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Australian Capital Territory: Liberal Party leadership

MATTHEW ABRAHAM: The forces are closing in on Liberal leader Trevor Kaine, and it's something that's been happening very quietly, indeed. Last year, Trevor Kaine blitzed his party with a bloody preselection contest which saw him reclaim the number one spot on the party ticket for the election. Several sitting MPs were rolled in the process and subsequently, Mr Kaine re-took the leadership from Gary Humphries. It was a preselection contest which left a lot of blood on the party floor, and it created deep and bitter divisions within the Liberal Party.

Mr Kaine relied, in part, on the support of a newcomer to the ACT Branch, a Mr Kahn. Well, it's taken a while, but the Members, taken surprise last year, have regrouped and they are now in the process of isolating Mr Kaine's power base and taking the party back, as they put it. For a leader not prepared to put his position on the line in the party room after the election, that's not good news.

Last night, dubbed Liberal MLA, Mr Bill Stefaniak, creamed Mr Kahn in a contest for the presidency of the Canberra Federal Electorate Conference, one of the two main sub-branches, if I can put it like that. Mr Stefaniak beat Mr Kahn by 82 votes to 29 - that's 82 to 29. You couldn't get more decisive. On Saturday, the party votes on a new branch president to replace Mr Jim Leibman. I understand the anti-Kaine forces are expecting a similar resounding victory.

Gwen Wilcox is believed to have the support needed to roll the current Vice-President, Gerard Brennan, who is fiercely pro-Kaine. Gwen Wilcox is Director of the ACT Division, formerly Director of the ACT Division, and is described by her supporters as holding the middle ground within the party. Interesting times.