The former prime minister Tony Abbott has been re-endorsed as the Liberal party candidate for the Sydney northern beaches seat of Warringah after a branch meeting on Friday night.
Abbott stood unopposed and was chosen despite angry grumblings from a vocal minority of members.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Abbott’s nomination was opposed by at least 30% of grassroots Liberal members.
One member said on Saturday: “Everybody with any degree of commitment to the party and its long-term future wants to see this guy go, he’s just useless.”
The result comes three years to the day since the 2015 leadership spill when Malcolm Turnbull toppled Abbott as prime minister.
He is the only former prime minister to remain in the current parliament after losing leadership.
In the wake of the latest Liberal leadership spill on 24 August, Abbott has stared down calls for him to retire from public life, saying he has “plenty of public life left in me”.
Abbott was blamed by some members of his own party for provoking the leadership carnage. Several Coalition backbenchers publicly urged Abbott to quit after he broke his pledge not to snipe, wreck and undermine the Turnbull government.
Queensland MP Warren Entsch said: “I think his mission is accomplished; he has gotten rid of his nemesis.
“Everything there was purely about revenge.”
Despite calls by John Howard to return Abbott to the ministry, the prime minister, Scott Morrison, did not offer Abbott a position in his new cabinet, instead offering him a role as special envoy on Indigenous affairs, which Abbott accepted.
On 27 August, Abbott told 2GB he would strive to help the Coalition win the next election. “If that’s as the member for Warringah, if that’s as something else, I’ll just do the best I can.”
Abbott has held the safe Liberal seat since 1994.
In May, Guardian Australia reported that a group of activists were targetting Abbott’s seat by organising environmentally conscious voters to join the Liberal party branch in Warringah.
At a meeting of the activist group North Shore Environmental Stewards in Seaforth on 25 March, one attendee claimed: “At the meeting I soon realised that the NSES was … seeking to recruit people concerned about the lack of action on climate change to join the Liberal party in order to block the preselection of Tony Abbott to stand in Warringah at the next federal election.”