Grassroots 5

FEBRUARY 2021


From the Editor
 

Grassroots is Back! Welcome to Edition 5!

Grassroots is excited to announce that our newsletter now “stand-alone”! 

As a result of a very substantial, and growing, subscriber list, Grassroots no longer requires any form of sponsorship from any individual or any organisation. 

Thanks are extended to subscribers and readers of Grassroots for your support and positive feedback! Grassroots will continue to fulfil a need in the current climate where membership engagement and communication is restricted. 

As always, subscribers to Grassroots are encouraged to email our newsletter on to others who may be interested. 

New subscribers are always welcome email: editor@grengagement.com 

Please note that the material expressed in this publication is exclusively the opinion(s) of the author(s) and their subjective views based on personal experience. Grassroots is not accusing any individual of objective legal or moral wrongdoing.

The first question that Liberal members ask of each other today, or are asked by others, is “What on earth is going on in the Victorian Division?” and “When will this ever end?” 

Media commentary regarding the demise of the Victorian Division has been extensive, critical and mostly accurate, with the most used description being the Victorian Liberals are lost in the wilderness. 

The Victorian Division has been in decline ever since State Council in May 2019. Since the election of Ian Quick as Metropolitan Male Vice President, Party members have witnessed a disaster in the Victorian Division. Ian Quick has dominated the Victorian Division where the Administrative Committee and the Secretariat have been rendered virtually inoperable. Such is his ability to destroy good governance, (mis)interpret the Constitution for his own purposes, ignore conventions, disable processes, procedures and protocols; all in his quest for total control of the Division. We are reminded of Ian Quick’s frequently used statement “If I could gain control of the Victorian Division, I could fix it up”. Well, fix it up he has! 

Unfortunately for the Victorian Division, President Robert Clark and his followers on the Administrative Committee are indebted to Ian Quick for his numbers and consequently in office they are obliged to him, while also being reliant upon him for what he/they perceive to be his invaluable “expertise”. What Ian Quick and his group on the Administrative Committee refer to as a “coalition” we (the Members) observe as a collision. 

The ongoing denial of internal Party democracy in the form of a State Council and Annual General Meeting by Clark and Quick is emblematic of their disdain for volunteer Party members and good governance. While Clark and Quick were able to use COVID-19 government regulations preventing large gatherings as their excuse for disallowing State Council and AGM for many months, following the easing of government restrictions no such excuse exists now. Currently, Clark and Quick will not allow a State Council and AGM just because they can. 

Meantime, FEC and SEC AGMs have been set down for February and March this year with no commitment to a State Council and AGM this year, or even next year. In this manner State Council delegates elected at FEC and SEC AGMs in 2019 for 2020 have been denied their right to vote at an AGM, and delegates elected in 2021, and even 2022, may also be denied the same. 

In an almost total dereliction of duty by the State President, State Director and Administrative Committee, volunteer FEC and SEC executives have been asked arrange COVID-compliant AGMs across the State. 

Party members attending FEC AGMs and SEC AGMs are encouraged to exercise their vote judiciously when voting for delegate positions to State Council and State Assembly. Members are encouraged to ask fellow members nominating for such positions as to where they stand regarding the direction of the Victorian Division i.e., more of the same under Clark and Quick, or a return to decency, good governance and an unwavering focus on winning the coming federal and state elections. Over to you! 

If ever volunteer Party Members wanted a measure of the complete and utter demise of the Victorian Division, then Friday night’s State Assembly was it. To begin with, the State Leader was a no-show. Following almost a year of lockdowns and no Party events, delegates were dismayed that the Party Leader did not turn up. The original agenda for the meeting did not follow Standing Orders for State Assembly and when challenged on three occasions was eventually reordered. The agenda included a motion (subsequently withdrawn) that Mr Peter Adamis be found guilty of conduct gravely detrimental to the best interests of the Party due to his circulation of emails deemed by the Administrative Committee to be defaming etc of Party members. Never mind a renowned member of the Administrative Committee could be accused of not dissimilar communication in his many editions of Quick Liberal News. The agenda also included a motion from the Steering Committee seeking to amend State Assembly Standing Orders reducing the time allowed for questions thus gagging debate on motions. When reporting on Party activities over the last year, the State President made mention of the successful work of the Party’s Local Government Committee on the 2020 Local Government elections. However, when acknowledging the work of individuals, he omitted to mention the seminal work of the Local Government Council Chairman, Cynthia Watson! On behalf of Party Members Grassroots says thank you Cynthia! When asked to quantify the amount spent on the KordaMentha forensic membership audit, the State President replied that he would ask the Administrative Committee to make a determination as to whether such information can be provided to State Assembly. 

