Jane Prentice after losing preselection for her seat earlier this year. Picture: Annette Dew
Jane Prentice after losing preselection for her seat earlier this year. Picture: Annette Dew

Dumped Lib prepares for next move

DUMPED Liberal MP Jane Prentice is considering running as an independent in her Brisbane seat after donors have told her they would switch support from the Government to back her.

In a move that will add to concerns of an election rout for Scott Morrison, Mrs Prentice has been urged by business people and community groups to run and has been told she could win the seat.

The former minister and Malcolm Turnbull ally has told friends she is weighing up whether to stand for re-election in Ryan, which she holds by an 8.8 per cent margin, and will make up her mind over the Christmas break.

Julian Simmonds, who won preselection for Ryan over sitting member Jane Prentice.
Julian Simmonds, who won preselection for Ryan over sitting member Jane Prentice.

Mrs Prentice was rolled for Liberal preselection by her former staffer Julian Simmonds despite efforts by Mr Turnbull and others to save her.

Her predecessor in the seat, former Liberal Michael Johnson, has also pledged to run as an independent and has offered to direct preferences to her if she is a candidate.

"In my view, Jane Prentice was treated with total contempt by the LNP who did not stand by one of their few federally elected women in Queensland," he said.

"The LNP drafted Jane in 2010 when it suited them to replace me, and when her use-by date rolled around, they brutally shafted her.

"I would strongly encourage Jane to run and that not only all LNP women in Ryan vote for her, but all Liberal-inclined voting women voters in the Ryan electorate vote for her."

Mrs Prentice has been offered funding for a campaign as an independent from previous LNP donors, News Queensland can reveal.

LNP sources suggested she could retain the seat by tapping into anger about Mr Turnbull's removal among some voters.

 

Jane Prentice after losing preselection for her seat earlier this year. Picture: Annette Dew
Jane Prentice after losing preselection for her seat earlier this year. Picture: Annette Dew

 

The seat could fall to the Greens if Mrs Prentice does not run, an LNP source said. Queensland's only Greens MP, Michael Berkman, holds the overlapping state seat of Maiwar.

If the LNP loses Ryan, it would be another blow to the party's heartland after independent Kerryn Phelps won Mr Turnbull's old seat of Wentworth.

Another Liberal MP, Julia Banks, has left open the option of contesting her Victorian seat as an independent after she announced she would quit following the ousting of Mr Turnbull.

Mrs Prentice declined to comment.