The NSW division of the Liberal Party will be temporarily overseen by a committee including Prime Minister Scott Morrison to sort out a stalled candidate election process, which had left two ministers unsure of their future.
The committee, also comprising former Liberal president Chris McDiven and NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet, will manage the NSW division until Tuesday evening in a bid to finalise three candidate selections ahead of an election expected in May.
The decision was made at a federal executive meeting on Friday.
“The intervention ground is based on the circumstance that decisions have not been made in relation to the endorsement of three incumbent Liberal members of parliament as Liberal candidates to recontest their seats in the electorates of Farrer, North Sydney and Mitchell,” federal director Andrew Hirst said in a statement on Friday.
“The committee may select and endorse a candidate for each of these seats.”
The trio includes ministers Sussan Ley (Farrer) and Alex Hawke (Mitchell) and North Sydney backbencher Trent Zimmerman.
The federal executive has also asked the NSW division to finalise candidates in other federal seats in that state by March 25.
NSW division president Philip Ruddock presented to the federal executive a list of nine names for endorsement across nine seats, following a ballot of state executive members which received a majority of votes but not the required 90 per cent backing.
The list included Ms Ley, Mr Hawke and Mr Zimmerman.
Other candidates on the list included: Alex Dore (Hughes), David Brady (Warringah), Michael Feneley (Dobell), Maria Kovacic (Parramatta), Pradeep Pathi (Greenway) and Jerry Nockles (Eden-Monaro).
Some members of the party have objected to the fast-tracking process, saying it undermines the ability of local branch members to have a say in preselecting candidates with local profiles.