Independent senator Cory Bernardi is still receiving sensitive internal Liberal Party emails six months after he quit to establish his own party, the Australian Conservatives.
A copy of an email sent by chief government whip Nola Marino to all Liberal Party MPs and senators on Thursday informing them of Monday's emergency party room meeting on same-sex marriage has been leaked to BuzzFeed News.
It shows Bernardi is still on the Liberal Party mailing list and has been receiving confidential emails about internal party planning, speaking lists and talking points, despite defecting from the party in February.
Bernardi's parliamentary email remained the same after he quit the Liberals to sit on the Senate crossbench.
"[It's no surprise] he's so on top of what we are doing and in some cases, ahead of the curve," one senior Liberal source said, after being informed of the oversight by BuzzFeed News.
It's understood Bernardi didn't inform the whip's office he was still receiving Liberal Party information.
Liberal insiders are now worried about what information has accidentally been emailed to the South Australian senator and his staff.
Bernardi didn't answer BuzzFeed News' questions on whether he's been reading the emails, or was using the information to his advantage.
Former senator Chris Back also remains on the Liberal distribution list despite retiring from politics last week. As does Bill Heffernan, who left parliament in May last year, and Richard Colbeck and David Johnston, who both lost their seats at the last election. As all four have left parliament, their email accounts are no longer active.
Victorian MP Kevin Andrews, however, is not on the list.
This is the latest in a series of blunders from the office of Marino — whose primary responsibility is to maintain party discipline and enforce the government's position — over the last 12 months.
Last year, the government lost a number of procedural votes in the House of Representatives, something that hasn't happened to a majority government in 50 years, when Marino gave a number of senior ministers permission to leave parliament early.
The whip's office was also left red-faced after minister Kelly O'Dwyer accidentally endorsed a Labor bill that criticised the Turnbull government.
Marino, an MP from Western Australia, was appointed to the $260,000 per year job when Malcolm Turnbull took over the Liberal leadership in October 2015.
Now, colleagues are calling on the prime minister to sack her.
"No wonder the whip can't maintain any discipline, [she] can't even manage a mailing list," another senior Liberal source told BuzzFeed News.
"Abbott sacked Ruddock when he wouldn't shut down two MPs. Turnbull has five MPs openly threatening to blow up government and oppose policy, and not a word from the chief whip."
Philip Ruddock was dumped by former prime minister Tony Abbott in 2015 after 39 MPs voted against Abbott in a failed leadership spill.
Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.
Contact Alice Workman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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