While Townsville Young Liberals have been suspended for branch stacking, the stackers in Ryan have gotten off scot free.

The news that the entire 65 members of the Townsville Young Liberals
have been suspended for alleged branch stacking is causing much
merriment throughout the Liberal Party.

Yesterday’s Courier Mail report, by Chris Jones, is a source of particular joy:

“The entire 65-member Townsville branch of the Young Liberals has been suspended over branch-stacking claims,” it reads.

“The suspended Young Liberals include 45 preselection delegates who
were set to back the Member for Herbert, Peter Lindsay, against a
challenge from Townsville oncologist Peter Fon in a vote scheduled for
April 24.

“It is understood Mr Lindsay has also been referred to the party’s disciplinary committee.

“As well, the head of the Herbert federal electorate council has been
directed to explain allegations that Townsville party members engaged
in branch-stacking in preparation for the preselection ballot.

“The moves were taken by the Liberal state executive and threaten to
revive bitter factional brawling in which the federal Liberals
intervened in Queensland three years ago…

“Liberal Party state president Michael Caltabiano yesterday dismissed
the situation in Herbert as told to him by The Courier-Mail as
‘factually incorrect’.

“But the circumstances were confirmed by three senior Liberals.”

However, some Liberals want to know why the Queensland Exec are playing the heavies in Herbert – while Ryan is ignored.

Ryan has surely seen some of the most curious membership practices in
the Liberal Party in Australia over recent years, these people argue –
including allegations of abuse of concessional rate memberships to sign
stackees up on the cheap.

The key allegation being levied against the Townsville Young Libs is that some recruits failed to pay a membership fee.

If there are people in Ryan who have not paid the correct membership
rate, then surely action should be taken against them and the people
who signed them up, some Queensland Libs argue.

Not that they’re likely to remain Liberals for long.
The same cabal that has decided to take the big stick to Peter Lindsay
and the Townsville Young Libs has done everything possible to ignore
the Ryan allegations – and has even begun expulsion proceedings against
members who have dared to criticise the situation.

Coincidentally, the cabal gets plenty of support from the seat of Ryan
– margin 9.5 per cent – but less from Herbert – margin just 1.5 per

But what does it matter if you lose a federal election as long as you keep your grip on the party?

Peter Fray

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