Salusinszky and Brad Norington use an interesting word in their report in The
today on the Liberal preselection war for Epping:

Pru Goward, the
Howard Government’s high-profile S-x Discrimination Commissioner, remains
firmly in the race for a blue-ribbon NSW state seat, despite an attempt by the
Liberal Party’s Right faction to psych her out of the contest.

The Liberal
preselection for Epping in Sydney’s northwest is set to become a fight between
Ms Goward, who has strong support on the Left, and NSW Deputy Director of
Prosecutions Greg Smith, the preferred candidate of the Right.

Mr Smith, a
former head of the anti-abortion Right to Life group in NSW with strong links
to Catholic body Opus Dei, is expected to nominate for Epping with the backing
of Liberal Right leader David Clark.

An interesting and good word – “psych”.
It’s a perfect demonstration of how the single issue campaigners seeking to
hijack the NSW Liberals operate.

As first reported in Crikey, a Lebanese
Maronite Christian stack in the Cherrybrook branch will be vital to the Epping
outcome. They’re expected to back the conservatives’ candidate, whoever he or she may be.

And they want to create an impression of
inevitable victory, so other potential challengers chose not to run. The
religious right want to psych them out of the competition – and then use the
fact that they’re running unopposed to claim to rank and file Liberals that they are
not extremists.

While they continue to stack the branches,
they may be able to get away with this among Liberal Party members.

Whether they get away with it amongst
potential Liberal voters is another matter. Confronted by abortion obsessives,
plenty of political observers on the North Shore think
the locals will chose to back independents.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey