pre-selection contest between Natalie Ward and Matt Cross
  • Ryde MP Victor Dominello: To be replaced by Jordan Lane
  • Parramatta MP Geoff Lee: Pre-selection competition includes Gabriel Harb, Tanya Raffoul and Katie Mullens
  • Vaucluse MP Gabrielle Upton: To be replaced by Kellie Sloane
  • South Coast MP Shelley Hancock: To be replaced by Luke Sikora
  • Baulkham Hills MP David Elliott: Seat to be abolished
  • Wakehurst MP Brad Hazzard: Pre-selection not complete
  • Riverstone MP Kevin Conolly: Five nominated for preselection; four men and one woman

In the neighboring seat of Pittwater, which is being vacated by senior minister Rob Stokes, Northern Beaches Liberal councilor Rory Amon is the front-runner after Upper House Minister for Families and Communities Natasha Maclaren-Jones withdrew from the race.

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Lawyer Claire Longley, whose father Jim Longley is a former Pittwater MP, was also considered as a possibility and Stokes’ preferred replacement, but has been unable to nominate due to issues with her membership.

In Parramatta, the contest to replace outgoing minister Geoff Lee includes Transport Minister David Elliott’s chief of staff Tanya Raffoul, who is fighting for pre-selection but doesn’t appear to have the numbers against Gabriel Harb, who is secretary of Parramatta’s federal electoral conference. .

A former elector for Lee, Katie Mullins, has also nominated for the western Sydney seat, but there are fears the case will not be finalized until next year.

The nearby seat of Drummoyne is being vacated by former Liberal MP John Sidoti, who has announced his retirement from politics, giving the Liberals another opportunity to put a woman in a seat that has been reliably blue since 2011.

A candidate has not been finalized, but former Prime Minister Gladys Berejiklian’s political adviser Berge Okosdinossian has nominated.

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