Thanks to Stewart Wotton for flagging this one for my attention – Dennis Jensen, Liberal MP for the safe southern suburban seat of Tangney, has failed to win preselection for the seat.
In my previous comments I had suggested that it was unlikely that sitting members in safe seats would be rolled at preselection as it may present a picture of disunity. An interesting point – what would make a branch feel safe enough to overthrow an existing member? It would be fair to say the default action is to preserve sitting members, so this is almost like a firing.
Jensen has had a few contributions to the public debate, most notably nuclear policy in which he has particular expertise, calling for reform of the Defence Department (he’s a former defence analyst) and a measured stand on citizenship and terrorism issues (while being opposed to Moylan/Georgiou et al). From what I am reading, I’m not seeing a lot of local input into his statements, although I could be wrong – if anyone who knows more wishes to add more information, feel free to add a comment.
From news.com.au tonight –
Prime Minister John Howard said today it was unusual that federal Liberal MP Dennis Jensen had lost a preselection battle for his Perth seat such a short time after he was elected.
Dr Jensen last night lost his party’s endorsement for the southern Perth seat of Tangney to Matt Brown, once a chief of staff to former Defence Minister Robert Hill.
South African born Dr Jensen, 44, only took over the blue-ribbon seat from former communications minister and attorney general Daryl Williams in 2004.
Mr Howard today said Mr Jensen had done a good job during his 18 months representing the electorate.
“It was a decision taken by the party organisation and I am sorry because Dennis was a good member,” Mr Howard said.
Mr Howard said he had “nothing against” Mr Brown.
“He is a person of quality as well,” he said.
“But when a man has only been in parliament for a short period of time, it’s not usual, but clearly the preselection committee, … was properly convened in accordance with the rules of the party, it’s a democratic process.”
Dr Jensen, a physicist, worked as an air-traffic controller, a research scientist and a defence analyst before moving to politics.