Seselja takes on Abbott over preselection jibe
ACT Senate hopeful Zed Seselja has dismissed attempts by disgruntled party members to challenge the Liberals' internal preselection process.
And the outgoing Canberra Liberals Leader said on Thursday that support among Federal Caucus for his preselection rival, incumbent Senator Gary Humphries, was meaningless in the internal contest.
Mr Seselja was responding to an intervention by his federal leader Tony Abbott who said preselections should be free from "ambush" or "dirty tricks".
Mr Abbott made his remarks at a function in Parliament House for Humphries supporters on Wednesday attended by several other members of the Liberal federal caucus.
But Mr Seselja said on Thursday that federal members did not have a vote in the February 23 preselection.
"What's important in this preselection contest is that it won't be decided by federal minsters, it will be decided by local branch members," he said.
"Certainly, I've approached it in that regard, I give absolute respect to the local branch.
"It is local branch members who make that decision.
"Others will have views but it is the views of the local branch members as to who is best to represent them, best to represent the Liberal Party and best to represent Canberra that will determine that decision."
Mr Seselja again defended the process that saw him declare his candidacy minutes after the deadline for preselectors to enrol had expired.
"I think what we want see is a process that is fair and we have a fair process," he said.
"What we want to see is a process that goes through all the requirements of our constitution and that's been endorsed at several levels, now and I think even Gary Humphries has acknowledged in some of his correspondence that he hasn't actually claimed that there issues with the constitution.
"I agree with him and I'm really pleased that we've got independent people, we've got an independent returning officer who examines things and I don't think anyone would question his integrity."
Mr Seselja was dismissive of the effort by former part president Gary Kent to mobilize support in the party for an extraordinary general meeting, probably in March, which would have the power to overturn the preselection.
"There obviously isn't an overwhelming desire for this to happen because the individual involved announced it more than a week ago and I'm not sure that he's even managed to gather 30 signatures which doesn't demonstrate a lot of support within the Liberal Party and I doubt that there will be a lot of support within the party for this sort of move," Mr Seselja said.
Mr Kent says he has drafted the numbers necessary to force the full divisional council meeting.
Mr Seselja was also critical of "some people" who had approached the internal party stoush in an "unhelpful" way.
"We all have a responsibility when speaking about these things, that we do it responsibly and I've taken the view that I won't bag my opponent, that I won't bag the party," he said.
"There are some people in this debate who have taken a different approach and I think that is unhelpful and I think they will have to answer to party members about why they have taken that particular path."