South Australia’s Liberal Party is considering punishing party defectors by making them pay back some of the money spent on their election campaigns, after Adelaide Hills MP Dan Cregan quit the party last month.

Key points:

  • Former Liberal Adelaide Hills MP Dan Cregan became an independent last month
  • A former colleague says people who leave the party, like Mr Cregan, should have to pay for their campaign expenses
  • Mr Cregan says MPs already pay some of the cost, along with taxpayers

That plan has been composed by Liberal MP Adrian Pederick, who described Dan Cregan’s defection from the party as a “dog act”.

The ABC has received a leaked copy of the proposal from an email account purporting to be set up by “Concerned Liberals”, along with a copy of last week’s joint partyroom meeting agenda.

Mr Pederick presented the plan to his colleagues at last week’s meeting, but no decision was made.

It has now been referred to the state executive to consider it further.

Premier Steven Marshall told the ABC he thought it was a good idea.

“I think Adrian made a very good point,” Mr Marshall said.

“When they leave, of course, there’s a lot of people left scratching their heads about the support that they’ve offered.”

The motion put up in a partyroom meeting last week.(Supplied)

‘Ham-fisted’ handcuff proposal

Mr Cregan criticised the move, saying political parties already received taxpayer money following an election.

“This is a ham-fisted political device to handcuff a community and their member to failed policies,” Mr Cregan said.

“The Liberal Party was paid $2.3 million by taxpayers for the last election under South Australia’s publicly funded election system.

“Each Liberal member then pays 5 per cent of their salary to the party — which I did for the time I was a party member.”

When he quit, Mr Cregan said his intention was to hold the balance of power after the election and negotiate for significant investment in his electorate.

Four other state Liberal MPs have become independents over the past four years in a variety of circumstances.

A Liberal Party spokesperson said the organisation “does not comment on internal party matters”.