Surprises do happen.

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.

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2 Responses to Surprises do happen.

  1. Hi Andrew,
    Just wanted to say it’s great to come across such an informed and interesting take on WA politics.
    Recommended reading.
    Bronwen

  2. interlogue says:

    Hi Bronwen,

    Thanks very much!

    – Andrew.

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