After Tony Abbott lost the prime ministership in September, 2015, a small cross-factional group of Liberal Party members and supporters in his Warringah electorate began searching quietly for the next local member. Without consulting or notifying Abbott, the group of eight set up an unofficial committee to seek a high-quality candidate to contest what is among the bluest of blue-ribbon Liberal seats on Sydney’s northern beaches.

The exercise demonstrates the concern among some New South Wales Liberals at the power struggles unfolding within their party and the agendas being run. More specifically, Karen Middleton writes, it highlights the state-wide battle over how NSW Liberal candidates are preselected – a battle that forms the backdrop to a new round of guerrilla warfare from the ousted former prime minister.

Plus: Richard Ackland on Peter Dutton and the politicisation of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

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The Saturday Paper