Outgoing Member for Mackellar, Bronwyn Bishop departs the Federal Liberal party preselection ballot for the seat of Mackellar, in Sydney, Saturday, April 16, 2016. Jason Falinski has taken preselection in the safe Liberal seat previously held by Bronwyn Bishop in a fourth round ballot 51 to 39 vote tally.
Outgoing Member for Mackellar, Bronwyn Bishop departs the Federal Liberal party preselection ballot for the seat of Mackellar, in Sydney, Saturday, April 16, 2016. Jason Falinski has taken preselection in the safe Liberal seat previously held by Bronwyn Bishop in a fourth round ballot 51 to 39 vote tally. AAP Image - Sam Mooy

Bronwyn Bishop loses preselection battle in Mackellar

FORMER House of Representatives speaker Bronwyn Bishop's political career appears finished after she was dumped from the seat she held for 22 years.

The Liberal Party snubbed the veteran politician in her preselection bid for safe Sydney seat Mackellar, endorsing former Liberal staffer Jason Falinski.

The moderate candidate won the ballot with 51 votes to 39 after a five-and-a-half hour meeting on Saturday.

Tony Abbott's hard-right pick, Walter Villatora, was in the running but received just nine votes in the third round of voting.

Mrs Bishop made only a brief statement to reporters as she exited the building.

"It's been an honour to serve the people of Mackellar," she said.

The result still needs to be formally endorsed by the party, but that is seen as merely a formality.

Mr Falinski told reporters Mrs Bishop should be praised for her "long service and dedication to the Liberal cause".

"I want to thank the Liberal Party for bestowing this honour on me," he said.

"It is a privilege to be given their faith to represent the Liberal Party on the Northern Beaches.

"There's no other seat that I've ever wanted to represent in the Federal Parliament than Mackellar."

Mrs Bishop's controversial career began when she entered the Senate in 1987 before switching to the House of Representatives in a 1994 by-election.

She was a minister under John Howard until she was scratched in 2001, returning to the front bench as Speaker under Tony Abbott in 2013.

Her new role brought a barrage of accusations of bias, leading to her ultimate undoing over her use of a $5000 of taxpayers' money to charter a private helicopter to a party fundraiser last year.

The "Choppergate" scandal was the beginning of Mrs Bishop's demise, but she held on to the bitter end, despite criticism.

Though he voted against her, Mr Abbott thanked his former ally for her service.

"She has been a warrior for good causes and deserves the gratitude of all members of the Liberal Party," he said on Twitter.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said: "As a minister, as a member, as a senator, and a Speaker, Bronwyn has been unforgettable."



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