Barry O'Farrell 'special guest' at Peter King's high tea preselection party
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Barry O'Farrell 'special guest' at Peter King's high tea preselection party

Over tea, cucumber sandwiches and a glassy of bubbly, the one-time MP for Wentworth Peter King will launch his comeback bid with former premier Barry O'Farrell.

Peter King will is one of nine Liberals to nominate for the seat of Wentworth.

Peter King will is one of nine Liberals to nominate for the seat of Wentworth. Credit:Peter Braig

Mr O'Farrell confirmed he would headline Mr King's preselection launch at an afternoon high tea on Sunday, along with the Liberal mayor of Woollahra, Peter Cavanagh.

"I was asked to do it, and I said I would," Mr O'Farrell said, not wanting to comment further.

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Mr King said he had "long admired" Mr O'Farrell and they had a close personal friendship that dated back to when Mr King was president of the Liberal Party and Mr O'Farrell was state director.

The former MP was spectacularly overthrown to make way for Malcolm Turnbull in 2004.

Mr King is one of nine Liberals to nominate for the blue ribbon seat of Wentworth, left vacant after the former prime minister Mr Turnbull resigned following the bruising leadership battle in Canberra.

The frontrunner remains the former Business Council of Australia executive, Andrew Bragg, who has broad support in the local branches, but former ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma is also a chance.

Mr Bragg is backed by the moderates' factional heavyweight Michael Photios. It's understood Mr Photios' lobbying firm Premier State holds a daily phone hook-up to coordinate Mr Bragg's preselection campaign.

Barry O'Farrell will headline Peter King's preselection launch on Sunday.

Barry O'Farrell will headline Peter King's preselection launch on Sunday. Credit:Janie Barrett

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But party powerbrokers from the moderates, federal MP Trent Zimmerman and NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation Matt Kean are supporting Mr Sharma. The moderates are the dominant faction in Wentworth.

The other candidates include St Vincent's Hospital cardiologist Michael Feneley and president of the NSW Liberal Women's Council and Woollahra councillor Mary-Lou Jarvis.

Former deputy mayor of Woollahra Katherine O'Regan has also nominated, along with digital communications specialist Carrington Brigham and rheumatologist Maxine Szramka.

Richard Shields, the former deputy director of the Liberal Party who works for the Insurance Council of Australia, has also put his hand up.

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The preselection will be held on Thursday with a result expected on Friday.

A byelection date has still not been set but it is expected to be in late October.

The government will be vulnerable in Parliament without Mr Turnbull’s vote in the next sitting fortnight, which begins on Monday, with the Coalition holding only 74 out of 150 votes on the floor of the lower house compared to 75 votes for most of this term.

Former asset manager and community campaigner Licia Heath will run as an independent after spending a year campaigning for a new public high school in the eastern suburbs.

High profile doctor and former federal president of the Australian Medical Association, Kerryn Phelps, is also considering contesting the byelection as an independent.

Investment analyst and Tamarama Surf Club president, Tim Murray, is running for Labor and the deputy mayor of Waverley Dominic Wy Kanak has been preselected for the Greens.

Alexandra Smith is the State Political Editor and a former Education Editor at the Sydney Morning Herald