Scott Morrison's controversial intervention into the NSW Liberal branch has been upheld in the courts, setting the stage for the Prime Minister to call the federal election.
Justice John Basten on Tuesday ruled the internal Liberal Party dispute couldn't be decided by the courts, as he tossed out a case which threatened to derail Mr Morrison's re-election hopes.
The ruling confirms the field of candidates which the Coalition will take to the federal election, with all eyes now on the Prime Minister as he weighs up when to send Australians to the polls.
The verdict came as another Liberal Party figure savaged Mr Morrison's character.
Endorsing comments from Liberal senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, NSW state Liberal MP Catherine Cusack said Mr Morrison had "totally lost his moral compass" as she declared she couldn't vote from him at the election following his handling of the flood crisis.
The court challenge was brought by Matthew Camenzuli, a member of the NSW Liberal state executive who has been fighting for the rights of rank-a-file Liberal Party members to choose who represents them at the upcoming election.
The federal Liberal executive last month launched a temporary intervention into the NSW branch after it failed to resolve candidate preselection amid bitter internal divisions.
The intervention allowed a committee including Mr Morrison and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet to shield three sitting MPs - Trent Zimmerman, Sussan Ley and Alex Hawke - from preselection contests.
The NSW branch had been handed a March 25 deadline to resolve preselections in a swag of other seats in which candidates had yet to be installed.
It failed to do so, prompting a second intervention, which cancelled local ballots and installed the committee's "captain's picks" in nine seats.
The legal challenge centred on the scope of the federal executive's powers under its constitution, and whether the courts could rule on what are internal political party matters.
Justice Basten found the dispute was "not justiciable", meaning it was not capable of being decided by the courts.
He nevertheless weighed into the questions of the federal executive's power. It was found that the federal party's constitution "conferred a broad power of intervention", allowing the national branch to bypass the local division's rules.
Mr Morrison's intervention was therefore valid. Mr Camenzuli could still challenge the verdict in the High Court.
Mr Morrison and his right-hand man, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, have been accused of delaying the preselection of candidates in NSW to ensure their preferred candidates were picked.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells last week said Mr Hawke had deliberately failed to attend meetings to review candidates, which delayed the prelection process.
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