Contributions to Grassroots, including articles and letters to the editor, are sought from subscribers and readers email: editor@grengagement.com 

Grassroots always welcomes feedback from subscribers and readers. We have received a small number of questions as to why some articles in our newsletter are published anonymously. It has been our experience that the authors of articles sometimes receive inappropriate, even intimidating, correspondence from a small number of Party members. Hence, the decision to publish some articles anonymously, particularly by request of the author. 

In conclusion, Grassroots is reminded of two somewhat hackneyed phrases in political circles, both of which are applicable to the Victorian Division today: 

  • a party that cannot govern itself cannot be trusted to govern the state/country and 
  • a party that talks about itself all the time will never be elected to office

– Editor

Australia’s COVID-19 Vaccine Information Campaign

by The Hon. Greg Hunt MP
Minister for Health and Aged Care
Federal Member for Flinders

The Australian Government’s $23.9 million public information campaign to encourage Australians to get a COVID-19 vaccine began on 27 January. 

The campaign will keep Australians fully informed and up to date about the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines as they become available, including when, how and where to get the jab. 

This follows Australia’s first COVID-19 vaccine approval by the Therapeutic Goods Administration – for the Pfizer vaccine. 

From the start of the pandemic, the COVID-19 campaign has been a trusted source of information for the community. The new vaccine campaign will build on this, providing timely, transparent and credible information to all Australians. 

The new campaign will be in three phases: 

  • Reaffirm that COVID-19 vaccines have been put through our world-leading independent approvals process, ensuring both the safety and efficacy of our vaccine candidates 
  • Provide information on how the vaccine will be rolled out, particularly to priority groups, and dosage requirements. 
  • Inform people about how and where to get vaccinated, dosage requirements, and support vaccine uptake. 

The roll-out will begin by providing protection to those who need it most – the elderly and disabled, and frontline workers who are tirelessly working to save lives and protect lives. 

The information in this campaign, based on expert, and independent, medical advice, will help answer the questions people may have. 

The campaign will run across a variety of mediums, including television, radio, press, digital, social, mobile, search and out of home. 

To ensure the campaign reaches all Australians, special committees representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, people with a disability and the multicultural community are informing the communication approach, ensuring communications are appropriate and disseminated through the best communication channels to these communities. 

Australia is a vaccination nation – we have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. Australians understand that vaccines work. They save lives. They improve lives. They protect lives. 

I am confident, given Australia’s high vaccination coverage rates that Australians will take up a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine in equally high numbers. 

This campaign will help every Australian to understand how the vaccine works and how it will keep them and their family safe.

Democracy Must Be Restored

Senator David Van
Senator for Victoria
Former Chairman of Macnamana FEC                                     

Macnamara has, for a long time, been a largely non-factional FEC, at least from a leadership perspective. Where the possibility of providing a seat in Canberra is low, the incentive to control numbers is equally low. Recent years have seen factionalism creep into Macnamara. Increased hope of turning our seat blue and the heightened division within the Victorian Liberal’s senior committees has incentivised local factions. 

As Chairs, we have had attempted to limit the impact and influence of internal division. We’ve supported candidates at Preselection Conferences and State Councils from both sides of the divide, including a vote (from the current Chairman) for Robert Clark in 2019. However, when (if) we’re able to vote at State Council, there will be no choice but to vote for a change in leadership. 

Imagine, for a moment, that 2020 was an election year for Victoria. Daniel Andrews stands in front of a socially distanced media gallery wearing a fleece North Face jacket. He announces that, due to COVID restrictions, the election would not take place. He goes on to say that Labor would remain in Government for another four years. He argues that, due to COVID, it is simply not possible to have an election. 

The community would be rightly outraged. 

This is the scenario currently facing the Victorian Liberal Party. Robert Clark and his factional allies on the Administrative Committee have used a self-serving interpretation of the Constitution and State Council Standing Orders to abandon our Party’s governance. While there is no doubt that their interpretation has some legal merit, the major flaw in their argument is that the semantics of the language within State Council’s Standing Orders are more important than the governance structure and democracy of our Party. 

