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Liberal reform 'unstoppable', Abbott says

AAP logoAAP 22/10/2016

Liberal party reform will be discussed next year after Tony Abbott's push for immediate changes was voted down in favour of a proposal from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The state council on Saturday agreed with the joint plan by the prime minister and NSW Premier Mike Baird to move towards more democratic practices within the party, including greater involvement from rank and file members.

Mr Abbott, who has long campaigned for candidate preselection to be decided by member plebiscites, wanted the issue to be decided this weekend.

The Sydney meeting voted down the former prime minister's motion 246 votes to 174 while the slower and broader Turnbull-Baird approach, which called for a convention to discuss the issue next year, was passed by a unanimous voice vote.

In a speech after his motion passed, Mr Turnbull agreed the party needed to "modernise" and ensure "grassroots partnership and involvement".

Mr Abbott hailed the day as "very successful", saying he thought reform was now "unstoppable".

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