Flat White

Will Liberal right sellouts kill the Party?

30 January 2018

6:52 AM

30 January 2018

6:52 AM

The Daily Telegraph reports that NSW deputy Liberal leader and ‘great hope’ of the Liberal Party’s right faction, Dominic Perrottet, has sold out the democratic reform of the Liberal Party as endorsed by an overwhelming majority of grassroots members in exchange for guaranteed positions on state executive, a few promised preselection wins down the track, and for himself maybe even the leadership or a federal Senate spot.

As a result, a cohort of the right’s senior factional operatives have also been convinced to do the same, without realising that they’re making a cataclysmic mistake.

When challenged on this complete betrayal of the will of the members (each of whom paid exorbitant fees to attend the convention in 2017 so they could enjoy the privilege of voting for the Warringah motion), the messaging from the Perrottet faction internally is as follows:

  • Warringah was never going to get through the delegates at state council (even though it had been unambiguously endorsed by the members);
  • This is still a win for the right against the left because we are getting state executive positions for our people.

This is incomprehensible political stupidity.

If we accept that the left had the numbers to vote down Warringah at Council, The right should have dared the left to do just that, exposing them as elitist anti-democrats.

Now the ‘right’ will be complicit in the whole betrayal. It has terminally compromised Perrottet and the rest of the right’s leadership. This is precisely the trap which has been set for them by Matt Kean, Trent Zimmermann and Michael Photios, who orchestrated the ‘deal’ to suit their interests.

The justification is suspect for another simple reason. If the left had the numbers and capacity to ignore Warringah and democratic reform, why would they need to have given the right these positions? Why would they need to strike a deal if ‘Warringah was never going to get through’?

The bigger question is: how the NSW Liberal Party is in a position where factional leaders from the left can smother a democratic movement by offering a handful of positions on state executive to a handful of traitors (even if some of them don’t realise the magnitude of their betrayal)?

Simple. The system is broken.

The system the members voted to do away with, is broken.

The members won democratic reform of the Liberal Party that day at Rosehill.

And what did they win democratic reform for? So that Dominic Perrottet could use it as leverage to get his hacks state executive spots? No.

The Warringah Motion has been hijacked by a few factional operatives from the right who have decided to exchange the lasting benefit of all the members for an immediate benefit to themselves. The Perrottet gang have now acquiesced to the left’s system because they’ve been told they can sit around the Big Boys Table.

What they don’t realise is that this isn’t a ‘deal’, this is a gift. A gift from the left who control the Party now and who, thanks to them, will continue to control the Party after the Warringah motion is betrayed.

Don’t the right’s erstwhile leadership realise that what the left gifts them now can just as easily be taken away? These gifts are being offered because the members, against all the odds, successfully fought for the Warringah motion – finally giving them some teeth against the elitist leftist clique

When they sell out Warringah, they will no longer be dangerous, and the left will have no reason to continue to gratuitously reward them for their treachery. The right has already suffered splits as a result of the exposure of this ‘deal’ with the left. They are already more divided and weaker than they were. Word travels fast in the Party.

So, what are the right now endorsing as they give up on Warringah (they say they will still vote for Warringah, but they intend for it to lose)? The so-called Bennelong Motion. A motion which was not endorsed at the democratic reform convention. A motion which was drafted by a left-controlled conference by left-controlled factional operatives. Its entire purpose is to lock out conservatives from parliament.

In the case of the lower house preselections, Dominic Perrottet and his operatives have acquiesced to a 25 per cent central component (25 per cent of the vote in a local preselection is determined by state executive and external state council delegates). On the face of it, this appears to be an improvement, as it is lower than the previous weighting (although John Howard has repeatedly said it should be as low as five per cent).

However, what isn’t explained is that for local ordinary branch members to vote in the preselection they will have to register with the state director. The practical reality is that older, senior branch members (which make up a huge proportion of the fee-paying base of the Party) are not as proactive when it comes to additional prerequisite steps, which often involve the internet. Either way, why should any member have to endure this additional barrier when they are financial, long-term members of the Party already? Those that will be sure to register will be the Young Liberals. God help us.

But what is really terrible about the additional registration requirement is that the 25 per cent state executive component is calculated according to the entire membership of the particular conference in question, not just 25 per cent of those who register for the preselection. So, it is foreseeable that there will be situations where there will be more state executive/state council selectors than local members if fewer members take the unnecessarily obstructive step of registering.

Beyond the elements of Bennelong which are in black and white for state council members to see, there are rumours of any number of ‘amendments’ which can be moved by the left with impunity on the floor of council, with minimal discussion. With the support of elements of the Perrottet faction bought beforehand, these are guaranteed to pass, whatever they may be.

The betrayal is foolish. The ‘gains’ are illusory. The right leadership are delusional. But worst of all, the Bennelong Motion will ensure the left’s dominance of the Liberal Party for the foreseeable future. It will be a long time before any democratic reform movement gains the momentum that Warringah did. It will take even longer considering the lethal blow to morale dealt by this betrayal.

My question to Dominic Perrottet is simple: How could you sell out democratic reform in exchange for the promise of gifts from the left? The system is broken, and members voted to reform it by the Warringah Motion. Instead of demanding its implementation you have exploited the will of the members as leverage for positions for yourself and other factional hacks, and have therefore become complicit in the system which the left faction will continue to use to dominate the Party.

It’s not too late for Mr Perrottet and those planning to deal this fatal blow to the Liberal party to change their mind.

Irrespective, for any state council delegates reading this, it is clear what needs to be done. Vote down Bennelong. Vote for Warringah.

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