This conclusion is simply farcical. 

The State Council delegation that was elected to sit in 2020 will not be granted its fundamental right to elect the Administrative Committee and other office bearers of the Liberal Party. The idea that it is not constitutionally or logistically feasible to have a State Council without all delegates being in the same place is nonsense. In extraordinary times, extraordinary measures are entirely appropriate. 

If the authors of the Constitution and State Council Standing Orders were presented the COVID scenario, no doubt they would have made allowances for it. The reality is, however, that 2020 was not only unprecedented in our lifetimes, but it was also unimaginable for the reasonable person. 

Faced with similar technical and administrative challenges during the various forms of COVID restrictions, we’ve seen company AGMs successfully take place. The RACV has continued to honour its governance process, as did the VRC, and the MCC was able to hold an AGM. There has even been a state election in Queensland and a by-election in Eden Monaro! The State Council of the Liberal Party of Victoria is not a more challenging prospect than any one of these. 

The Administrative Committee have sought to hold preselections but won’t hold a State council; you can’t pick and choose which part of our great party’s democratic features you want to honour and those you don’t. They are all sacred to members. 

While a delay to State Council was a necessary compromise, the time should have been used to implement the necessary measures to run a virtual, remote or hybrid AGM. The abandonment of the 2020 State Council is an act of tyranny by an Administrative Committee who are desperate to cling to their power. 

Allowing the Electorate Conference AGMs to elect a new delegation to replace the 2020 State Council is an act of vandalism on our democratic foundations that cannot be accepted. It is incumbent on all members to attend their AGMs and vote for State Council Delegates who will reject the current administration when they finally allow State Council to take place. 

Anyone who treats our Party’s democracy with such utter contempt has no place in its leadership.

The Clark-Quick Cabal

Author’s Names Withheld by Request

Friends,

It has been a long two years for the Victorian Division with no end in sight, and the infamy of the Clark-Quick cabal is a sad and sorry tale of abuses of power through multiple breaches of the Constitution, secrecy, financial incompetence, and factionally driven attacks on members. 

The bureaucratic thuggery and despotic power at all costs has cost the Victorian Division dearly. 

We stand deeply divided! 

The Clark-Quick led power cabal within the Administrative Committee, has been in control for 2 years and has seen the Coalition lose 5 (of 5) State polls and on a two-party-preferred range of 41.5% Liberal-National Coalition to 58.5% Labor, we would see the Coalition lose Narracan, Malvern, Bulleen, Rowville, Mildura, Polwarth, Mornington, Kew, Warrandyte, Evelyn, Eildon, South-West Coast, Croydon, Ferntree Gully, Forest Hill, Brighton, Hastings, Gembrook, Sandringham, Caulfield and Ripon, leaving the Coalition with 7 State Lower House MPs, being 6 Nationals and one solitary Liberal member, Bill Tilley, in Benambra. 

During this time Clark has also delivered the second-worst federal primary vote in the history of the Victorian Division, losing two lower house seats at the 2019 federal election and reducing the Division to just 12 Lower House members. The Federal Government was miraculously returned after Tasmania and Queensland gained 2 seats each to compensate for the Victorian Division’s miserable performance. 

Below is the “Horrible History” of the Clark-Quick cabal since their rise to power: 

1. Clark-Quick engage an expensive head-hunting consultancy to conduct a worldwide search for a new State Director, only to hire the Tasmanian Division’s State Director from just across Bass Strait on a FIFO (Fly-in-fly-out) basis. 

2. Within one month of being elected Clark-Quick authorize the unconstitutional pre-selection of the 3rd Senate spot for the 2019 federal election. The entire Division of 9,500+ Party members denied their constitutional right to choose pre-selectors to the convention, and 120 State Council delegates denied their constitutional right to be balloted into the Convention. 

3. Clark-Quick chose hopelessly incompetent factional allies (Okotel and Hutchinson) to administer the vetting process of the disastrous and brand-damaging pre-selection of candidates for the 2019 Federal election, with seven candidates withdrawing or being dis-endorsed. 

4. Clark-Quick cabal authorize a $15-30K legal investigation into newspaper articles based on archived text messages only to reject the legal advice that they themselves commissioned. 

5. Clark-Quick recommended that 4 Party members be suspended before withdrawing 3 of the motions the night before the vote; the fourth motion was lost. 

