November 20, 2005 | Graham

Broadwater Liberals not trusted by own hierarchy

He’s advised British Governments and Virgin Airlines as well as Lockheed Martin. He’s 41, married with kids, isn’t an axe-murderer, and has never been investigated for anything more than perhaps a parking ticket. What’s more, a little over 12 months ago he ran for Liberal Party president as a non-aligned candidate, and got more than his own vote. You’d think he’d be a perfectly reasonable person to allow to present before a Liberal Party preselection – afterall Pauline Hanson met the standard, so the bar’s never been too high before. You might think that, but if his name is Jim Nichols, you’d be wrong.
Last weekend at its convention the Liberal Party changed its constitution, despite not meeting the constitutional requirements to do so. Its new powers have just been used to stop Nichols even appearing before the preselection council.
The result is that Chris Stear will be the preselected Liberal candidate for Broadwater.
This farcical situation means that power in the party has been tilted towards the factional chiefs. Previously a good candidate or member who differed with head office could still survive on the loyalties of his or her constituents. Now they are beholden to the central apparatus. So much for the party’s belief in the individual.
I’ll do some more analysis of this because it is an important shift in the way the Liberal Party governs itself and has ramifications for the whole of parliamentary democracy. Before I do I need to do some more digging around. Would love to hear from some of my readers.

Posted by Graham at 10:13 pm | Comments (3) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. Alot of it, I think, has to do with Caltabiano. Caltabiano’s firm belief is that there have been too many “dud” candidates in the past, and therefore “central planning” (at least to a degree) is needed.
    Those are sentiments I can appreciate but I think that perhaps some of the Head Office intervention is about rewarding loyalty and promoting factionalism (the most recent example being the Chandler Ward candidate) than promoting the best candidate for the job.
    And, unfortunately, centralism in the Liberal Party is on the rise everywhere – federalism (or lack of it), organisational structure, loyalties, etc.

    Comment by Philip — November 21, 2005 @ 2:14 pm

  2. I don’t know how you can say Chandler was a factional deal. Schrinner was the best candidate by a long shot and everyone knows he and Michael aren’t the best of mates. There were other motivating factors at work in that one.

    Comment by R — November 22, 2005 @ 10:21 am

  3. Graham
    I have never been to such an appalling pre-selection as Broadwater. Gestapo tatics on members who forgot their drivers licence – people being marched from the voting room because they had filled the card in before proceedings started and threatened if they protested that the the returning officer had a black belt. Not allowing a scutineer for the NO
    vote – the out and out lies and inuendos. Jim is not a criminal he is not a bankrupt and he is not a pediophile but you wouldn’t have known after the character assination they did on him.
    Jim is a candidate we could have been proud to represent us! I can’t believe the Liberal party has come to this: lying, cheating and bullying – what is worse, some of the vetting committee seem to believe their own lies.
    There has been mass resignations here in Fadden, all Jim supporters, so even if the result was overturned (not likely)Jim has now lost his base and couldn’t win.
    Lets start another Party

    Comment by szanne Armstrong — November 26, 2005 @ 5:43 am

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