South Coast state MP Shelley Hancock is appalled by Prime Minister Scott Morrisons captains call to parachute former ALP president Warren Mundine into Gilmore to contest the upcoming federal election.
I suspect there will be branch members who will turn their backs on the party, she said.
Mrs Hancock said she couldnt understand the choice of Warren Mundine over locally preselected candidate Grant Schultz.
Only recently Scott Morrison was talking about the importance of grassroots processes when preselecting candidates.
Im bitterly disappointed for Grant Schultz. He went through all the process and he won overwhelmingly.
Mrs Hancock said Mr Morrison was mistaken if he thought choosing Mr Mundine would pick up the Indigenous vote.
Ive spoken to Indigenous people from the north, the south and the west of the Shoalhaven and theyve all said they would not vote for Mundine.
Party members, who are precluded from speaking out publicly, are incandescent with anger.
Im absolutely fuming and disgusted, said one long-term active party member who had backed Mr Schultz.
[Warren Mundine] is not a party member, not a member of Gilmore, doesnt live in Gilmore, doesnt have anything to do with local people in Gilmore.
The member said they would not be supporting Mr Mundines campaign.
The thing that concerns me is that Grant has been totally ignored by the people at the top. If they were going to intervene, they should have done it the day after the endorsement meeting.
A senior local party member said the PMs decision was disappointing. It flies in the face of democracy, they said.
The fact [Mundine] is not part of the community concerns me.
Milton local Grant Schultz closed his real estate business in April to pursue candidacy in Gilmore and was overwhelmingly endorsed by his peers, 40 votes to nine, at a preselection meeting in early December.
Mr Schultz was not answering his phone on Tuesday.
However, on Monday, a previously media-shy Mr Schultz publicly aired his concerns about the endorsement delay.
Mr Schultz confirmed he had been in the dark about the process, and he had not heard from Mr Morrison or senior Liberal Party figures since he was preselected.
He warned a parachuted candidate such as Mr Mundine or Nationals Katrina Hodgkinson from Berrima, would not be welcomed by local Coalition members.
The community will make their feelings well and truly known if and when that happens, he said.
My position is, I just want them (state executive) to get on with it so I can get on with representing the people of Gilmore.
Any person nominated and preselected by any branch would be keen to hit the ground running.
On Tuesday, as the partys state executive met to usurp the grassroots process, another local branch member joined the chorus of those sympathising with Mr Schultz.
I think the Liberal Party can kiss the seat goodbye, they said.
Liberals here won't be walking away from the cause, they will be walking away from despicable behaviour of Scott Morrison and the people working for him.
The greatest beneficiary from this will be Dr Fiona Kotvojs, whos running in Eden-Monaro, a number of people have said they want to go down and help a true local Liberal get elected.
Eden-Monaro, situated on Gilmores southern border, is another knife-edge seat. The Liberals require a swing of six per cent to claim the seat from Labors sitting MP Mike Kelly.
Mr Mundine was approached for comment on Tuesday.
Earlier, when news broke of his interest in the marginal seat, he was asked if he was concerned about the Liberal Partys credibility following the leadership spill and Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis dramatic exit from politics.
I understand these things, being involved in them for years, Mr Mundine said in November.
Im just like everyone else, Im flabbergasted that in the last 11 years, no PM has served a full term.
Im sick of the continual naval-gazing, fighting among themselves, the contest over whos king of the castle. Heres a novel idea, lets actually focus on the will of Australian people, not politics. All of us work with people we dont like, most of us just get on with the job.