It’s gratifying that other media outlets have discovered the nuts-and-bolts details of the Liberal preselection war for the NSW state seat of Epping. But it’s a pity that they’re still oversimplifying matters.

From a look at the broadsheets, you’d think it was simply a fight between Pru Goward and the hard right’s Greg Smith. Think again.

At the moment, it looks as if preselectors will have to go through an exhaustive ballot process. The results could become interesting as the different contenders get eliminated.

Much of the focus has been on the Cherrybrook branch, stacked by Lebanese Maronite Catholics.

There’s talk of a meeting that has apparently occurred that no one appeared to know about. The Liberal Party constitution says that all financial members of a branch must be advised in writing of a meeting seven days before it takes place.

Cherrybrook will provide 34 of the 72 preselection votes. The media assumption is that Smith will be the beneficiary. There’s been little attention paid to another possible contender, Hornsby Mayor and former staffer Nick Berman. Sources say Berman has taken a close interest in Cherrybrook.

Dark horses often get a good run in exhaustive ballots. Favourites fall by the wayside. Watch this space.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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