Dump Faulkner call over poll row
Tio Faulkner president of the Canberra Liberals party. Photo: Melissa Adams
The internal feud in the Canberra Liberals over its Senate preselection has deepened, with disgruntled members considering moves to have party president Tio Faulkner dumped.
And the row over members' eligibility to vote in the preselection continued on Friday after the party's powerful management committee confirmed some members of the northern electorate branch would be ineligible as preselectors.
Party sources also claim that Zed Seselja supporters within the Young Liberals were told of the Opposition Leader's plans to challenge incumbent ACT senator Gary Humphries days before Monday's announcement.
They claim the Young Liberals were also encouraged to attend qualifying meetings for which other members were not given at least seven days' notice.
Senator Humphries criticised the preselection process, saying it was timed to minimise the amount of support he could mobilise before the vote on February 23.
Members of the ACT division are preparing to mount a challenge over the party's management of the process. They are claiming the management committee, of which Senator Humphries is a member, has breached the party's constitution.
The party's constitution states that a member cannot vote in a preselection unless they have attended a meeting within six months of the poll.
The meetings must have a quorum and seven days' notice of the meeting must be given to members.
Former ACT branch president Gary Kent said members were considering two options: a petition to overturn the preselection and a petition calling for Mr Faulkner's removal as the party's president.
A petition of 30 signatures is required for a meeting to be called to consider either option, but no meeting will be taking place until after the preselection.
''There are discussions among members about dissatisfaction with Tio's performance and options canvassed include a special meeting of the divisional council to consider his removal from the position,'' Mr Kent said.
Mr Faulkner did not respond to the threats on Friday.
On Thursday, the party president defended the management committee's handling of the preselection, saying it had ''fully complied'' with the party's constitution.
But Mr Kent said a public statement issued by Mr Faulkner on Thursday, which referred to an ''email update'' sent to members on January 26, about the final two qualifying meetings on January 30 and 31, showed the party had not given enough notice to members.
Mr Kent said the email notification was the first some members had heard of the two meetings, giving them less than the required seven days' notice.
There are also claims from members of the Young Liberals that Mr Seselja's supporters were given advance notice of his plans to challenge Senator Humphries before the general membership was informed, and were asked to attend those final meetings.