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Women 'threaten to quit party' after Liberal minister dumped

Politics

The dumping of assistant minister Jane Prentice in a pre-selection ballot for the next federal election has sparked anger and frustration across all sides of politics.

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Prentice on Saturday lost to her former staff member, Brisbane City councillor Julian Simmonds, as the Liberal National Party’s candidate for the Brisbane seat of Ryan.

At a time when parties are trying to increase the representation of women in their ranks, her loss has angered some colleagues.

Queensland MP Warren Entsch said Prentice’s dumping was “a bloody disgrace” and he was profoundly disappointed by it.

“She doesn’t deserve it and I think it sends a very, very bad message with regards to women in politics in Queensland,” he said.

Fellow Queensland MP Michelle Landry said she was “totally appalled” at Prentice’s dumping.

“We’ve hardly got any federal females in Queensland in the government and one has been pushed aside by a young male,” she told the ABC.

She claimed young women in the party have threatened to resign, but she urged them to stay and fight.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who provided a written reference for Prentice, said she had performed ably as a minister.

“We are very much minded to encourage women into parliament wherever possible … (but) the LNP has a democratic process in place and the LNP – probably more so than any other division across the country – supports the decision of the grassroots members in preselection processes,” he said.

“We don’t override that decision in the LNP.”

Treasurer Scott Morrison also doesn’t expect the prime minister to intervene in Prentice’s case, saying it’s a matter for the LNP.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said he likes and values Prentice.

“I’m personally very disappointed about Jane’s loss,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

But he cited the recent appointment of Brisbane barrister Amanda Stoker who replaced former Attorney-General George Brandis in the Senate.

He also hopes Georgina Downer, the daughter of former foreign minister Alexander Downer, is able to run in the upcoming Mayo by-election in South Australia.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten conceded he has not always seen eye-to-eye with Prentice but described her as a “formidable presence”.

He encouraged Turnbull to intervene and save her.

– AAP

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