NSW Libs to vote on preselection changes

Tony Abbott's attempt to end factionalism in the NSW Liberal Party will go to a vote in Sydney.
Tony Abbott's attempt to end factionalism in the NSW Liberal Party will go to a vote in Sydney.

The NSW branch of the Liberal Party will vote on changes suggested by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott which are designed to empower the members and prevent factionalism.

Mr Abbott, the member for Warringah, is behind the move to transform party preselection into a "one member one vote" grassroots process that would see members directly elect their candidates.

Currently, preselection is left to branch delegates and supporters of the so-called Warringah Motion argue that nurtures factionalism.

Some have speculated the motion will not succeed despite being backed by former prime minister John Howard, Warringah conference president Walter Villatora, and new NSW Senator Jim Molan.

The alternative, Philip Ruddock's Bennelong Motion, would leave about 10 per cent of the preselection vote to the state and council executive.

It would also not allow party members to vote on candidates for the NSW upper house or the Senate.

The motions will be voted on at the state Liberal annual general meeting at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday.

Australian Associated Press