What the hell is this State Director up to?


What the hell is this State Director up to?

It is well known in the Victorian Division of the Liberal Party that being a State Director is a good career prospect for a future political office. The pay is exceptional as well. But something is rotten in Collins Street, with the Victorian Liberals’ State Director Sam McQuestin fumbling preselections in favour of factional dervish Ian Quick.

McQuestin has a long list of failures and questions hanging over him, going all the way back to Damien Mantach’s days in the Tasmanian Division.

Sadly for democracy, McQuestin has fumbled the ball once too often, seemingly in the favour of the miserable and angry failed MP Robert Clark.

Insights from within the party indicate that the party is on the verge of financial collapse, with obvious staff shortages, low commitments to election advertising and two successive directors of Enterprise 500 walking away leaving a yawning black hole.

The staffing situation is so dire that there are not enough staff to run events. The head of the membership department doubles as the party’s “lawyer”, while spies at Liberal HQ report that the State Director’s Executive Assistant Rochelle Ratnam is seen part time at best.

With the Senate Preselection, instead of following normal processes, the State Director just “randomly” selected people from throughout the party to attend. It is telling these random members just happened to be ineligible, not on email or otherwise likely to support Ian Quick’s preferred candidate. Coincidence? Sam will claim that there were scrutineers involved. What he failed to do was have proper scrutiny over filling up the spots of those who rejected attendance. This incompetence looks almost like corruption.

At State Council, Sam McQuestin conveniently ignored votes against Robert Clark by stating that those ballots from a part of the audience were not to be collected. He also conveniently had staff hand out ballot forms to non-delegates who were voting for Robert Clark, and when complaints were made about this obvious breach, he said nothing.

Several members reported that the process around the Hawthorn preselection was similarly done in such a way as to aid an outcome favourable for Ian Quick’s preferred candidate. If conveniently they do not receive enough returns from members, they have to run an Admin preselection. McQuestin probably does not give two hoots about anything except easing his own workload. Admin preselections are very easy when they are dictated by the Clark-Quick double-headed monster.

Again, for the Brighton preselection, McQuestin, being so worn down by all his other duties, messed up the percentage of how many additional members should attend, and forthwith got on the telephone on the morning of the day of the preselection, even while members were driving to and even arriving at the preselection, informing them that their names had now been struck off the list, and that they were no longer required to attend. Several angry members were already inside the building before they found out McQuestin had barred them. It smells like a conspiracy since those people were almost all in favour of a particular candidate.

How is it that some State Council delegates are NEVER selected while others are “randomly” selected three or four times for preselections? Have they forgotten that they are supposed to exhaust the State Council list by random selection, instead of what appears to be the system of favouring Ian Quick’s friends to key preselections?

Hyper-factional warhorse Peter Angelico and others like him have had the State Director place them on delegate lists when not selected or authorised to attend. In the case of one preselection, a diligent candidate checked and told the State Director to remove these obvious factional stacks. Questions are also being asked why candidates have to tell members to contact the State Director because they are not being informed of the opt-in option to a preselection in their own seat. Incompetence is the breeding ground for corruption.

The last thing the State Director wants is to be running is an actual by-election campaign for Kew. Short of money, time and brain cells, the State Director should quit and hand the job back to someone competent like Simon Frost.

Sam McQuestin has been racking up the Qantas frequent flyer points flying back and forth weekly between Melbourne and Tasmania. Who is footing the bill of these exorbitant travel costs? You guessed it – the Liberal Party branch members.

The State Director has also had more COVID tests than votes for Jess Wilson. That has provided more convenient excuses to stay in Tasmania and help run the pokies in his family pub. Cleaning ashtrays and wiping down tables is a lot easier than running the Victorian Division.

Something is rotten in Liberal HQ. Sam McQuestin must go. Matthew Guy wants him to go. The party members want him to go.

“What the hell is this State Director up to?” said one senior member. “This guy has the Murphy’s Law touch. He’s way out of his league, he’s being pulled apart by factional forces and he’s totally stuffing up the preselection processes. We simply have no faith in this miscreant. He should go back under the rock he came from because he can’t organise the tying of his own shoelaces.”

“I reckon Andrews and the Labor Party are laughing at us,” said a country member. “Having ‘authorised by S. McQuestin’ is like having a bad punchline to a joke.”

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