Moderate NSW Liberals opposed a request by Scott Morrison to dispose of careless MP Craig Kelly from the election defeat, arguing that Mr Kelly and other conservatives helped bring down Malcolm Turnbull and that he had to leave.
In what appears to be a rejection of the Prime Minister in his party's home division, moderates say their candidate for Hughes' Sutherland Shire seat, Kent Johns, has numbers and will challenge Mr Kelly.
The Right, which is owned by Mr Kelly, agreed, saying he had been negligent in looking after his branches and would be fortunate to have 25 percent of the vote.
Last month, The Australian Financial Review It was reported that Mr Morrison had stepped in to save Mr Kelly to stop the outbreak of civil war within the NSW Liberal Party and to increase the chances of the fighting government to hold Hughes.
Malcolm Turnbull saved Mr Kelly from a selection challenge by Mr Johns before the final election but he then turned on Mr Turnbull and was a major player in his downfall.
"Kent does not want to move and no one wants to make him move," said a leading moderate.
"As far as it was concerned, Malcolm Turnbull saved [Senator] Concetta Fierravanti-Wells and [Energy Minister] Angus Taylor and Kelly last time and see what they did to him.
"The scenery is enough is enough."
A factional broker who tried to save Mr Kelly said earlier that "a resolution" was being worked on, but moderates said that they and Mr. Johns is not interested.
"Kent is very, very reluctant to put aside."
Mr Kelly, a climate skeptic, has further raised eyebrows by giving a speech to branch members in another chair about his views on energy and climate, something that is considered very damaging given climate change is a factor in Wentworth's election.
Tony Abbott considered Mr Kelly a key ally and in May, when Mr Turnbull was a leader, threatening a destabilizing campaign that could cost the election Coalition if Mr Kelly was banished.
There is still no date set for elected voting. Hughes is one of the few federal Liberal seats in NSW where candidates have not been resolved. Gilmore's chair needs a candidate after Ann Sudmalis announced he had stopped at the election while Craig Laundy is expected to vacate his west Sydney seat Reid.
One senior member of the Right said that it was feared Mr Kelly could sit on the crossbench as an independent for the remainder of his term if he was defeated, as now seems certain.
Tour bus controversy
Meanwhile, the four-day Morrison bus ride through Queensland's marginal seat experienced controversy after Morrison's report would be tossed between his bus and VIP jet so he could travel from the Gold Coast to Townsville in four days.
"This is practical. I want to spend a lot of time on the ground with Queensland people, and when I can take a bus and go from place to place on the bus, that's good," he said.
"But I will not sacrifice time with Queensland people, listen to them and listen to them and talk to them about what is important to them, only to satisfy media interest in the schedule for buses."
One MP Coalition said that bus tours were "a good idea" but "it would be better if he was on the bus"
On Tuesday, the Prime Minister mingled with the people in a race in Caloundra to watch the Melbourne Cup.
This trip was dominated by the large use of Morrison from Australian Austronesian languages, the use of hats and cheap production of YouTube videos.
"Down like dirt in the well," said a member of parliament.