NSNS Liberal executive ordered to pay costs to 4 senior party members

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NSNS Liberal executive ordered to pay costs to 4 senior party members

The NSW Liberal executive member who took the Prime Minister to court over pre-selection choices has been ordered to pay costs to four senior party members.

Matthew Camenzuli lost his case in the NSW Court of Appeal earlier this month after he unsuccessfully argued that the Liberal federal executive had no power to intervene in candidate pre-selections for the upcoming federal election.

The federal executive had to appoint a committee made up of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and former federal Liberal President Christine McDiven to make candidate selections for 12 seats in NSW.

The selections followed months of bitter infighting about who should run, with some NSW Liberals accusing their federal counterparts of trying to run the clock out so that Morrison could parachute in his preferred picks.

He took the matter to the High Court last week but lost when Chief Justice Susan Kiefel rejected his application for a hearing.

Justice John Basten ordered Mr Camenzuli to pay the legal costs for four of the defendants — Mr Morrison, Mr Perrottet, Ms McDiven and the current federal Liberal President, John Olsen.

But he doesn't have to pay costs for the three incumbent Liberals named in the lawsuit, Farrer MP Sussan Ley, Mitchell MP Alex Hawke and North Sydney MP Trent Zimmerman, who were the first to be locked in by the Prime Minister's committee.

Mr Camenzuli doesn't have to pay the costs of the president of the NSW Liberals, Philip Ruddock, who was listed as a defendant.

The three appeals court judges said costs were only applied to the defendants who played an active role in the proceedings.

The legal costs are going to be higher for Mr Camenzuli, who was ordered to pay costs for his attempted High Court appeal.

The court of appeal ruled that the federal executive could not decide whether or not the matter was not justiciable and the court had no place in adjudicating internal disputes in political parties, as a result of the action, and NSW Liberal Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells backed it, accusing the federal executive of trampling on the rights of branch members to make captain's picks.

The NSW Liberals expelled him from the party on the day after Mr Camenzuli lost the case.

The legal battle began in February and has been a thorn in the federal government's side because of the fact that important seats were without Liberal candidates just weeks out of the election.