A seething Grant Schultz has tendered his resignation with the Liberal Party.
The Milton local answered a phone call from party elder statesman Philip Ruddock on Tuesday morning to discover he had been betrayed by Liberal Party figureheads. Instead of endorsing Mr Schultz who was preselected by grassroots members the state executive has moved to endorse the North Shore’s Warren Mundine in Gilmore.
Mr Schultz said his late father, Alby Schultz, a revered former Liberal member of parliament, would be “rolling in his grave in utter disgust and anger”.
“What would he say? The vast majority of it would be unprintable,” Mr Schultz said.
“He would take the same view of mine that the leadership of Scott Morrison has taken the party to the days of Eddie Obeid and the faceless men of Labor. To turn their backs on the democratic principles of this party is quite frankly extraordinary and without precedent in this party’s history.”
Mr Schultz developed a passion for democracy when dealing with violence and unrest in Dili, working for the Australian Federal Police.
“The East Timorese always believed in democracy, they would talk about family and friends murdered by Indonesians, their philosophy was, they would be happy, they wanted independence and democracy,” Mr Schultz said.
“Here in Australia apparently the Liberal Party has thrown it out the door.
“I’m angry and I’m disappointed they have betrayed the people of Gilmore.”
He’s also furious at the PM’s treatment of Liberal Party branch members.
“Their choice and their democratic rights have been completely ignored, that’s why I cannot be a part of a party that doesn’t have any democratic principles and ignores the people of Gilmore,” he said.
“I think the reason the faceless men have worked against me is they knew I would stand up for the people of Gilmore, they knew they couldn’t control me and they knew I wouldn’t do their bidding. I would simply stand firm and stand for the people of Gilmore. I suspect that’s what was motivating them to undertake this abhorrent decision to not endorse me.”
Mr Schultz’s phone has been flooded with hundreds of missed calls and texts from friends within the party.
Humbled by their kindness, Mr Schultz said he did not expect them to follow his lead and resign.
“I won’t be seeking to see them undermine the party, I’ll simply be saying this to the membership, ‘Look at your own values, your own principles and ask yourself if that’s reflected in the Liberal Party,’” he said.
Mr Schultz announced he would run for the seat of Gilmore on an independent ticket, having planned for the worst possible outcome when rumblings emerged about Mr Mundine’s interest in Gilmore.
“We [Mr Schultz and close confidants] never thought this would eventuate, we thought it was too bizarre and extraordinary,” he said.
“I’ll be running as an independent.”
Mr Ruddock in his capacity as NSW party president said the state executive was well within its rights to overlook the wishes of local branch members.
“Mr Schultz nominated against a sitting member who later withdrew, and given these circumstances, the party has elected to not proceed with the endorsement,” Mr Ruddock said.
“The party should be able to consider the best candidate to represent voters, their aspirations and concerns in each community.”