Young Liberals (Australia)
The Young Liberal Movement of Australia, commonly referred to as the Young Liberals, is the youth movement of the Liberal Party of Australia representing Liberal members aged 16 to 31. The Movement is organised as a federation with each state and territory division responsible for their own campaigns, policy platform and strategic direction.
|Federal President||Jocelyn Sutcliffe (SA)|
|Federal Vice President||Alexander Lisov (Vic)|
|Founded||12 December 1945|
|Headquarters||Cnr Blackall & Macquarie St|
Barton ACT 2600
|Ideology||Conservative liberalism Liberal conservatism Classical liberalism|
|International||International Young Democrat Union|
|Mother Party||Liberal Party of Australia|
|Federal Secretary||Clark Cooley (Tas)|
|Federal Treasurer||Alec Pokarier (QLD)|
|Director of Campaigns and Membership||Ben Dennehy (ACT)|
|Immediate Past President||Liam Staltari (WA)|
|Western Australian Young Liberals||Michael Heydon|
|South Australian Young Liberals||James Porter|
|ACT Young Liberals||Ben Dennehy|
|Tasmanian Young Liberals||Benjamin Singline|
|NSW Young Liberals||Chaneg Torres|
|Young Liberal Nationals (Queensland)||Nelson Savanh|
|Victorian Young Liberals||Nicholas Lamanna|
The Movement serves as a recruiting platform for the Liberal Party, and plays a significant role within the volunteer base of the party. The Movement undertakes a notable management role within the Liberal Party. Young Liberal Presidents serve on the executive of their respective State and Territory divisions, while the Federal President and Federal Vice-President of the Movement serve on the Federal Liberal Executive.
Former Federal Presidents include former Father of the Australian House of Representatives and NSW Liberals State President Philip Ruddock, former Chief Economist for Bank of America Merrill Lynch Saul Eslake, Businessman Mark Birrell, and current Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne. The organisation is a founding member of the International Young Democrat Union.
The Young Liberal Movement was formed on 12 December 1945 following the official inauguration of the Liberal Party on 31 October of the same year. The creation of the Movement is attributed to Sir Robert Menzies who when organising meetings to discuss the creating of the Liberal Party in 1944 invited the Young Nationalists to undertake a prominent role within the new party. The formation of the movement at a meeting at the Melbourne Town Hall attracted 750 people.
While Young Liberal branches and divisional organisations existed within each State and Territory Division since 1945 the Federal Young Liberal Movement wasn't founded until 1966 following a motion at the Federal Council of the Liberal Party. The first meeting of the new national movement took place on 4 March 1967. By 1968, it was decided that the Young Liberals should hold their own annual National Conventions – a tradition that continues.
The 1974 Federal Council of the Liberal Party agreed to a proposal for the Young Liberals' senior positions to be elected by a Young Liberal Federal Council, consisting of 6 delegates per Division (and held concurrently with the National Convention at which all Young Liberals were eligible to attend). The senior positions were restructured and renamed, resulting in a "Federal President", "Federal Vice-President" and "Young Liberal Federal Executive".
The Young Liberal representation on the senior party's Executive was expanded to two positions, while the Movement was also given a seat on the Joint Standing Committee on Federal Policy.
In 1982, the Movement produced a national publication called 'The Young Australian' which was published until 2013.
In 2007, the QLD division of the Liberal Party of Australia and the QLD National Party merged to become the Liberal National Party of Queensland. As Part of this merger process the Queensland Young Liberals and the Queensland Young Nationals were merged to become the Young Liberal National Party (Young LNP). The Young LNP is effectively the Queensland division of both the federal Young Liberals and the Federal Young Nationals.
Each Young Liberal State and Territory division is governed by its own rules and constitution with each undertaking different methods for the election of their President, executive, and delegates.
The Federal Movement has two elected officers; the President and the Vice-President who are supported by an Executive made up of State and Territory Young Liberal Presidents and appointed Federal Officers. The Federal President and Federal Vice-President are members of the powerful Liberal Party Federal Executive which also includes the Prime Minister and other senior Liberal Party figures.
List of federal presidentsEdit
List of federal presidents of the Young Liberals:
- 1967–68: Graham Jones (NSW)
- 1968–69: Leo Hawkins (VIC)
- 1969–72: Warren McCullagh (NSW)
- 1972–73: Greg Vickery (QLD)
- 1973–74: Philip Ruddock (NSW)
- 1974–75: Michael Loftus (VIC)
- 1975–78: Chris Puplick (NSW)
- 1978–79: Bruce Noble (SA)
- 1979–80: Greg Goebel (QLD)
- 1980–81: Robert Nestdale (NSW)
- 1981–82: Saul Eslake (TAS)
- 1982–83: Mark Birrell (VIC)
- 1983–85: Chris Crawford (NSW)
- 1985–87: Peter Coatman (VIC)
- 1987–88: Kim Jacobs (SA)
- 1988–89: Cam Tinley (WA)
- 1989–91: Marise Payne (NSW)
- 1991–92: Peter Torbey (Vic)
- 1992–93: Stephen Forshaw (ACT)
- 1993–94: Trent Zimmerman (NSW)
- 1994–95: Ross McClymont (Vic)
- 1995–96: Leon Beswick (Tas)
- 1996–97: Matthew Marks (SA)
- 1997–98: Jason Falinski (NSW)
- 1998–99: Matthew Boland (QLD)
- 1999–00: Marc Dale (WA)
- 2000–01: Brett Hogan (Vic)
- 2001–02: Gerard Paynter (QLD)
- 2002–04: Grant Muller (QLD)
- 2004–05: Nick Park (QLD)
- 2005–06: Alex Hawke (NSW)
- 2006–08: Mark Powell (QLD)
- 2008–09: Noel McCoy (NSW)
- 2009–10: Rachel Fry (Tas)
- 2010–11: Richard Wilson (WA)
- 2011–12: Michael van Dissel (SA)
- 2012–13: Trent Hasson (Tas)
- 2013–14: Tom White (WA)
- 2014–15: Ben Riley (QLD)
- 2015–16: Simon Brehney (Vic)
- 2016–17: Claire Chandler (Tas)
- 2017–18: Aiden Depiazzi (WA)
- 2018–19: Josh Manuatu (ACT)
- 2019–20: Liam Staltari (WA)
- 2020-: Jocelyn Sutcliffe (SA)
Voluntary Student UnionismEdit
In 2005, the Howard Government introduced legislation to repeal compulsory student unionism in Australia following an effective campaign run by the Young Liberal Movement, notably led by its then Federal President, now Federal MP, Alex Hawke.
