Letter from JH
16th April 2021
The Hon. Robert Clark
Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division)
Level 12, 257 Collins Street
MELBOURNE VIC 3000
As I understand the Prahran AGM was underway when Mr. Owen Guest arrived, neither invited nor registered. The numbers had reached the Covid safe limits and the Chairman of the meeting, Solomon Green, explained this to Mr. Guest and firmly asked him to leave a number of times. Mr. Guest declined to do so. The police were called. What was his purpose in attending and why did he ignore the Administrative Committee’s rules on Covid safe gatherings? You may not know but Sol Green called to see the venue management the following day to apologize if the police attendance caused them embarrassment; to the contrary they were grateful he had done so as exceeding the Covid safe regulations could have imperiled their business.
Sol Green has been a loyal and faithful servant of the Liberal Party for nigh on 30 years. At every State and Federal Election he has been at the forefront of campaigning and it is difficult to think of a more committed Party member. I count Sol as a good friend of many years standing and hold him in the highest regard. Robert, I am seriously concerned that you have suspended his Party membership on the grounds that he has “been guilty of conduct gravely detrimental to the Party’s best interests etc”.
I find it disturbing that Ms. Karina Okotel who issued a so-called “dirt sheet” nominating a number of State MP’s who should be tapped on the shoulder and told to resign including the Shadow Attorney-General, Ed O’Donohue, who should step down because he was “too white and too male”. These comments were in the public domain and yet, to the best of my knowledge, the only discipline to which Ms. Okotel has been subjected to is suspension from a committee. Her conduct is without question gravely detrimental to the Party and she should have been immediately suspended if not expelled. It seems that those who are part of the “ïnner circle” are a protected species. This is an untenable situation and a disappointing stain on your leadership and that of the Administrative Committee.
I receive newsletters that are anonymous and the substance of those communications accurately convey the genuine and serious concerns of many members. It seems to me that any member who criticizes you, the Administrative Committee or actions taken risks suspension if not expulsion so it’s not surprising there is a reluctance to put any names to the communications.
Mr. Ian Quick circulated Quick News which consistently denigrated former State President Michael Kroger and members of the Administrative Committee loyal to Michael. No action was taken against Mr. Quick and yet there were grounds to do so. The Party owes Michael a debt of gratitude for his astute sale of 104 Exhibition Street for some $37 million when the valuation was between $15 – $16 million. I wonder if Mr. Guest’s efforts as Treasurer are in any way comparable to those of Mr. Kroger and his team.
Although my membership doesn’t reflect it, I first joined the Party in 1966 but due to some extremely difficult and lengthy family problems my membership lapsed. My father was one of those at the formation of the Party at Albury in December 1944. There is a photograph in Josh Frydenberg’s office of the group and my father is in the back row. An Agricultural Scientist, he wrote much of the Agricultural Policy for the Menzies Government. My ties to the Party are lifelong.
It is a very sad day when hardworking and loyal members such as Sol Green and Fred Ackerman are penalized on spurious grounds and the members of their branches and Electorate disenfranchised.
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