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Moore MP Ian Goodenough planning to run as an independent if dumped by Liberals, with fears he may help Labor

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Josh ZimmermanThe West Australian
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Moore MP Ian Goodenough has told some Liberal members he will run as an independent if he misses out on preselection to former colleague Vince Connelly.
Camera IconMoore MP Ian Goodenough has told some Liberal members he will run as an independent if he misses out on preselection to former colleague Vince Connelly. Credit: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

Moore MP Ian Goodenough has told some Liberal members he will run as an independent if he misses out on preselection to former colleague Vince Connelly — an outcome that now appears increasingly likely.

Multiple Liberal sources told The West Australian Mr Goodenough plans to test his personal appeal to his electorate if he is dumped by his party after a decade in Parliament.

The move threatens to divide the party’s rank-and-file membership base and create a major headache for the WA Liberals in their only remaining metropolitan seat.

It would also position Mr Goodenough as a major influence on the outcome of his electorate in 2025.

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While few believe the 10-year veteran of Federal politics can win as an independent, his preferences could potentially prove decisive – with some even suggesting he may opt to place Labor ahead of his current party on how-to-vote cards.

The conversations have come ahead of a preselection contest pitting Mr Goodenough against Mr Connelly in a bitter rematch of the fight to represent Moore that played out ahead of the 2022 election.

Mr Goodenough prevailed in that instance by the slimmest of margins – by 39 votes to 36 – thanks largely to the backing of influential WA Senator Michaelia Cash.

It is understood Senator Cash – WA’s most senior Liberal in Canberra – warned Mr Goodenough two years ago he was on track to lose preselection this time around.

The was because Mr Goodenough had begun ceding control of his local branches to northern suburbs powerbroker Simon Ehrenfeld, who is backing Mr Connelly.

In a sign of his growing dominance in Moore, Mr Ehrenfeld was installed as division president at the end of 2022, beating Mr Goodenough’s preferred candidate Kate Taylor in a landslide.

Mr Connelly, the former Stirling MP and RSLWA chief executive, is now widely expected to win the Moore preselection – set down for February 17 – by a comfortable margin.

There are fears the result will trigger a wave of recriminations, beginning with Mr Goodenough declaring his intention to run as an independent.

“Ian will stand as an independent in 2025 with the backing of some senior Liberals who will fund his campaign,” one source said.

“They will do everything and anything to ensure Vince Connelly does not win the seat of Moore.

“They are not going to run the campaign to just miss out by a few votes, they will want to absolutely destroy Vince.”

The source said there were concerns Mr Goodenough’s desire for revenge could extend to preferencing Labor in 2025.

Other party insiders – while confirming they were aware Mr Goodenough had spoken about running as an independent – insisted he was highly unlikely to direct his preferences away from his current party.

Mr Goodenough would not say whether he planned to run as an independent when contacted by The West Australian, pointing to Liberal Party rules that limit what candidates can say to media ahead of a preselection.

“I have served the people of Moore proudly for 10 years,” Mr Goodenough said.

“I look forward to the preselection and believe my record of achievement as the member for Moore will be recognised by delegates.”

Leaked WhatsApp messages revealed Mr Goodenough as a key member of the faction known as The Clan, a group led by former Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann and State MPs Nick Goiran and Peter Collier.

Those messages included Mr Cormann rebuking Mr Goodenough in 2018 for his failure to keep friendly Moore branches constitutional ahead of that year’s preselection, forcing the Clan to step in and ensure State Council protected him from facing a challenge.

“You need to know that we all ate (sic) working paying political capital to sort out a Moore administrative failure which is putting Ian’s future job at risk,” Mr Cormann wrote.

“If the AGMs had been held in the ordinary course of events none of this would be happening. There needs to be a serious de-brief here after we have fixed this. We shouldn’t be in this position!”

The ugly spat in Moore has been fuelled in part by resentment towards Mr Connelly, with some Liberals angry at his brazen attempt to oust a sitting MP ahead of the 2022 election.

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