6. Amid much fanfare, Clark-Quick adopted the Liberal Party of Australia National Code of Conduct only to summarily dismiss, along factional lines, any official complaints lodged by Party Members alleging serious breaches of the Code. 

7. Jaw-dropping financial incompetence of Clark-Quick-Guest who failed to promptly invest the $37M from the sale of 104, dragging their knuckle for over 12 months, including engaging an expensive consultancy the recommendations of which were subsequently ignored, and costing the Victorian Division millions of dollars in interest and/or dividends. 

8. The shameful Quick driven (supported by Clark) early federal pre-selections caused major uproar in the Division and in the PM’s Office. Clark-Quick rebuffs the Prime Minister, and rejects the Federal Deputy Leader/Treasurer, and the entire Victorian federal team by dismissing a letter signed by all 17 Victorian sitting federal MPs to hold pre-selections at a more appropriate time, and recklessly opened pre-selections just 8 months after the miraculous 2019 federal election victory. 

9. Clark-Quick, driven by long-standing factional interests, arrogantly hijacks the entire Victorian Division apparatus to knife fellow conservative and Party veteran, Kevin Andrews MP, Member for Menzies, alongside whom Clark served in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne for 3 decades. 

10. Clark-Quick committed the Victorian Division to a financially irresponsible 10-year lease of new premises at $500K per year; some $5M in total with nothing to show at the end, having paid handsomely for an expensive expert office accommodation consultancy whose report was subsequently ignored, and a “faux” consultation with the membership. 

11. Despotically breached the Constitution by denying not 1 but 3 requisitions from volunteer members to hold a special state council, defying express provisions in the Victorian Division’s constitution. 

12. Mothballed the Victorian Division and suspended democracy under the umbrella of COVID-19 government restrictions by refusing to hold a Virtual State Council. This is just another demonstration of how “out of step” the Clark-Quick administration is with the real-world adaptations to the pandemic. 

13. Clark relied upon The Age/60 Minutes so-called “branch-stacking” expose’ to launch a membership investigation by KordaMentha, referring to “evidence” (Clark’s word) provided by The Age/60 Minutes in a most inflammatory manner when no such evidence was ever provided by The Age/60 Minutes. 

14. Authorized an alleged $100K+ of members money to fund an independent forensic investigation by KordaMentha, into various alleged activities of members which may have breached the constitution and a 2+ year-old document that appears to have been authored by one person. Despite the large but secret sum of money which has been spent on the investigation, Clark has declared that determination of guilt or innocence is not the role of the independent investigator; it is the role of the Administrative Committee. It looks like the investigation is not so independent and “arms-length” after all, and factional warfare will be conducted by the Clark-Quick power cabal within Administrative Committee under the “catch all” and highly subjective phrase of “gravely detrimental to the Party”. 

15. Clark-Quick’s KordaMentha membership investigation while producing a small number of breaches fails to finger the members and former members targeted. Clark-Quick and Johnson subsequently allege that the former members targeted by their factionally driven investigation are indeed guilty anyway by virtue of the fact that they had resigned their Party membership. KordaMentha made no such determination. The former members so fingered cooperated fully with the KordaMentha membership investigation. 

16. Clark-Quick and their cabal at best fail to support two federal MPs dragged into The Age/60 Minutes branch-stacking expose’. At worst Clark-Quick and their cabal colluded with The Age/60 Minutes expose’. Both federal MPs requested a Federal Department of Finance review and were subsequently cleared. 

17. Clark-Quick not satisfied with their failed foray to destroy sitting Liberal Federal MPs over alleged branch-stacking (The Age/60 Minutes), allegedly attempt to link the Federal Deputy Leader/Treasurer and Federal Health Minister to the Casey land deals scandal. 

18. Frequent “Pravda” style factionally driven, demeaning, sermonising and ungracious communication from Clark has become the order of the day. 

