Victorian Liberal party seeks to expel Bernie Finn over anti-abortion comments

·3 min read
<span>Photograph: James Ross/AAP</span>
Photograph: James Ross/AAP

State MP will face motion to expel him from parliamentary Liberal party after he said he was ‘praying’ for an abortion ban in Australia

Victorian state MP Bernie Finn will face a move to expel him from the parliamentary Liberal party after he repeatedly expressed his opposition to abortion.

Guardian Australia understands the motion to expel Finn has the support of senior opposition MPs and is expected to pass at a meeting next Tuesday.

If passed, Finn would be forced to sit on the crossbench in the upper house and would be unable to run again as a Liberal at November’s state election. The motion would not expel Finn from the Liberal party, meaning he could retain his membership.

Finn was criticised this month after saying on Facebook he was “praying” for abortion to be banned in Australia.

Related: Labor denounces ‘disgusting smear campaign’ on abortion in Australia’s most marginal seat

His comments came after the leak of a draft decision showing a majority of US supreme court justices may overturn Roe v Wade, which ruled abortion was a constitutional right.

In his post, Finn said “killing babies is criminal”. When a woman commented that she did not support abortion but believed there should be options for women who are victims of rape, Finn replied: “Babies should not be killed for the crime of his or her parent.”

After Finn’s comments, the opposition leader, Matthew Guy, said the Liberal party was “absolutely sick” of Finn’s social media posts and said he should consider if he wished to remain a Liberal MP.

Finn resigned as the opposition’s whip in the state’s upper house days later, but that has not stopped members of his party moving against him.

In a statement on Monday, Guy said it was “imperative” that Liberal MPs were “solely focused on recovering and rebuilding Victoria”.

“A continued lack of discipline and repeated actions detrimental to the party’s ability to stand up for the interests of Victorians has left no other option but to consider Mr Finn’s eligibility to represent the Liberal party,” he said in a statement.

Guardian Australia has confirmed with several Liberal party sources the motion to expel Finn is expected to take place at a party room meeting next Tuesday.

One Liberal MP, who requested anonymity, said Finn’s views were “repugnant and do not represent the party”.

Several federal Liberal candidates in Victoria are under pressure to retain high-profile seats from progressive independent challengers.

The Liberal party’s preselection for the state’s upper house is expected to open in the coming weeks.

Finn had previously faced criticism for his social media use. He once likened the Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, to Adolf Hitler, and shared pro-Trump conspiracy theories including the claim that the former president was “improperly” removed from office.

He has been an upper house MP since 2006. Between 1992 and 1999 he was a lower house MP for the electorate of Tullamarine before it was abolished in 2002.

Earlier this year, Guy dismissed reports Finn would be challenged for the No 1 position on the Western Metropolitan upper house ticket. He described Finn as a “very loud and proud conservative”.

Guardian Australia has contacted Finn for comment.

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