Former Lindsay MP Fiona Scott has hit out at former Prime Minister Tony Abbott publicly for “backstabbing” and damaging her credibility with his famous “sex appeal” comment.
Ms Scott, who narrowly lost Lindsay last year, also accused the Liberal Party of refusing to give her election resources because it was relying on polling that wrongly indicated she was winning easily.
"We were pretty much left on our own," she said. "All other parts of the party wanted to come and help me and were told not to. What I was was repeatedly told was the polling in Lindsay was very strong."
A first-term backbencher, who wrestled Lindsay from Labor in 2013, Ms Scott lost last year's election by 1990 votes or 2.2 per cent. Labor leader Bill Shorten launched his campaign in her seat and she was regarded by commentators as outperforming Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull throughout the campaign.
Ms Scott is one of the first of 14 lower house Liberals who lost their seats to attack the party publicly over its conduct of the election. She said Young Liberal volunteers were allocated to the Sydney seat of Greenway, which Labor held with a 3.3 per cent swing, and ministers sent to Barton, which Labor held with a 3.9 per cent swing.
Ms Scott was propelled into prominence during the 2013 election campaign when Mr Abbott said she was one of the party's candidates in western Sydney with "a little sex appeal".
Once she got to Canberra, some male Liberals didn't take her seriously because of the description, she said, which offended her close female relatives. "To be sexually objectified really upset my mum," she said.
Some Liberals believe Mr Abbott is running a campaign to undermine Mr Turnbull and return as leader. Mr Abbott has said as a former leader he has a right to speak out about the Coalition's performance. Mr Abbott's office declined to comment on Ms Scott's accusations.
"I am really disappointed in [Mr Abbott's] backstabbing," Ms Scott said. "He said 'no backstabbing and backbiting' and that's all he's done."
Western Australian Liberal, Melissa Price, said the party needed to stop publicly arguing over the government's direction.