Bronwyn Bishop loses Mackellar to Falinski

Former Speaker Bronwyn Bishop has been dumped by the Liberal Party as their candidate for the northern Sydney seat of Mackellar in the federal election.


Veteran Liberal Party member Jason Falinski won a hotly contested four-round pre-selection on Saturday, defeating the incumbent 51 votes to 39 in the final round of voting.

The loss comes after Mrs Bishop was forced to resign as Speaker last year as a result of an expenses scandal over her use of a $5000 chartered helicopter flight to attend a party fundraiser.

Mr Falinski, a moderate favoured by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, was the frontrunner heading into the pre-selection.

He has been an adviser to former Liberal leaders John Hewson and Barry O’Farrell and to NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance.

He was also a former president of the NSW Young Liberals and is currently the managing director of CareWell Health.

With his win on Saturday, Mr Falinski also beat out former prime minister Tony Abbott’s endorsed candidate, conservative Walter Villatora, who received just 12 votes in the second round and nine in the third.

After the vote he told reporters: “I do want to thank Bronwyn Bishop for her long service and dedication to the Liberal cause on the northern beaches”.

Deputy government whip Mark Coure was among the first to congratulate the new candidate.

“A great friend and mentor for over 20 years, who’ll make a great contribution to federal parliament,” he wrote on Twitter.

His Mackellar opponent, Greens candidate Mike Hall, said he looked forward to welcoming him into the political contest.

“I think he’s got a lot of work to do to undo the damage caused by his predecessor to the Liberal Party in the electorate,” Mr Hall told AAP.

He said the Liberals had taken the blue ribbon electorate for granted for too long and the Greens would run their strongest campaign in the seat in the coming election.

Labor used the preselection battle to highlight disunity and personal ambition in the Liberal Party.

“Wherever you look across the Liberal Party, from (Malcolm) Turnbull to (Scott) Morrison to Mr Abbott to Mrs Bishop, the Liberal Party is at war with itself,” Opposition Leader Bill Shorten told reporters in western Sydney earlier on Saturday.

“You’ve got a Mr Turnbull-inspired candidate, you’ve got a Mr Abbott-inspired candidate and then you’ve got Bronwyn Bishop hanging on grimly to her position.”

Mr Falinski was the second person to win Liberal candidacy in NSW on Saturday, after executive director of the Menzies Research Centre, Julian Leeser, won preselection for Berowra, vacated by retiring party stalwart Philip Ruddock.

“Congratulations Julian Leeser on an outstanding win in preselection for Berowra,” Mr Ruddock said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, another long-time Liberal parliamentarian, Bob Baldwin, announced he will also bow out of federal politics in a bid to bring fresh faces into the house.

Mr Baldwin has been the member for Paterson in NSW for 17 years.