Controversial former Liberal MP Sophie Mirabella has dubbed Social Services Minister Scott Morrison the "next conservative prime minister of Australia" during a fundraiser that has set tongues wagging.
Mr Morrison was guest speaker at a Liberal Party fundraiser held at the home of Mrs Mirabella, the former MP for the seat of Indi, on Saturday.
There is growing speculation Mrs Mirabella could run against the woman who beat her at the 2013 poll, independent Cathy McGowan, at the 2016 federal election.
"I miss Sophie and Sophie's representation has been something really lacking in Parliament," Mr Morrison told The Border Mail.
"Cathy (McGowan) is a nice person, she is well regarded and she is professional to deal with. There is nothing personal about any of this. When we lost Sophie we lost someone with enormous talent and experience; she was another very strong female voice in our team.
"I thought she (Sophie) brought a really important perspective and I'd love to see that perspective back."
While Mr Morrison showed his support for Mrs Mirabella, she too returned the favour.
"This man will be the next conservative prime minister of Australia," Mrs Mirabella said during her speech.
"Too many politicians are too concerned about being liked rather than getting things done.
"I will be working together with all other people locally to work on the return of the Coalition — that's what you do as a party member."
Saturday's event publicly kicked off the Liberals' campaign for the seat of Indi.
Mrs Mirabella was tight-lipped as to whether she was interested in putting her hand up as the Liberal candidate.
But committee members who attended said the party would be looking to name a candidate sooner rather than later.
Field officer for Indi Karen Rourke helped organise the event and is responsible for helping to promote women in the party.
She said a turnout of 200 people was indicative of the Liberals making a strong run.
"We have been working for the past 18 months talking and planning to find out what the electorate needs, we have been here," she said.
"Now we have got to get moving, because people want to know who is running."
The Border Mail