DUMPED Liberal Dennis Jensen tried to upstage Tony Abbott this week as the former prime minister appeared at a campaign event for the man who ousted the now-independent Tangney MP.
Mr Jensen, who lost preselection in a bruising tussle with former Liberal state director Ben Morton, parked his campaign trailer outside the Melville Bowling Club where Mr Abbott was due to meet about 250 locals.
But an onlooker told the Herald the stunt didn’t quite go as planned, with the media scrum ignoring Mr Jensen and his trailer.
“Everyone parked at the other side of the car park because it was embarrassing, but as it filled-up, they were forced to park beside his trailer,” the Chook’s bemused source relayed.
Mr Jensen claims he was the victim of a dirty tricks campaign that scuppered his support with local Liberals.
“I was just having a bit of light-hearted fun at Ben’s event,” he says.
“Life’s too short to be serious all the time.
“I noticed that Mr Morton’s campaign says ‘I’m with Malcolm’, but now Tony Abbott is showing up, so who is Ben actually backing?”
Mr Morton says he has support from all wings of the party, noting deputy PM Julie Bishop opened his campaign office and Mr Turnbull has written to voters pledging his support.
“I think people in all areas of the party respect my professionalism,” says Mr Morton. “Tony’s visit was positive for the party and the campaign as a whole.”
Mr Abbott told Mr Morton’s campaign workers they weren’t sending a novice candidate.
“He is someone with enormous high level political experience under his belt already,” Mr Abbott said.
“Notwithstanding those years at the very top of organisational politics he also has energy, enthusiasm and youth on his side.”
Mr Morton knows Mr Abbott through NSW politics, having stood for the State seat of Wyong in 2003 and 2007.