Penrith councillor Marcus Cornish has attacked the Prime Minister in an email campaign. Photo: Elisha Pearce Tony Abbott with Fiona Scott during the election campaign in 2013.
Simmering factional tensions in the NSW Liberals over federal preselections are being stoked by an email campaign to party members attacking Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and ruing the departure of Tony Abbott.
Senior Liberal figures are watching with growing outrage as Penrith councillor and party member Marcus Cornish distributes his email in a campaign so far covering the seats of Lindsay, Mr Abbott’s seat of Warringah, Mr Turnbull’s seat of Wentworth and Bennelong.
It is understood disciplinary action against Cr Cornish for what may be the misuse of official membership lists is being explored by some on the Liberal Party state executive.
Cr Cornish is aligned to the party’s right faction, which is engaged in early skirmishes with left faction members over federal preselection for seats held by right wingers in Hume, Mackellar and Hughes and also the NSW Senate ticket.
In an email titled “Liberal Party values”, Cr Cornish writes that in Mr Turnbull’s government “there has already, quietly, been major policy changes that most would consider more Labor than Liberal”.
“Our sovereignty has been signed away at the United Nations by Malcolm Turnbull, [Foreign Affairs Minister] Julie Bishop and [Defence Minister] Senator Marise Payne,” he writes.
“Now UN laws override Australian laws thus dictating what countries our refugee and immigration intake come from.”
“Former prime minister Tony Abbott agreed to take in 12,000 persecuted minority refugees, mostly being Christian. Malcolm Turnbull has already changed that to being 12,000 mostly Muslims, who clearly do not assimilate to the Australian way of life and our laws,” he says.
(Mr Abbott denied Christians would be given preferential treatment, saying: “It’s those who can never go back that we’re focused on.”)
Cr Cornish goes on to “strongly question the Liberal Party’s direction in regard to conservative values”.
“It currently shows little difference with the aims and objectives of the Labor Party, that being the removal of religion and replacing it with government founded [sic] tolerance of everything, climate control, over control of our everyday life and the erasing of our heritage and way of life through wanting to change our flag and changing our head of state to a corruptible president,” he says.
Cr Cornish also attacks Lindsay MP Fiona Scott over last year’s leadership change that saw Mr Turnbull become Prime Minister.
“Fiona Scott was only elected due to the hard work and support of Tony Abbott,” he writes.
“His many campaign visits to Lindsay along with his ‘sex appeal comment’ got Fiona just over the line, only to have her stab him in the back for his hard work and party loyalty.”
Cr Cornish has been approached for comment.
Meanwhile, Liberal fighting is set to explode in the seat of Hughes, where Sutherland Shire councillor Kent Johns is preparing to challenge incumbent Liberal MP Craig Kelly.
Supporters of Mr Kelly, a right winger, are predicting Cr Johns, from the left, will be embarrassed when he is required to give evidence in court in an apprehended violence order matter involving the state MP for Holsworthy, Melanie Gibbons.
The February 29 hearing will examine allegations that a member of the Moorebank branch, Jose Stojcevski, yelled “I’ll kill you” at Ms Gibbons during a meeting in October last year.
Mr Stojcevski’s lawyer has previously dismissed the allegation as “unfounded, frivolous and vexatious”.
But the hearing will come shortly after the close of nominations for the seat on February 19 and amid the preselection process.
Cr Johns said he could not comment on a court matter.
As well, later this month a supporter of Mr Kelly, Liverpool councillor Peter Ristevski, is facing a Liberal Party disciplinary hearing.
On January 29, Cr Ristevski – vice president of the Moorebank branch – will be given 10 minutes to argue before the state executive why he should not be suspended over a radio interview he gave last November.
During the interview, Cr Ristevski mentioned Ms Gibbons’ 2012 conviction for failing to lodge election donation returns, for which she was placed on a 15-month good behaviour bond.
Cr Ristevski also mentioned a brawl over the attendance at a party fundraiser for Ms Gibbons of his friend, convicted criminal Tony “The Falcon” Atanasovski.
Cr Ristevski said in the interview that Atanasovski disputed claims that party officials had torn up his credit card payment at the fundraiser and said the party had in fact accepted his contribution.
He said this “could open up a can of worms for [Ms Gibbons]”.
The Liberal Party has since sent a $160 cheque to Atanasovski – effectively returning his donation, which it claims was never processed.
Atanasovski has referred the matter to the NSW Electoral Commission, saying the party breached funding laws by not issuing him a receipt.
It has asked the commission to investigate Ms Gibbons over the fundraiser. The commission is conducting a preliminary review. The full email from Cr Cornish
Liberal Party ValuesIt is with great sadness I write to you today to inform you of the betrayal of Liberal Party values at both Local and Federal Government levels. At the September Mayoral elections in Penrith Council, left wing Liberal Councillors did a deal with Labor to elect a Labor Mayor over a Liberal Party member. I find this to be a betrayal of the Liberal Party membership and values. If the members of the Liberal Party wanted Labor in power they would have joined the Labor Party not the Liberal Party. What concerns me even more is the Labor person they voted for is from the left of Labor who previously worked for a far left wing Labor state Senator. This gifting of power to Labor reeks of self interest and ignores the values of the Liberal Party reducing Liberal Party membership from influencing policy and decisions to being mere booth workers and puppets, much like the Labor Party. In regard to our Federal Government there has already, quietly, been major policy changes that most would consider more Labor than Liberal. Our sovereignty has been signed away at the United Nations by Malcolm Turnbull, Julie Bishop and Senator Marise Payne. Now UN laws override Australian laws thus dictating what countries our refugee and immigration intake come from. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott agreed to take in 12,000 persecuted minority refugees, mostly being Christian, Malcolm Turnbull has already changed that to being 12,000 mostly Muslims, who clearly do not assimilate to the Australian way of life and our laws. I, as are many, am deeply disappointed in the Member for Lindsay Fiona Scott for voting against Tony Abbott as prime minister. Fiona Scott was only elected due to the hard work and support of Tony Abbott. His many campaign visits to Lindsay along with his “sex appeal comment” got Fiona just over the line, only to have her stab him in the back for his hard work and party loyalty. Our children and grandchildren’s futures rely on the decisions that are made today. I stand by the democratic principle that “Government is there to represent the majority bearing in mind the needs of the minorities” not the other way around. I strongly question the Liberal Party’s direction in regard to conservative values. It currently shows little difference with the aims and objectives of the Labor Party, that being the removal of religion and replacing it with government founded tolerance of everything, climate control, over control of our everyday life and the erasing of our heritage and way of life through wanting to change our flag and changing our head of state to a corruptible President. The majority of members of the Liberal Party are Conservative. However only an elite few are permitted to vote for candidates for elections and policies, these positions are tightly held by the factions. Factions are Parties within Parties. Currently there is only 1 conservative sitting on state executive, the over 20 others are either Michael Photios’s hard left or Alex Hawke’s soft left. I fear by the time true representation in the Liberal Party is restored, the majority of the things we believe in will be removed from our way of life leaving a multigenerational uphill battle for our children and their children to try to rectify. Speaking out about our direction was once called Democracy. Councillor Marcus Cornish