Federal Executive of the Liberal Party of Australia

Since Federation, Australia has been a world leader in democratic values and the Liberal Party has been the champion of that proud tradition. The internal procedures of the NSW Division of the Liberal Party however make it the least democratic mainstream political organisation in Australia. This has fostered a culture of ‘hyperfactionalism’ which is not unrelated to the string of senior party figures appearing before ICAC recently.

NSW Liberal Party members and our supporters are tired of factions exploiting our party. Very few members of our party have a say in who our candidates for parliament are because the factions dominate this most critical process. We are expected to donate time and money but our judgement on who our candidates are is not welcome. We owe it to Australia to have a process of candidate selection that will deliver to our parliaments the best possible representatives to govern our state and nation.

We believe the optimal candidate selection process is to give every member of the party in a lower house seat a vote for who our candidate will be in that seat. This reform has been successfully introduced in every other state division of the Liberal Party bar one. It’s the simple and fundamental democratic ideal of one member, one vote, one value.

In November 2013 the Prime Minister and the then Premier of NSW appointed John Howard to chair an “Expert Panel” to propose and enact democratic reform “by the third quarter of 2014.” Mr Howard and his Panel have completed their report but our lobbyist dominated State Executive has deferred its consideration until after the state election. This is just one more episode in the policy of permanent delay by the factions who are uncompromisingly against any democratic reform. This is the last straw. Delay is no longer acceptable.

Our great founder, Sir Robert Menzies once described the Liberal Party organisation as a ‘democracy within a democracy.’ We are determined to reform our party to live up to Sir Robert's great aspiration. We must liberalise the NSW Liberal Party and we must do it now.

We call on the Federal Executive of the Liberal Party of Australia to oversee the NSW Division's democratic reform process by implementation of the following:

1. All members of the NSW Liberal Party to be invited to a “Special State Convention” where John Howard’s democratic reform proposals will be debated.

2. All attendees at the “Special State Convention” will be given a vote on whether the party adopts Mr Howard’s reform proposals as constitutionally binding amendments. The threshold level of support required to amend the constitution shall be 50% plus one.

3. At the same “Special State Convention” all the positions on the State Executive shall be declared vacant and fresh elections held for a new State Executive. All attendees will be given a vote for the new State Executive.

4. Registered lobbyists and in-house lobbyists shall be prohibited from nominating for the State Executive positions.

5. Candidates for the state seats of Miranda and Epping (and Ku-ring-gai if that seat becomes vacant) shall be selected after the “Special State Convention” so we can democratically select candidates if the Special State Convention approves Mr Howard’s proposals.

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The Democratic Reform of The NSW Liberal Party petition to Federal Executive of the Liberal Party of Australia was written by John Ruddick and is in the category Politics at GoPetition.