Mixed emotions over possible Frydenberg revival

Dominic Giannini
Josh Frydenberg is reportedly reconsidering his decision to sit out of pre-selection. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS)
Josh Frydenberg is reportedly reconsidering his decision to sit out of pre-selection. (Bianca De Marchi/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP

A possible Josh Frydenberg revival has divided Liberal colleagues as a draft redistribution that would abolish an inner-Melbourne seat sends pre-selections into disarray.

Labor-held Higgins is set to be abolished and a new seat created in Perth.

The redistribution changes the margins of surrounding seats, including Chisholm and Kooyong, where Mr Frydenberg lost to independent Monique Ryan at the last election.

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But the seat is now seen as more winnable with Ms Ryan’s notional margin taking a slight hit.

Mr Frydenberg is reconsidering his decision to sit out of pre-selection, the ABC is reporting, despite party faithful selecting 31-year-old Amelia Hamer to contest the seat.

The former federal treasurer hasn’t made any public comments and has been contacted for a response, as has Ms Hamer.

Former cabinet colleague Karen Andrews has backed the man once viewed as a Liberal prime minister in-waiting.

But some rank and file members are furious a man would come over the top of a pre-selected woman as the party struggles to achieve gender balance.

Mr Frydenberg “had ample opportunity months ago” if he wanted to run, founder of Hilma’s Network, which helps Liberal women get pre-selected, Charlotte Mortlock said.

“The women who have been preselected and campaigning for months are not seat warmers for dudes,” she wrote on social media platform X.

The comment came in reply to a video of former Liberal MP Jason Falinski, who also lost his seat to an independent in 2022, saying Ms Hamer “is a team player and she would understand we want to put our best people on the field”.

Ms Hamer could consider other seats, including state parliament, he said.

The redistribution also creates a challenge for former Liberal MP Katie Allen, who was selected to re-contest Higgins after losing to Labor’s Michelle Ananda-Rajah in 2022.

Ms Allen is continuing to campaign in the community and some Higgins residents are pushing to have the Australian Electoral Commission’s determination reconsidered, although the chances are considered slim.

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