Leigh Sales asks Prime Minister about ‘bullying’ accusations, NSW preselection

The Prime Minister has dismissed the growing list of critics from his own side of politics as having an “axe to grind” and defended a series of “captain’s picks” for NSW Liberal party preselection.

Scott Morrison said he was standing up for women in his party when he, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, and former NSW Liberal president Christine McDiven recently parachuted candidates into 12 federal seats, instead of allowing the local party to select them.
And he defended the need to overrule local party members because “we were running out of time” ahead of the looming federal election.
Scott Morrison’s handpicked candidates will be contesting the federal election. (Eddie Jim)
The executive decisions, which included close Morrison ally Alex Hawke, cabinet minister Sussan Ley, and North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman, were the subject of a Court of Appeals challenge by Liberal party executive Matthew Camenzuli, which was rejected on Tuesday.

Mr Morrison said Ms Ley was “under threat from factions in the Liberal party and I decided to stand up for her”.

“See, I’m asked all the time, Leigh: why won’t the Prime Minister do more about getting good women in Parliament and stand up for the women in Parliament?” he said, in a Tuesday night interview with Leigh Sales on the ABC’s 7.30.

“So I stood up for the women in my team.”

Mr Morrison said 50 per cent of the candidates were male but insisted the “principal reason” was to stand up for women.

He said the candidates also included people from Vietnamese, Indian, Chinese, Sri Lankan and Croatian backgrounds and “represent the diversity of our population”.

Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, in a fiery Senate speech last week that sharply criticised Mr Morrison and re-elevated the preselection controversy to the national agenda, accused the Prime Minister and Mr Hawke of having “deliberately contrived a (preselection) crisis in NSW through a year of delays”.

Ms Fierravanti-Wells’ scathing attack, in which she labelled Mr Morrison a “bully” unfit to be Prime Minister and accused him of making “racial comments” about a preselecton rival in 2007, is among a string of harsh recent criticisms from his own party.

Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells labelled Mr Morrison a “bully” unfit to be Prime Minister. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen (Sydney Morning Herald)

On Tuesday night, Sales put it to Mr Morrison the pair were just two of a range of people to recently question his character.

“Barnaby Joyce in a text message where he called you a hypocrite and liar. Jacqui Lambie, Pauline Hanson, both say they felt bullied by you,” she said.

“Julia Banks, Emmanuel Macron said that you lied to him, there was a leaked text from Gladys Berejiklian calling you a horrible, horrible person. 

“That’s a lot of smoke, no fire?”

Mr Morrison said the allegations were “untrue” and that he was “allowed to disagree” with people who came to him wanting something.

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“I find in these situations when people have an axe to grind, particularly on the eve of (an) election, you know that that is what happens in politics,” he said.

“The facts tell a different story about what we’ve done.”

Reference-www.9news.com.au

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