19. Breathtaking and arrogant attack of free speech by Clark within the Party by forbidding “unsolicited communication”. Ironic given that Quick, prior to being enthroned on the Administrative Committee, was the author of many “Quickie Newsletters” that lambasted members of the previous administration including Past President Michael Kroger. And more recently the derisive missive authored by Female Country VP Amy Johnson. (Re-published elsewhere in Grassroots) 

In summary: 

1. Victorian Division has been taken over by the Clark-Quick cabal under the cover of COVID-19 

2. Breath-taking and highly consequential constitutional breaches 

3. Large scale incompetence 

4. An utterly disenfranchised volunteer membership 

5. A full-scale onslaught on the membership and selected Federal MPs 

6. Treachery of a magnitude never experienced or imagined 

7. Thousands upon millions of dollars squandered 

8. A catastrophic position in the polls, staring potentially at minority state coalition partnership in 2022 and one lower house state MP.

Exposing the Age/60mins Expose

Author’s Name Withheld by Request

The Age/60 Minutes expose had its beginnings in a list of about 350 Party members that a newly elected (May 2019) member of the Administrative Committee had compiled over several years. The individual concerned believed that the members on his list were illegitimately stacked into the Party by supporters of Past President Michael Kroger, and/or “unsuitable” to be Party members, and should be investigated with the view to expelling them. It has been alleged that the individual presented his list to the newly appointed State Director seeking action but to no avail. 

Meantime, it is alleged a former Party Vice President of the Mantach era, hatched a plan to publicly expose and shame supporters of Past President Michael Kroger over alleged large-scale branch stacking. 

The stacked members would be exposed and in turn expelled from the Party having the added benefit of reducing the Kroger group’s numbers and vote at FEC AGMs, SEC AGM’s, State Council and pre-selections. Under the former VP’s plan Kroger and his group would in turn be for ever tarnished. 

Leveraging off the earlier 60 Minutes Labor branch stacking expose’, the former VP approached The Age / 60 Minutes with his own Liberal branch stacking story. The Age / 60 Minutes keen to square the Labor / Liberal ledger embraced the idea. From the outset, the Liberal alleged branch-stacking story was never going to be as sensational as the Labor one, where it was found that about 17,000 members had been stacked into the Victorian Branch of the Labor Party, many of whom had their membership fees paid by third parties. However, The Age / 60 Minutes could see possibilities for the Liberal branch-stacking story and proceeded. 

As readers of Grassroots will recall, The Age / 60 Minutes Liberal expose’ consisted of wild, unfounded and unsubstantiated allegations of branch-stacking by individuals and some spurious allegations of dubious employment practices in two Victorian federal MPs electorate offices. The expose’ largely relied upon a Party member going on camera where he made bizarre assertions concerning the processing of an application for Party membership at the local level. (The interviewee was subsequently issued with a “please explain” by the State Director) Unfortunately, a former Party President / Parliamentary Party Leader / Victorian Premier also featured in the expose’ where he was used, probably unwittingly, in an attempt by the instigators and producers of the expose’ to add some credibility to the exercise. The former Premier concerned was not admonished by the Party. 

The 60 Minutes expose’ turned out to be more theatre than fact and as such was a piece of very poor journalism; even by 60 Minutes standards. The expose’ relied upon supposition, innuendo, dramatization, re-enactments and a smattering of excerpts of intemperate language by a former Party member, to paint a picture of wide-spread branch-stacking. 

Following the airing of the 60 Minutes expose’ the Clark-Quick cabal on the Administrative Committee decided to investigate the “evidence” (as Clark called it) of branch-stacking and related activities as featured in the program. To this end, innumerable special meetings of the Administrative Committee were convened, culminating in the decision to engage KordaMentha to conduct a forensic membership audit of the Victorian Division. The member of the Administrative Committee with the list of 350 members he wanted investigated had thus achieved the first part of his mission. 

Unfortunately, and embarrassingly for the Clark-Quick cabal, the KordaMentha forensic membership investigation did not produce the treasure-trove of stacked members that they dreamed of. To the contrary; KordaMentha only found 170 memberships (not several thousand as speculated) where it appears that the membership fee had been paid with another person’s credit card. While the total number of memberships involved (170) has been disclosed, details regarding the number of such memberships by year remains undisclosed. Thus, the figure of 170 may indeed relate to many fewer individual members encompassing more than one year. 

