Liberals race to counter Roseville vote to expel Malcolm Turnbull
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Liberals race to counter Roseville vote to expel Malcolm Turnbull

The Liberal Party is racing to contain another internal row over its leadership after members on Sydney’s north shore voted for a motion to expel former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull from their party.

The Roseville Branch of the party backed the motion in a vote on Tuesday night to call on the Liberal Party's state headquarters to go ahead with expulsion, sparking a debate that could deepen the hostilities between conservatives and moderates.

Branch president George Szabo has taken calls from senior party officials to establish what happened in the meeting, while other party members refused to comment about the vote and why members wanted Mr Turnbull removed.

The vote came hours after reports emerged on Tuesday that Mr Turnbull and other members of his family, including wife Lucy and son Alex, were following an Instagram account that called for Tony Abbott to be replaced in his federal electorate of Warringah.

The Roseville branch of the Liberal Party wants to expel former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The Roseville branch of the Liberal Party wants to expel former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

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The Roseville motion did not set in train any official process for expulsion and does not require a decision by the federal electorate conference for Bradfield, the seat that includes Roseville, where the party's moderate faction controls the key party positions.

Illustration: Matt Golding

Illustration: Matt Golding Credit:

Instead, the motion called on the NSW state division to expel the former prime minister, something party officials dismiss.

"The motion is not binding on the division and certainly doesn't reflect its view," said a spokesman for NSW Liberal Party director Chris Stone.

The Roseville branch of the party is famously conservative and has hosted speakers who were highly critical of Mr Turnbull and his government, while backing former prime minister Tony Abbott instead.

The branch has promoted speakers including Mr Abbott himself, his former chief of staff Peta Credlin, former Liberal and now Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi, former Labor leader Mark Latham and prominent monarchist David Flint.

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Liberals who attended the vote declined to comment when asked by Fairfax Media about the meeting and why the motion was passed.

"I can’t talk about it because it’s party business," said Ronald Coleman, who has been a contact point for some of the local party forums in the past.

Liberal Party member Jan Partington, who has also put her name to flyers advertising the visiting speakers, told Fairfax Media she had been asked not to provide any comment.

Mr Szabo, the owner of a law firm in Surry Hills, said he had already had phone calls from the Liberal Party head office about the vote but could not say more.

"We’ve got a rule and I’m not allowed to talk to the media," Mr Szabo said.

"I don’t know how it got out to the media."

David Crowe is the chief political correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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