September 27, 2007 | Graham

Expulsion update

I’ve just fired-off a letter to the Liberal Party’s General Secretary. The party extended their deadline for me to respond to the Disciplinary Committee’s report until 5:00 pm today. They may hold a special meeting of State Council to consider the report and my response no earlier than 5:00 pm tomorrow.
My reply was that given the flaws in the whole process, there was no point in responding to the committee’s report. They have two choices. One is to forget about the whole matter. The other is to start again.
The basis for this response is outlined in my solicitors letter. There are five grounds:

  1. Failure to properly particularise the charges
  2. Failure to present evidence
  3. Failure of the Committee to observe the rules of natural justice
  4. Failure of the Committee to proceed according to the Constitution
  5. Inclusion of Mrs Bowers as a memberof the Committee

Anyone of these would be fatal to the process. I’ll quickly deal with two of the issues to demonstrate just how incompetently the administration of the party has proceeded. And by “administration” I’m really talking about the State Director, the President and their close buddies, including the Chairman of the Constitution and Rules Committee, who provides legal advice. The State Council relies heavily on what it is told, and what it is allowed to know, so while individual members are liable for the decisions of the council, they often vote against it, or have reservations.
The inclusion of Bowers is a good example of how this works. She was appointed, at the last minute, by a flying minute. The Constitution doesn’t allow the State Council to make decisions by flying minute. There has to be a contemporaneous meeting of some sort. To appoint someone to such a significant position, there needs to be an opportunity to inquire into their suitability, look at alternatives and so on. A flying minute does not allow any of these things, and so the constitution quite sensibly requires a meeting.
But how does a single member of State Council do anything about this illegal method of appointment when they are presented with it as a fait accompli, particularly when the Chairman of the Constitution and Rules Committee, Peter Baston, a barrister, is likely to tell you that it is legal? So Mrs Bowers was illegally shoe-horned into the position. Mrs Bowers once even lobbied my own mother against me, so I have no doubt as to why she was nominated – it wasn’t for her robust sense of fair play!
State Council members have no control over the second issue that I am going to highlight, and that is the failure of the people they appoint to behave competently. Under the heading or “Failure of the Committee to proceed according to the Constitution” comes the complaint that:

At the hearing, the Chairm, Mr Miles, told Mr Young on several occasions that it was not the Committee’s role to make findings, but rather to investigate. It seems that this was the basis upon which Mr Miles concluded that it was up to Mr Young to disprove the allegations made against him rather than to require State Council to prove its complaint.
It seems to us that Mr Miles and his fellow committee members simply misunderstood the task assigned to them under the Constitution. In those circumstances, it is difficult to see how any report prepared by the Committee could be a constitutionally valid basis for action by the State Council.

So, there would seem to be little point in debating the committee’s report, particularly as all it does is confirm the complaints in the solicitor’s letter. Which means it was fairly predictable, given that the letter was written without the advantage of seeing the report!

Posted by Graham at 9:26 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Graham
    Who really cares – I hardly visit your website now as you have turned it into your plaything. It used to be such a good & informative & balanced website. Your ranting and raving and onesided diatribe is getting boring.

    Comment by Tom Michaels — September 28, 2007 @ 6:21 am

  2. I concur!
    This blog really has turned into an awful lot of drivel.

    Comment by Tom — September 29, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

  3. Does this mean the Liberal Party is starting to get Web 2.0? Two commenters no-one has ever seen before both slagging-off the blog. Amazing.

    Comment by Graham Young — September 29, 2007 @ 5:35 pm

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