Of note, the only perpetrator of extensive branch-stacking turned out to be the Chairman of Maribyrnong FEC; whom KordaMentha identified as being directly responsible for stacking about 25 members into Maribyrnong FEC and Essendon SEC, for whom he has paid for using his own credit card. Maribyrnong FEC and Essendon SEC members have been aware of the Maribyrnong FEC Chairman’s branch-stacking activities for more than one year, and had previously reported the same to the Secretariat and Party President to no avail. Meanwhile, Maribyrnong FEC and Essendon SEC members have good reason to believe that the Maribyrnong FEC Chairman’s branch stacking as uncovered by KordaMentha is just the tip of the iceberg. Indeed, the Maribyrnong FEC Chairman’s branch-stacking activities extend beyond Maribyrnong FEC and Essendon SEC to include much of the North and the West. 

Having received the underwhelming KordaMentha forensic membership audit report Clark-Quick and their cabal, and most notably Vice President Amy Johnson, have endeavoured to spin the outcomes to be more scandalous as best they can but with little real success. Referring to the small number of memberships paid for by other persons, and a small number of other irregularities discovered, Clark-Quick and Johnson have insinuated that the scope of the audit, and subsequent actions that could be taken, have been limited by some members resigning their membership prior to the audit. This is spinning out of control. Indeed, the former Party members to whom they refer fully cooperated with the KordaMentha membership audit. 

Now to the fallout from The Age / 60 Minutes branch-stacking expose’ and subsequent KordaMentha forensic membership audit: 

· Some memberships have been cancelled without good communication and sometimes without cause via ham-fisted management practices 

· The Victorian Division has suffered untold reputational damage as a result of The Age / 60 Minutes branch-stacking expose’ 

· The Victorian Division has suffered/is suffering further reputational damage as a result of extensive and on-going negative media coverage (some of which has been briefed and leaked by the Clark-Quick cabal) concerning alleged branch-stacking 

· Three senior Victorian Liberal federal MPs, although cleared by a Federal Department of Finance review, have experienced reputational damage 

· The forensic membership audit has consumed the Victorian Division for many months during which time the business of the Division (winning elections) has been seriously curtailed 

· The membership has lost confidence in the ability of the Clark-Quick cabal to govern the Division 

As it turns out, the KordaMentha forensic audit of the Victorian Division’s membership did not discover anything that a fit-for-purpose professional in-house membership branch could not have discovered and managed. It is alleged that the actual audit cost about $100,000 What a waste! 

Partway through the membership audit, the Administrative Committee referred the on-going investigation of Karina Okotel’s so-called hit list of sitting state MPs to KordaMentha for examination, report and recommendation. This matter remains on-going.

KordaMentha Investigation Update

by The Editor

The following text message was recently sent to Party members by Vice President, Amy Johnson and is reprinted here in the interests of fullness of information. 

“By now you have read or heard about some of the outcomes of the independent KordaMentha (KM) Report. In what would make the media section of the North Korean regime proud, the wreckers, led by Michael Kroger, have already commenced to spin the outcomes, dishonestly claiming certain people have been cleared because no findings against them (because they quit the party already), trying to shift the blame from themselves to Robert Clark & his team – projecting their failures & behaviour of their allies onto the very people trying to clean up the Party. 

Let’s be clear: 

1. During Michael Kroger’s Presidency there was a break down in ethical governance. This includes activities such as branch stacking, mass payment of people’s memberships, a compromised secretariat, a compromised membership list, and mass transferring of members between electorate conferences to directly impact AGM outcomes and state council delegates. 

2. The Party has cancelled the memberships of 170 members, who in breach of the constitution had their memberships paid for & renewed through unknown credit cards used for multiple memberships. There are more to be investigated. 

3. These memberships were paid for by their faction for the sole purpose of replacing legitimate Liberals (like you) with newly recruited stacks. 

4. The vile comments heard in 60 Minutes and other media speak for themselves, including racially offensive conversations and attempts to gain power by any means possible. 

5. The activities, led by Marcus Bastiaan, included emails directing the employment of operatives into the secretariat occurred. Such blatant factionalisation of the secretariat staff has never occurred like that before. 

6. Integrity of our membership is without doubt our most treasured asset and it was compromised. The KM report found systemic abuse of the membership system & data assisting in open stacking & manipulation of AGMs & Pre-selections. 

7. One of the secretariat employees accessing the system more than 900 times in a single year (5 times that of the next highest) went on to work for a Federal MP & continued to access the membership system. For what reason? You decide. 

8. ALWAYS REMEMBER, when they last had power they cancelled the 2018 Federal pre-selections & implemented Admin Pre-selections where they could undemocratically preselect close allies.

