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Federal Election 2022: Gladys Berejiklian weighs Warringah seat as Liberals extend pre-selection

A calculated move by the NSW Liberal Party could help former premier Gladys Berejiklian return to politics early next year.

The Liberal Party will leave pre-selection nominations for the federal seat of Warringah on Sydney’s northern beaches open until January 14, 2022.

Winter Olympian Zali Steggall has been the local MP since May 2019 after she defeated ex-PM Tony Abbott to represent the suburbs of Neutral Bay, Mosman and Manly.

The Liberal Party’s move to keep pre-selection open was to allow Ms Berejiklian to be parachuted in as the challenger according to one political expert. 

The NSW Liberals will leave pre-selection nominations open in Warringah until January 14 next year, allowing former premier Gladys Berejiklian to potentially return to politics

James Massola's tweet where he outlines how former Ms Berejiklian could be parachuted into the seat to challenge Winter Olympian Zali Steggall

James Massola’s tweet where he outlines how former Ms Berejiklian could be parachuted into the seat to challenge Winter Olympian Zali Steggall

Victorian based political reporter James Massola tweeted on Friday afternoon the former NSW premier could be parachuted into the seat from early next year.

‘Interesting development. The NSW Liberals will leave pre-selection nominations open in Warringah and Parramatta until January 14, 2022,’ Mr Massola said.

‘Date pushed back from December 3, when most noms closed. This move is designed to give Gladys Berejiklian time to consider a jump to Warringah.’

Fellow political commentator Niki Savva said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has spoken to Ms Berejiklian ‘multiple times’ urging her to run for the party at the federal level. 

She wrote in an opinion piece for The Sydney Morning Herald that the ex-NSW premier was using Mr Frydenberg as a go-between to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has a tense relationship with Ms Berejiklian.

Savva said Ms Berejiklian had told friends Mr Morrison’s staff undermined her while she was in office and is not communicating directly with the Australian leader.

‘Frydenberg has spoken to Berejiklian a number of times encouraging her to run, saying she was needed federally and would add heft to the government,’ she wrote in her regular column. 

‘She has told him and others she will think about it. She also reassured him she has no leadership ambitions.’ 

Mr Morrison reportedly wants the ex-state leader to run for the federal seat of Warringah on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, held by independent MP Zali Steggall.

Gladys Berejiklian outside her electorate office on November 2. She is strongly considering running for federal parliament according to a well-connected political insider

Ms Berejiklian has a reported tense relationship with Scott Morrison (pictured) - and has been consulting Treasurer Josh Frydenberg about potentially running at federal level

Ms Berejiklian has a reported tense relationship with Scott Morrison (pictured) – and has been consulting Treasurer Josh Frydenberg about potentially running at federal level

Ms Berejiklian announced her resignation from NSW Parliament in October after the state’s corruption watchdog revealed that she was under investigation.

She may wait until the next election cycle to make her decision – when the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption will have finished its probe into her relationship with disgraced Wagga MP Daryl Maguire.

‘The pressure – or the temptation – to become the first female federal Liberal leader or its first female prime minister might be too great to resist,’ Savva said.

Savva was a Liberal Party staffer who served as former treasurer Peter Costello’s media adviser.

FORMER PREMIERS WHO WENT FEDERAL

Kristina Keneally, NSW Labor Premier 2009-2011. Opposition frontbencher, 2019- 

Bob Carr, NSW Labor Premier 1995-2005. Foreign Minister, 2012-2013 

John Fahey, NSW Liberal Premier 1992-1995. Federal Finance Minister, 1996-2001

Carmen Lawrence, WA Labor Premier 1990-1993. Federal Health Minister, 1994-1996

Steele Hall, SA Liberal and Country League Premier 1968-1970. Liberal Senator 1974-1977 and House of Representatives MP 1981-1996

Vince Gair, Queensland Labor Premier 1952-1957. Democratic Labor Party Senator 1965-1974

Jack Lang, NSW Labor Premier 1925-1927 and 1930-1932. Lang Labor House of Representatives MP 1946-1949

Joseph Lyons, Tasmanian Labor Premier 1923-1928. United Australia Party Prime Minister 1932-1939

Ted Theodore, Queensland Labor Premier 1919-1925. Federal Treasurer 1929-1930

The report comes a day after Ms Berejiklian was spotted hunting for a bargain while shopping at a discount store in Sydney.

She donned a stylish red dress as she browsed the aisles of Hot Dollar at Macquarie Shopping Centre in Sydney’s north-west on Wednesday.

Sporting a blue face mask, Ms Berejiklian was seen chatting to another shopper while holding a gift bag. 

She has been seen out on a few shopping trips, including one with her boyfriend Arthur Moses, since stepping down from the state’s top job.

Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian visited the discount store Hot Dollar in Macquarie Shopping Centre on Wednesday

Former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian visited the discount store Hot Dollar in Macquarie Shopping Centre on Wednesday

In November, the pair visited the glitzy Potts Point area of Sydney, and wore remarkably similar ensembles. 

Both Ms Berejiklian and Mr Moses, who is a senior counsel barrister, stepped out in black boots, blue jeans and a blue shirt as they visited book shops and clothing stores in the inner city.

The former NSW leader resigned as premier on October 1 when she announced that she was under investigation by ICAC.

The inquiry sat for 11 days in October, with Ms Berejiklian facing a gruelling day and a half of questions over her secret relationship with Mr Maguire.

Last month Ms Berejiklian and her boyfriend Arthur Moses visited the glitzy Potts Point area of Sydney, and wore remarkably similar ensembles

Last month Ms Berejiklian and her boyfriend Arthur Moses visited the glitzy Potts Point area of Sydney, and wore remarkably similar ensembles

The NSW corruption watchdog ICAC investigated whether Ms Berejiklian encouraged or allowed corrupt conduct by her ex-boyfriend, former MP Daryl Maguire (pictured together)

The NSW corruption watchdog ICAC investigated whether Ms Berejiklian encouraged or allowed corrupt conduct by her ex-boyfriend, former MP Daryl Maguire (pictured together)

She denied any wrongdoing and was frequently exasperated during the examination, during which she was scolded several time by the commissioners for giving more context than the question required.  

After concluding her evidence with ICAC in early November, the woman who led NSW through the Covid pandemic told reporters she intends to get on with her life.

‘Every decision I made, in terms of the public office I held, was in the best interests of the community and the public,’ she said.

‘Now I intend to get on with my life.’

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