Tony Abbott linked to NSW Liberal Party presidency

Hamish SpenceNCA NewsWire
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Camera IconNot Supplied Credit: News Regional Media

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has been linked to the role of NSW Liberal Party president, with nominations for the position closing later this month.

The Australian reports that Mr Abbott has “floated the idea” among his supporters but apparently has not submitted a formal nomination yet.

It could mean he will have to go up against current president and Hornsby Mayor Philip Ruddock after the pair spent time in federal politics together.

Mr Ruddock served three terms in federal government, including as chief government whip when Mr Abbott came into power.

Mr Ruddock was notably removed from that position after Mr Abbott survived a close leadership spill motion in 2015.

Mr Abbott described him as a “friend”, “colleague” and “supporter” following the move, saying Mr Ruddock was replaced to create “a deeper and stronger engagement with the backbench”.

As the “father of the house”, the longest serving lower house at the time, Mr Ruddock was reportedly an ally for Mr Abbott and had travelled with him as an adviser during the 2013 election campaign.

The news comes during a sensitive time for the Liberals in NSW after an explosive report from ABC’s Four Corners on this year’s federal election loss.

The party failed to preselect candidates in nine seats in the state until just days before the election was called.

This failure was blamed in part for the election loss by senior party figures who appeared on the program and also spoke of factional games and infighting.

Mr Ruddock has been NSW Liberal party president since 2018.

Both Mr Abbott and Mr Ruddock declined to comment when contacted about the story by The Australian.

Nominations for the position are open until July 23.

Originally published as Tony Abbott linked to NSW Liberal Party presidency

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