Australia Gilmore preselection: Ann Sudmalis facing challenge after Jane Prentice shock defeat

00:31  17 may  2018
00:31  17 may  2018 Source:   abc.net.au

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Federal Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis declares she is doing a damn good job in her marginal seat of Gilmore , as she fends off a potential preselection challenge from a local real estate agent.

The ABC understands that Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis is facing a challenge from the south coast real estate agent Grant Schultz for preselection at his marginal home in Gilmore 's New South Wales. Ms. Sudmalis is considered a laborious local member by Labor

A number of Liberals have backed Ann Sudmalis for preselection for Gilmore.© Provided by ABC News A number of Liberals have backed Ann Sudmalis for preselection for Gilmore.

A concerted campaign is underway to save the political career of a female MP in Malcolm Turnbull's Government, following the shock preselection defeat of Queensland Liberal Jane Prentice.

The ABC understands Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis is facing a challenge from South Coast real estate agent Grant Schultz for preselection in her marginal New South Wales seat of Gilmore.

Ms Sudmalis is considered by colleagues to be a hardworking local member but the ABC has been told she has a "poisonous relationship" with party powerbroker and NSW Liberal MP Gareth Ward, who is believed to be backing Mr Schultz.

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Sudmalis is facing a tough preselection challenge from a local businessman after she reportedly fell out with a key New South Wales Liberal power broker. Morrison, standing in front of the Shoalhaven river bridge project in Sudmalis ’s Gilmore south coast electorate

Ms Sudmalis had been facing a rout at the hands of branch members in her marginal NSW south coast seat of Gilmore , which would have also seen the 62-year-old replaced with a younger man. Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis will be spared a preselection challenge .

Senior Liberals are furiously working behind the scenes to convince Mr Ward to back off, fearing that dumping Ms Sudmalis would severely embarrass the Prime Minister at a time when female representation in the Coalition is a sensitive issue.

Mrs Prentice, an assistant minister and one of just three female Queensland LNP MPs, lost her preselection to Brisbane City councillor Julian Simmonds in a grassroots vote last weekend.

It is understood Ms Sudmalis is set to receive endorsements from female frontbenchers backing her preselection, and she could be a beneficiary of a newly-created "fighting fund" which has been set up to boost the number of women in the party.

Ms Sudmalis holds Gilmore by a margin of less than 1 per cent but the composition of the seat has been gradually changing, making the Liberals increasingly worried about their prospects.

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Ann Sudmalis to face preselection challenge . Ann Sudmalis is being challenged for preselection despite the prime minister’s intervention. Jane Norman (@janeenorman).

The Liberal member for Gilmore , Ann Sudmalis , is being challenged for preselection . [It’s on Michaelia Cash, but I missed the first part because I was stuffing my face ] Why is the minister refusing to give evidence under oath?

The Prime Minister recently travelled to Nowra, in Ms Sudmalis' seat, to announce $155 million in funding for a new bridge and Treasurer Scott Morrison is expected to visit the electorate today.

The ABC spoke to a number of Liberals who said Ms Sudmalis would ultimately win preselection, noting she had held the seat for five years and had the advantage of incumbency.

Few believe Mr Schultz has the numbers to challenge — and predict he may end up pulling out of the race — but there is still nervousness about what will happen between now and next Friday, when nominations close.

The head of the Liberal Party's Women's Committee — and former Senator — Helen Kroger warned the party it could not afford to go backwards when it comes to female representation and said sitting female MPs could no longer be dumped in favour of male candidates.

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