January 13, 2004 | Graham

Liberal State President admits party doesn’t comply.

As I announced here , BCC Councillor Margaret de Wit withdrew as a candidate in the Ryan preselection. It was reported in the Courier Mail this morning.
The interesting part of the Courier Mail report was its second last paragraph “Cr Catalbiano rejected Cr de Wit’s accusations about unfair delays, saying the preselection ballot could be held only after the list of eligible voters in that electorate had been prepared”. The problem for Caltabiano is that the Queensland Electoral Act 1992 and the Liberal Party’s constitution require that the list be prepared before the date for close of preselection nominations, not after.
The Queensland Liberal Party has a long record of incompetence in managing its own affairs in accordance with the laws, having in recent years lost a number of court cases. The height of this incompetence actually occurred most recently with the preselection for Moggill when the Party President wanted to take himself and the State Council to court to see whether they had acted properly. He successfully convinced the State Council to pass a motion to this effect. On this occasion he was saved from himself by the intervention of State Parliamentary Leader Bob Quinn who convened a further State Council meeting to overturn the original decision, but Caltabiano persisted.
This matter did get to court when the unsuccessful candidate, Russell Galt, filed a suit and the party funded him. In a bizarre departure from the usual order of things, Galt sued the successful candidate, Bruce Flegg, even though Flegg had nothing to do with the decision that Galt was contesting. This is akin to one tennis player suing another tennis player for a linesman’s call. So, in a roundabout way, the party did indeed sue itself.
In another twist, Galt’s case partly rested on the ineligibility of one of the delegates. She had not been a member of the party long enough to qualify to participate in the preselection (you have to be a member for 12 months Cl 136). He had good reason to know about this voter because she had been driven to the meeting specifically to vote for him. This has led others in the party to question the integrity of HQ records, afterall, they were the basis in the first palce for allowing the woman to vote.
The Ryan preselection will intensify those questions. Caltabiano’s response to the Courier implies that he cannot produce a list not just of current party members, but of those who were members twelve months ago. What sort of records does he maintain and what sort of Party? New State Director Geoff Green seems to have a lot of house keeping in front of him.

Posted by Graham at 8:52 am | Comments (1) |
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1 Comment

  1. The law and the Liberal party are good friends. I supplied pictures of Liberal Gosford Councilor Debra Wales campaigning activity for the seat of Peats outside the various relevent laws during the NSW 2003 State elections, to NSW State electoral commissioner John Wasson who advised no problems with the obvious breaches evidenced by the photos. The photos will get another run during the local elections in March. Responcible open government. Yeah right only if we insist!
    Ed James 0418486260

    Comment by Edward James — January 15, 2004 @ 9:36 am

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