9. Over the coming days we ask that you MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD, to our Members of Parliament both Federal & State – we must demand our parliamentary teams hold these wreckers accountable & those MPs that supported them to cease doing so immediately. 

WHY does all this matter? 

It is no coincidence that in the period this all occurred (2018) we saw party democracy trashed and the shocking result of the 2018 state election – a price every Victorian paid for with the re-election of Dan Andrews. 

We must never again let the blatant lust for power stand in the way of good governance, integrity of the membership, and party democracy. 

Thank you”

– End of Amy’s Message. –

Local Government Elections 2020 What Did We Achieve?

by Cr Cynthia Watson
President, Local Government Council,
Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division) 

The LG2020 elections, held on October 24, 2020, would see 617 Councillors elected in 76 Councils with the exception of South Gippsland, Casey and Whittlesea who are currently under Administration until 2022 and 2024 respectively. 

The Local Government Council Campaign Strategy was built on four keys to success 

Find 200 Candidates – 200+ Liberals nominated as candidates in LG2020. 

Empower through Training – 165+ Liberals attended Future Councillors Training 

Provide Resources (Campaign Toolkit) 

Candidate support (Letterboxing Army, Future Councillors Facebook group) 

What did we achieve? 

· The increase in liberal women elected is a real success story with the number of women elected to Council increased significantly from 12 in 2016 to 21 in 2020. Liberal women elected to Local Government stands at 32% which far exceeds the number and percentage of Liberal women elected to State and Federal parliament being 19% and 14% respectively. 

  • 22% increase in the number of Liberal Councillors with a total of 65 elected. 
  • Liberal Councillors elected in 38 of 76 Councils. (up by 6 from 2016) 
  • 1 Council with a Liberal majority (Whitehorse) 
  • 6 Councils where the number of Liberal Councillors increased 
  • 8 Councils that have Liberal Councillors for the first time. 
  • 27 new Councillors join incumbents re-elected 
  • 75% Liberal incumbents re-elected 

Given the extraordinary difficulties faced by LG2020 candidates in complying with Stage 4 Covid19 campaigning restrictions, along with well-funded and well-resourced candidates from both major and minor political parties, the net increase in the number of Liberal Councillors now serving the people of Victoria is an achievement for the candidates and the enthusiastic team of volunteers who worked to support all Liberal candidates.

Grassroots Intel

  • The Canadian Liberal Party model, whereby most of the provinces relate directly to the federal body, as opposed to the Australian Liberal Party divisional model, is allegedly under active discussion. If implemented, this would see the Victorian Division stripped of all control and responsibilities relating to Victorian federal MPs and left with the state MPS only. This is allegedly as a direct consequence of underperformance by the Victorian Division at successive federal elections, the irretrievably broken relationship with the Victorian federal team, particularly regarding early federal preselections during the current cycle, leaking and briefing against several federal MPs, general hostility towards several federal MPs, and a sense that the Victorian Administrative Committee is allegedly not committed to or prepared for the next federal election late 2021 or early 2022. 
     
  • The Victorian division of the Liberal Party is allegedly being run by Ian Quick on a day-to-day basis, together with Russell Joseph. 
     
  • Following 18 months of Quick as Metropolitan Male VP, the secretariat personnel have allegedly had more than enough of his megalomanic behaviour within the Party and particularly within the secretariat, to such an extent that some have resigned. 
     
  • Quick has a history of wrecking volunteer organisations of which he is a member/executive, including, allegedly, Save Our Suburbs (Vic) of which he was president. On present indications and left unchecked it is only a matter of time before he completely wrecks the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party. 
     
  • In his capacity as Metropolitan Male VP, Ian Quick will be attending as many FEC and SEC AGMs as possible, along with his trusty laptop, where he will input the attendees, calculate the quota needed to elect delegates to State Council and State Assembly and distribute how-to-vote cards electronically, thus maximising the vote for the Clark-Quick cabal thus ensuring their continued control of the Division. All legal but immoral. 
     
  • The Clark-Quick cabal has been running a series of invitation-only exclusive functions that they call “Democracy Drinks” (a misnomer if ever there was one!) where guest speakers have included Ted Baillieu. Members may like to contact Democracy Drinks Committee Member and Organiser Michael Rixon asking to be included on the invitation list for future Democracy Drinks events. Email: mrixon95@gmail.com Mobile: 0424 766 201 Alternatively contact State President Robert Clark or Vice President Ian Quick. 
     
