Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis will not recontest seat: report

ALL SMILES: Then Federal Treasurer, now Prime Minister Scott Morrison with Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis at a press conference in Nowra back in May. Picture: Rebecca Fist
ALL SMILES: Then Federal Treasurer, now Prime Minister Scott Morrison with Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis at a press conference in Nowra back in May. Picture: Rebecca Fist

The Liberal Party may be facing upset in the key marginal seat of Gilmore, as sitting MP Ann Sudmalis is reportedly set to announce she will not re-contest the seat at the next election.

Channel Nine has reported that Ms Sudmalis told colleagues she will leave parliament at the election. 

The move may be problematic for the government, which holds the seat by a margin of just 0.7 per cent.

Last month’s leadership spill is understood to have put intense pressure on two-term MP Ms Sudmalis, who had the backing of Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison to stay in the seat.

The Mercury made multiple attempts to contact Ms Sudmalis for comment.

However, all calls and messages were not returned. The Mercury understands Ms Sudmalis spent at least part of Sunday celebrating her birthday with family. 

Should Ms Sudmalis not re-contest, the likely Liberal candidate for Gilmore is Grant Schultz, who has challenged Ms Sudmalis for the pre-selection. Labor candidate Fiona Phillips made strong gains in the seat at the last election.

Ms Sudmalis.

Ms Sudmalis.

Ms Sudmalis’ move comes after recent criticism of her party for a lack of female representation, and amid claims female MPs were bullied during the leadership spill. 

It would be another blow for the Prime Minister, just days after Katherine O'Regan, his preferred choice to replace Mr Turnbull in Wentworth, was defeated by a man.

Four months ago, Ms Sudmalis met with Mr Morrison in her electorate as she found herself in the midst of a pre-selection fight. The now-Prime Minister endorsed Ms Sudmalis to stay in her position as Gilmore MP. 

During a visit to the region in May, then Prime Minister Mr Turnbull described Ms Sudmalis as “a phenomenal candidate, member, advocate, she has been supported again and again by the people of Gilmore”. 

South Coast Labor Council secretary Arthur Rorris said that “the Canberra chaos extends to the South Coast”. 

“This has been the longest pre-selection in history and now there’s rumours she won't stand,” he said.

“The people of the South Coast are owed an explanation. She needs to declare her position.”