Turnbull MP backs Victorian pro-life candidate

Richard Willingham - State Political Correspondent

Controversial Liberal preselection candidate Stephanie Ross has won the backing of a Turnbull govern­ment MP who has declared the 25-year-old a ministerial prospect.

Deakin MP Michael Sukkar’s de­cision to write a reference tor Ms Ross’s challenge on state MP Gary Blackwood’s seat is at odds with Opposition Leader Matthew Guy who is backing the incumbent.

Ms Ross grabbed headlines last weekend when it was revealed she opposed abortion even in cases of rape. She has also inflamed some tensions in the party by running against a sitting MP.

In the past week Ms Ross has been inundated with abusive and threatening phone calls, e-mails and social media posts threatening assault and rape over her nomina­tion; police have been contacted.

Sources believe some of the threats are coming from Liberals.

“This is part of a cancerous cell in the party,” one source said.

In a written reference, Mr Sukkar says that Ms Ross is “an intelli­gent, principled woman who has strongly articulated Liberal and conservative values in the public domain”.

“Having the courage to publicly stand for these values has proven to me that Stephanie has the mettle to fight for the Narracan electorate and serve in a ministeri­al capacity in the future,” Mr Sukkar’s reference says.

Narracan, which stretches from Pakenham to Moe, is held by the Liberals by 11.3 per cent.

Ms Ross is the partner of new numbers man Marcus Bastiaan who has become a divisive figure due to allegations he is a branch stacker.

Ms Bastiaan denies being a stacker.

He also has the backing of presi­dent Michael Kroger in his cam­paign to recruit new members to the Liberal party.

From: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/turnbull-mp-throws-support-behind-cont...