Canberra's sole Liberal Senator Gary Humphries is about to be challenged for party preselection by ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja.
Mr Seselja is expected to announce his intentions soon.
Senator Humphries told Fairfax, "As the first ACT Liberal ever to serve on a federal front bench I'm very proud of my record and I intend to ensure that the members of the Liberal Party in the ACT are appraised of my work and my achievements in this coming pre-selection I look forward to offering good reasons why I should be preselected once again for the Senate seat."
The preselection ballot is expected to be held on February 23.
Mr Seselja is expected to use his popularity in the recent ACT elections to convince party members to support him. He led the ACT Liberals to their best result in an ACT election, however, Labor managed to retain power by making a deal with the sole cross bencher, Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury, to make him a minister.
Senator Humphries - who is also a former ACT Liberals opposition leader, as well as a former ACT chief minister - was elected to the Senate in December 2002 to fill the casual Senate vacancy caused by the resignation of Margaret Reid.
He is shadow parliamentary secretary to the shadow attorney-general and shadow parliamentary secretary for defence materiel.
Mr Seselja would need to resign his seat as an MLA to contest the federal election, however, he would only need to do this after winning pre-selection and once nominations are open. This would not be until the weeks before the election.
In response to the news, former Labor ACT deputy chief minister David Lamont told ABC radio that Mr Seselja would have to be replaced as Liberal leader.
He said that while the rules would not require Mr Seselja to stand down when he nominated, the politics could.
“One would assume that the Liberal Party would internally look at trying to bring somebody in as leader as soon as possible, if in fact he was going to take a tilt at Gary’s position,” he said.
“I just don’t think politically that they could have a leader who was telling the people of Canberra that he was a leader in the local Assembly, but ‘Oh I am going to the big house on the hill’. I think that politically, that is one hump too far.”
Mr Lamont said there were a number of options in the ACT Liberals to replace Mr Seselja, including his deputy, Brendan Smyth who was previously party leader, and Molonglo MLA Jeremy Hanson.
“I think you have got a couple of candidates who would obviously stand out, obviously Jeremy. I think Brendan would, just because he would have to, and I think the more interesting thing is you have some new blood in the Liberal Party,” he said.
“[Alistair] Coe from Belconnen has really shown his mettle in the last few years and matured tremendously as a local representative. Inside their party I think they have got probably an obvious succession group, both as leader and very probably as deputy leader.”
More to come