Concerned Liberals 1

JULY 2020

Dear Liberal Member,

The Victorian Liberal Party’s constitution is not a plaything. We feel the need for scrutiny to unravel some issues.

The father of modern liberal democracy, the French Baron de Montesquieu said, “To become truly great, one has to stand with people, not above them” because “The love of democracy is that of equality.” He advocated the separation of power as a check and balance against arbitrariness. In 2008 The Hon Dr David Kemp introduced reforms to progress our Party in restraining abuses of power and strengthening members’ ability to have their say.

As thinking Liberals and lovers of democracy we take umbrage with the latest document supplied by Ian Quick and Robert Clark. Our committee members have read their proposed strategy plan and our unanimous view is that fair minded Liberals must oppose it.

Some of us have known Robert Clark decades. The democratic process gave him a seat in the State Parliament. Consensus was behind his election to the position of State President. In these times when there are few meetings of the Party, he has quietly released an official document which seeks to place arbitrary power in the hands of a very privileged few. Our rights to choose representatives is the most important part of our Party membership.

We feel obligated to reach out to fellow members and urgently raise awareness. Already we were concerned that the Administrative Committee defied our local MPs and the Morrison Government. We did not want to cause any divisiveness by speaking out about the early preselections which were directly against the advice of our Federal Leadership. As Liberals we must support our local Members of Parliament: Josh Frydenberg, Dr Katie Allen, Jane Hume and the rest of the team. When all of these eminent Victorians wrote to the Party’s administration pleading with them not to politic with their preselections, they were defied. This Administration Committee led by Robert Clark, Ian Quick, Holly Byrne, Matthew Makin, Amy Johnson and Owen Guest humiliated the Federal Treasurer, Federal Cabinet Ministers and local Victorian Liberal Party members.

On top of this affront, the very same Administrative Committee is now seeking to reduce our democratic opportunity within our Party. Democracy cannot be allowed to die. The proposed plan put forward by Robert Clark lacks clarity and paves the way for abuse of power in removing Party members, candidates and changing the direction of our Party without due process. Our concern is such that we have formed a committee to discuss these seriously concerning matters with the wider Party across the State.

The philosopher Montesquieu wrote, “Power ought to serve as a check to power.” We should not forget we have power as Party members. More than ever there needs to be clear communication and action-focussed discussion. We request you share these thoughts with your branch and please pass back your legitimate concerns. For the sake of unity we ask for no scurrilous or unhelpful commentary.

Thank you to those who collected email addresses; if there are any who wish to be removed or added to our list we will oblige.

Yours sincerely,

Concerned Liberals Committee

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