The High Court is set to hear a special leave application from an expelled Liberal Party member challenging Scott Morrison’s intervention in the NSW division of the party.
Matthew Camenzuli is seeking to overturn a move by Liberal Party’s federal executive to enable a panel including Mr Morrison, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and former president Chris McDiven to select candidates ahead of an election due to be called within days.
Justice Stephen Gageler will hear the special leave application at 4pm on Friday.
Two of the challenged candidates are ministers Sussan Ley and Alex Hawke, while the third is backbencher Trent Zimmerman.
The NSW Court of Appeal on Tuesday rejected Mr Camenzuli’s legal challenge, but the next day he lodged an application for leave to appeal the decision in the High Court.
In the application, lawyers for Mr Camenzuli argue the appeal court erred in its finding it had no jurisdiction, citing a similar case in Victoria where the court did intervene, and that the powers granted to the federal division in the Liberal Party constitution had been misinterpreted .
The application also seeks to join additional NSW Liberal officials to the proceedings which would restrain them from submitting candidates’ names to the Australian Electoral Commission, unless the candidate has been selected by the executive of the NSW division.
But lawyers for Mr Morrison said this aspect was an “abuse of process” given it had not been presented to the lower courts.
Justice Gageler did not make an order on the matter on Thursday, saying it was not necessary to do so before hearing the special leave application.
Concerned about the action’s impact on the government’s election chances, and the possibility of a further nine candidate selections being impacted, the NSW division expelled Mr Camenzuli from the party on Wednesday night.
But it is understood the expulsion will be queried at a meeting of the party state executive on Friday afternoon.
Australian Associated Press