The son of a Liberal Party stalwart has spectacularly quit the party, criticising Prime Minister Scott Morrison for failing to give him a fair go.
The resignation of Grant Schultz, the son of former MP Alby Schultz, to run as an independent in the NSW federal seat of Gilmore was sparked by a move by Mr Morrison to install former Labor president Warren Mundine as the candidate.
NSW Liberals president Philip Ruddock confirmed on Tuesday that the party had decided "to not proceed" with the endorsement of Mr Schultz, who had the overwhelming backing of local party members for preselection in the marginal southern NSW seat.
"The party should be able to consider the best candidate to represent voters, their aspirations and concerns in each community," Mr Ruddock said.
Mr Schultz was fuming.
"I cannot be a member of a party that does not support democracy or act with integrity," he told reporters at Nowra.
"The prime minister has stated that he believes in a fair go. He has not given me that."
He told his local paper, the South Coast Register, his late father would be "rolling in his grave in utter disgust and anger" at the actions of the party's "faceless men".
Labor is targeting the seat which was held by Ms Sudmalis by a margin of 0.73 per cent.
Mr Morrison is working behind the scenes to install Mr Mundine, who he described as a "top bloke".
Mr Mundine, who as of Tuesday was not a paid-up Liberal Party member and did not meet the criteria of six months as a member before becoming a candidate, was the ALP's national president from 2006 to 2007.
He quit the ALP in 2012.
"I think Warren Mundine has got a lot to offer, and he's already been offering quite a bit. I've been a friend of Warren for some time," Mr Morrison said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Mr Mundine had never succeeded in winning Labor preselection.
"He was unsuccessful in the Labor Party. It's a free country you can run for whatever party will have you," he said.
Mr Morrison had been hopeful of putting the party's internal woes behind him in the wake of questions about its lack of support for women and the sudden resignation of minister Kelly O'Dwyer for family reasons.
Australian Associated Press