Sam McQuestin fails the pub test
Victorian Liberal State Director Sam McQuestin received Job Keeper payments during 2020-21 while working at his family hospitality business in Launceston.
Mr McQuestin, who is on a quarter million dollar salary, has been called out for doing little to prepare for preselections or plan for upcoming Federal and State campaigns during lockdowns in 2020 and 2021.
During these lockdowns Mr McQuestin has stayed at his family home in Tasmania and worked in his family-owned hotel in Launceston while receiving the Job Keeper payments.
Previously Mr McQuestin was the State Director for Tasmania where he helped cover up Damien Mantach’s fraud there. Mr Mantach at that time was caught stealing $48,000 from the Tasmanian Liberal Party.
Mr McQuestin did nothing to warn the party in Victoria, which consequently had up to $4.5m stolen and redirected elsewhere under Damien Mantach. Funds from Mr Mantach’s fraud went to purchasing a café in Queenscliff, a property in Ocean Grove, services and entertainment at Crown Casino and a personal investment portfolio.
The benefits that Mr McQuestin has reaped from the Liberal Party at the expense of campaign funds, and unethically claiming Job Keeper which had further burdened Josh Frydenberg’s budget, is significant.
Members should demand that Mr McQuestin do the right thing and step down.
At the same time the State President, Robert Clark, has been strangely quiet about Mr McQuestin’s activities. If Mr Clark claims to be ignorant, then he has not governed the party well. But if Mr Clark is knowledgeable, then he is in fact complicit with Mr McQuestin’s unethical behaviour.
Under Robert Clark and Sam McQuestin the party has eaten significantly into the funds gained from the sale of the 104 Exhibition St building. They have failed to secure fundraising sources and have essentially bankrupted Enterprise Victoria. They have continually downsized staffing and operations at Central Headquarters which again has further hampered Victoria’s campaign readiness. The coffers have run dry.
Numerous witnesses have reported that Robert Clark and Ian Quick have pursued a policy of distracting the State Director with instructions to investigate several members and have spent significant resources attempting to deal with a website which has exposed their factional activities rather than allow Mr McQuestin to prepare for the upcoming Federal Election.
It is well known in the party that Mr Clark’s group has been in a destructive factional battle with numerous Federal MPs, and have attempted to draw several onto their side, and have made a clear decision to deliberately sabotage the Federal Campaign largely in the same way in which Ian Quick attempted to sabotage the State Election in 2018.
Mr McQuestin is caught in the middle of this, and while benefiting from large financial incentives, has not met key election readiness criteria for both the upcoming elections within the next thirteen months. Under his directorship, strife and bitterness have fermented within the Victorian Division.
“Matthew Guy does not have confidence in the current State Director,” a senior source confirmed. “He will be replaced. One could think of several names of competent people including Scott Pierce, Nick Demiris, Caroline Inge and Andrea Coote.”