Liberal MP Felicity Wilson loses key party support ahead of preselection for North Shore seat
NSW State Member for North Shore Felicity Wilson watches on at the NSW Liberal Party Future conventions. (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)
Embattled North Shore MP Felicity Wilson is at serious risk of losing Liberal preselection in just over a week’s time, after key party branches have withdrawn their support.
- Four key party branches have decided not to back Felicity Wilson’s preselection
- They say she has failed to provide a full residential history and clear up discrepancies on her academic record
- Ms Wilson said the Liberals had confirmed her candidacy was “in line” with party rules
Mosman, Clifton Gardens, Mosman West, and Cremorne Point party branches will not back Ms Wilson’s preselection as she has failed to provide its members with a complete account of her residential history and full answers about her academic record.
Party members can be expelled from the party for speaking to the media.
However, they have told the ABC the branches were now openly hostile towards Ms Wilson.
“She has lost the middle ground … no-one will work for her,” one senior member said.
Mosman and Clifton Gardens hold the majority of the members — they are the largest, most active and provide the most amount of money to the electorate.
Late yesterday, preselectors were provided with three nomination forms from sitting member Felicity Wilson, and from two other candidates Jessica Keen and Tim James.
Mr James has voluntarily provided his full nomination pack to preselectors, which include details about any possible past criminal activities and previous electoral enrolments.
Ms Wilson and Ms Keen have not done this.
False information an ‘unintentional error’
The Mosman branch of the party first asked Ms Wilson a year ago to provide the information after she falsely claimed in a 2017 statutory declaration to have lived in the electorate for 10 years.
Ms Wilson also falsely claimed to have earned an MBA and a double undergraduate degree.
Ms Wilson admitted it had been an “unintentional error” when she told party members she moved to the North Shore electorate in 2005.
But after journalists started questioning the claim, she admitted it was wrong.
“At the time of writing my nomination form, I believed it to be true that I had lived in the North Shore electorate for 10 years,” Ms Wilson said in a statement at the time.
“However, upon further reflection I have since realised that figure is not accurate.”
A senior branch member said Ms Wilson had “consistently refused to provide membership with residential history and she has not adequately explained discrepancies and errors in her claimed academic qualifications”.
In the 2017 nomination form submitted for the North Shore by-election, Ms Wilson listed she had a MBA, Master of Public Policy and Bachelor of Media.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian campaigned alongside Felicity Wilson in 2017. (ABC News: Brigid Glanville)
In the current nomination form, released yesterday, under the heading of “Academic Qualification”, Ms Wilson wrote that she has a “Bachelor of Media, Master of Public Policy and a Master of Business Administration (In progress) from the Australian Graduate School of Management”.
There is no further explanation about how many subjects in the MBA have been completed and, if so, when this occurred.
The Master of Public Policy and a Bachelor of Media are not under question.
Wilson does not want to ‘play politics’
Ms Wilson told the ABC she was “proud” to be selected as the Liberal candidate for the seat, which she won at a by-election last year.
“I didn’t run for politics to play politics,” she said.
“Like most women, I am here to put my community first.
“As the Member for North Shore I’ve proven myself as a hard worker who delivers for my constituents and I am seeking to continue as the Liberal Party representative for North Shore to keep working for my community at the March 2019 election and beyond.
“The Liberal Party has confirmed my candidacy in line with party rules and processes.”
The ABC has spoken to more than a dozen branch members and all of them are furious and claim Ms Wilson has not provided them with a proper explanation.
“People weren’t gunning for her, she just didn’t explain it,” one senior member said.
Others have said if Ms Wilson wins preselection they will lose the seat at the March state election.
“Luke Foley in Parliament called her Fibbing Felicity, the Pinocchio of the Parliament,” one member said.
“I couldn’t be bothered standing outside working for her.”
Another said: “It’s just embarrassing.”
Tim James and Jessica Keen both declined to comment to the ABC.