Macfarlane's political future to be decided this weekend

A WEEKEND meeting in Toowoomba will determine Groom MP Ian Macfarlane's political future when the first of two hurdles is met on his way to switching Coalition political parties.

Liberal National Party president Gary Spence said the decision would be made on Saturday morning after the Groom Federal Divisional Council meets in the city.

It is the first of two hurdles Mr Macfarlane must jump in order to make his shock party shift final, with a meeting with the LNP state executive scheduled for Monday - depending on Saturday's outcome.

"This is a unique situation," Mr Spence said.

"Ian won't be changing political parties but this is the first time that this has occurred in the LNP."

Mr Spence likened the shock announcement to Mr Macfarlane simply changing which room in Canberra he would enter in Canberra next year.

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He had talked through the process with Mr Macfarlane when he first floated the idea "some weeks ago".

He would not be drawn on whether there had been expressions of interest to run in the seat of Groom in the wake of Mr Macfarlane's party change.

But Federal Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said that could have been a possibility as Mr Macfarlane's preselection for Groom had been "ratified on the basis he was sitting in the Liberal Party room".

"Potentially, other people would have sought preselection if they knew that it was going to be a National Party seat or an LNP seat resulting in that person sitting in the National Party party room," Mr Dutton told Sky News.

Mr Macfarlane has downplayed reports he was seeking a leadership role in the Nationals and that he felt bitter about being called on to step aside for younger Coalition members in September's cabinet reshuffle.



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