Victorian Liberals claims reported in The Age
Liberal Party leaders and officials are requesting the Prime Minister and the federal executive to intervene in treachery in the Victorian Liberal Party after Ian Quick’s moderate faction has been exposed for leaking negative stories about federal Health Minister Greg Hunt and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg to The Age, the Herald Sun and The Australian.
Victorian Liberal Party president Robert Clark denies orchestrating leaks against Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, though Clark’s factional boss, vice-president Ian Quick, has declined to explain his controversial communications except by way of giving a private interview to The Age.
A number of important details about Liberal Party state president Robert Clark and vice-president Ian Quick appeared in a popular Liberal newsletter, Grassroots, which has outlined evidence the men were responsible for smears against the two federal ministers.
Current president, Mr Clark, who will likely face a challenger for the presidency from the conservative wing of the party later this year, was accused in the newsletter of “treachery” and “arrogantly hijack[ing]” the party to knife long-serving conservative MP Kevin Andrews, who recently lost preselection to lawyer and former Army officer Keith Wolahan.
Mr Clark and Mr Quick have attempted to deny the claims contained in the Grassroots newsletter. Mr Quick has written a letter which he leaked to The Age, stating in The Age that he also intended to complain to Prime Minister Scott Morrison about Federal minister blowback for Mr Quick’s own inflammatory accusations against federal MPs.
The party “moderate” faction that includes Mr Clark and Mr Quick holds a slim majority of the Victorian Liberal Party is in an ongoing feud with the conservative faction, including the Treasurer and Health Minister along with Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar, former president Michael Kroger and some Victorian State MPs.
Mr Quick has further leaked to The Age his intentions to take legal action against various Federal MPs and authors of the Grassroots informative newsletter, which threatens to drag the party into a messy and humiliating war.
Mr Quick wrote a letter to the party’s administrative committee, arguing that his actions did not constitute defamation, but rather attempted to accuse others of making anonymous comments against him.
Consequently, Mr Quick’s leaking to The Age has seen leading party members formally write to the state director Sam McQuestin identifying several breaches of party rules, including Mr Quick’s unusual step of leaking to The Age where the newspaper identified him as their source.
The Age quoted Mr Quick’s comments to them including explaining that, “A number of party members have written articles specifically for Grassroots.”
Mr Quick is also reported to have told The Age journalists that he said he was considering asking Mr Morrison to intervene and potentially sanction those involved. He called on Mr Hunt and other MPs to explain their role, if any, in Grassroots.
“I am currently considering … sending a letter to the Prime Minister requesting him to do something about the behaviour of some Victorian Federal MPs,” Mr Quick wrote in a document he showed The Age.
Mr Quick indicated he wished to threaten the MPs and claimed they could be sanctioned for being involved in a party newsletter that was not sanctioned by Mr Quick’s committee.