Mathias Cormann admits Liberals have given up on Perth, Fremantle by-elections
Josh Wilson (left) and Tim Hammond both announced their resignations in the last fortnight. (AAP: Dean Lewins/ABC News: Ross Nerdal)
Senior Turnbull Government ministers have endorsed the Liberal Party’s decision not to contest two federal WA seats in upcoming by-elections, saying it would have been a waste of “limited resources”.
Mr Hammond said the toll the job was taking on his family was too great, while Mr Wilson stood down in the wake of the High Court’s latest ruling on dual citizenship.
Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann backed the move to not run Liberal candidates in either seat.
“The Liberal Party … always has to make judgements on prioritising limited resources and it is never a good idea to just waste money on a contest you are unlikely to win,” Senator Cormann said.
He said it was virtually impossible for the party to win either seat.
Senator Cormann said resources were instead going into the state seat of Darling Range, made vacant by the resignation of disgraced former Labor MP Barry Urban.
Mathias Cormann says the Liberals need to prioritise limited resources. (ABC News: Jed Cooper)
Mr Urban quit the WA Parliament after facing expulsion for repeatedly lying about his past and is now facing a criminal investigation.
Senator Cormann said the Liberals were in a position to send Labor a message in Darling Range because of the disgraceful circumstance behind Mr Urban’s departure.
Liberals will not be ‘distracted’: Cash
His colleague, federal Minister for Jobs and Innovation Michaelia Cash, backed the sentiment, saying she was confident the party could win back the seat of Darling Range.
“They’ve said they’re not going to be distracted by these by-elections and we’re very much going to be focusing on the state seat [which] was previously held by the Liberal Party,” Senator Cash said.
“We have a very good chance of winning that seat.”
The decision not to field federal candidates comes despite the Liberals losing Perth by less than 4 per cent at the last federal election.
Labor won Fremantle with a 7.52 per cent margin, taking it out of marginal seat territory.