  • Readers of Grassroots will no doubt have recently seen various untrue and unhelpful newspaper reports (alleged branch stacking and/or alleged questionable connections with dodgy land developers) concerning three senior Victorian federal MPs. It has been alleged that the Clark-Quick cabal has been leaking and briefing against the senior Victorian federal MPs. 
     
  • An up-and-coming Liberal powerbroker in the South East (calling himself the new Michael Kroger) has allegedly been running a large-scale professional call centre out of his business board room calling members on behalf of the Clark-Quick cabal. Likely targets include preselection delegates and State Assembly delegates. 
     
  • The Clark-Quick cabal allegedly have a new Constitution ready for the next State Council / AGM (202?) whereby all functions and responsibilities of State Council, except policy motions, will be transferred to the Administrative Committee. Quick’s five-year dream come true! 
     
  • Grassroots hears that FIFO State Director Sam McQuestion is allegedly questioning his decision to accept the position of Victorian State Director and is rumoured to be dusting off his resume in preparation to jump ship. Look out for the customary LinkedIn post “Seeking New Opportunities” for Sam. 
     
  • Such is the distain that the Clark-Quick cabal has for the Victorian federal MPs that they allegedly have a hit list of Members that they wish to see dis-endorsed, including three cabinet members. The Cabal has allegedly already identified replacements for such dis-endorsed MPs. 
     
  • The Clark-Quick cabal also allegedly have a list of State MPs that they wish to see removed/dis-endorsed and a corresponding list of replacements, including some favoured members of their cabal. 
     
  • Clark-Quick-McQuestin’s email inboxes are allegedly overflowing with Party members’ questions/concerns/frustrations/anger regarding no State Council and AGM (2020, 2021, 2022) and the inappropriateness of the Administrative Committee proceeding to 2021 SEC AGMs and FEC AGMs with no commitment to a State Council ever. And more recently, responsibility for conducting COVID-safe SEC AGMs and FEC AGMs delegated to local volunteer members without any guidance or support from the Administrative Committee or Secretariat whatsoever. The mood amongst the membership has been described as palpable! 
     
  • Recent meetings of the Administrative Committee have allegedly become so mired in factional brawling (the main voices being Quick and Joseph) that no business of any consequence, let alone directed at winning the next federal election or state election, has been able to be achieved. Indeed, nothing at all has been done regarding the federal election which could be held late this year. 
     
  • The Age / 60 Minutes expose’ and the subsequent KordaMentha forensic membership audit has allegedly led to much embarrassment and bad will in some multicultural communities. In the first instance, reporters harassed Liberal Party members within a particular community seeking comment regarding alleged branch-stacking activities by a so-called powerbroker. Subsequently, the particular power broker having his activities exposed, attempted to deflect the media enquiries to another multicultural community. 
     
  • Executives within the organisation engaged by Clark-Quick to conduct the forensic membership audit, KordaMentha, allegedly have personal connections within the Party Secretariat and within the Parliamentary Liberal Party. 
     
  • Allegedly, the Administrative Committee has resolved not to disclose the full cost of the KordaMentha forensic membership audit, (thought to be up to $100,000) to Party members, or even to members of the Administrative Committee. The justification being that the amount so disclosed may be published in the media thus causing the Party reputational damage. 
     
  • The State Director, when asked recently how much of his time has been/is being taken up with the fallout from the KordaMentha membership witch-hunt, allegedly replied about 50%. 
     
  • The up-and-coming Liberal powerbroker in the South-East has allegedly established a “Business Union” whereby trading off the Liberal brand he recruits paying members to the “Liberal-styled” Union, promising them access to Liberal Party MPs, including via paid attendance at his Union events. Accumulated funds are allegedly distributed at the discretion of the up-and-coming powerbroker. 
     
  • The star witness of The Age / 60 Minutes so called branch-stacking expose’, and recently elected Mornington Shire Councillor “Stevie the Snitch”, allegedly can be found around the Mornington Shire Council Offices, and at Council meetings with his promoter/minder/adviser, the up-and-coming power broker of the South East, in tow. 
     
  • The State Leader, when asked about the Member for Western Metropolitan Region’s latest brain-fade concerning what appeared to be the Member’s support for post-election unrest in the US, allegedly replied that the Member can say what ever he likes.

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