Craig Kelly Should Face Preselection: Turnbull
Controversial Liberal MP Craig Kelly should face preselection for the Sydney seat of Hughes and not get re-endorsed by the NSW state executive, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says.
The ousted Liberal leader said on Sunday night it was his "strong view" the party's democratic process should operate in the normal way.
"Today I learned there was a move to persuade the state executive to re-endorse Craig Kelly as Liberal candidate for Hughes in order to avoid a preselection - in other words to deny Liberal Party members in Hughes the opportunity to have their say," Turnbull said on Twitter.
He said if Kelly threatened to go to the cross bench and bring down the government it should "not result in capitulation".
"If indeed he has made that threat, it is not one that should result in a capitulation. Indeed it would be the worst and weakest response to such a threat," Turnbull said.
South Australian senator Anne Ruston told ABC TV she would be "disappointed" if Kelly had threatened to go to the cross bench.
"If Craig Kelly has made that accusation I'd probably be disappointed because I'm a great believer that if you want to make change the best place to make change is within the party," she said.
Ruston said the obsession and focus on the division within the Liberal Party was "frustrating" because it gave Labor the opportunity to drive a wedge.
"Nobody out there outside of the few people who live inside the beltway (of Canberra) really care about this," she said.
Instead she said there should be more focus on policy and the successes of the coalition government.