Make Education FairEdit
In February 2008, the Young Liberals launched a campaign titled Make Education Fair that alleged there was bias in the educational system. The Young Liberals were motivated by comments by former Prime Minister John Howard who said "The left-liberal grip on educational institutions and large, though not all, sections of the media remains intense".
In response to the campaign, the Senate announced an Inquiry into Academic Freedom in June 2008 with the Inquiry into Academic Freedom - Parliament of Australia terms of reference. Others described the campaign as a "witch hunt" or McCarthyism, and as an attack on the professionalism of academics. In response to Make Education Fair, the National Tertiary Education Union said "there is no evidence of widespread left-wing bias" and launched its own campaign entitled "Academic Freedom Watch". The President of the NTEU dismissed the accusation that academics are running their own agendas in the classroom as "nonsense". New South Wales Greens politician John Kaye said "any school or university educator who expresses an opinion would be at risk from the young Liberals plan to create a McCarthy-ist environment on campuses and schools"
Student Services and Amenities FeeEdit
Since 2016, the Young Liberals have taken a strong position against the Student Services and Amenities Fee, including publishing a comprehensive report on the subject.
In 2005, the Young Liberals in Melbourne attracted media attention for their antisocial behaviour at social functions and accusations of rivalry between the Australian Liberal Students' Federation and the Young Liberal movement.
On 17 July 2006, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Four Corners program broadcast allegations that factional leaders within the Liberal Party in New South Wales had been used "as the foot soldiers in factional warfare in which control goes to the faction which has the most branches." Former federal Liberal leader John Hewson expressed his concern that in more recent times, the right faction had taken control of the Young Liberals in New South Wales in an "extreme right takeover", that "in my day as leader the Young Liberals were a burr under my saddle from the left" whereas now they had come to support the agenda of right factional leaders such as David Clarke.
Conservative Sydney Morning Herald columnist Miranda Devine said after the program was broadcast that the shift to the right within all areas of the Liberal Party simply reflected the political climate of the Howard era, and suggested that the moderate faction was merely angry at losing influence because "the left has controlled the NSW Liberal Party for more than two decades and always regarded the Young Liberals as its personal breeding ground."
In July 2006, Young Liberal Movement was the subject of controversy after the ABC's Lateline program aired footage from the 2005 National Union of Students' conference in Ballarat. The video showed Liberal students chanting "We're racist, we're sexist, we're homophobic". The president of the New South Wales Young Liberals released a statement condemning the outbursts.
During a conference for Liberals in July 2008 in Canberra, about 40 university students from the Australian Liberal Students' Federation - some of them Young Liberals, were thrown out and banned from a youth hostel after an all night drinking rampage and disruptive behaviour, including some of them being caught having sex in the hostel.
In April 2010, Nick Sowden, a Young Liberal National party member from Queensland, likened US President Barack Obama to a monkey on his Twitter account. After a backlash, Sowden responded by saying that it was a poor attempt at irony that had been taken out of context. As a result of the comments, he was expelled from the party. Further controversy arose in June, 2010, when a member of the Young Liberal National Party organised an event via Facebook to celebrate the ill health of former Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam. The event, which 17 members of the Young Liberal National Party are reported to have subsequently attended, aimed to celebrate that...”the old man is old and nearly dead [former PM, Gough Whitlam], he got sacked, and he is ***....So lets (sic) celebrate and be happy".
In September 2012, during a Young Liberals dinner in Sydney, Alan Jones spoke concerning the death of the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard's father. Jones said that Mr Gillard had "died of shame to think that his daughter told lies every time she stood for parliament". Jones' speech was secretly recorded by a News Limited journalist.
In April 2014, during hearings by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (New South Wales) into the alleged corrupt conduct of MP Chris Hartcher, it was revealed that a Hartcher staff member who is also Young Liberal member set up a "black ops" team inspired by the film Fight Club with the intention of destroying political opponents.
In August 2014, Young Liberal students from Melbourne University were reported to have been posting misogynistic, crude and racist comments on their Facebook page. One comment in particular referred to, 75-year-old academic, Germaine Greer as a "lying fucking cum guzzling slut".
In September 2015 a New South Wales Young Liberal Council meeting caused controversy after an alleged altercation occurred. Young Liberal and member of the conservatives Jakov Miljak allegedly grappled Moderate James Camillieri following a debate over the Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill, September 2015. The following day Mr Miljak resigned from his part-time employment with Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.
In April 2017, it was revealed that Young Liberal and President of the Melbourne University Liberal Club, Xavier Boffa, had told a female member of the club that she was not invited to a club event because 'a couple of the guys were uncomfortable about inviting a chick'.
In October 2017, Mr Boffa became the subject of a police investigation after he was allegedly involved in an ugly stoush with this same woman in the aftermath of a heated club meeting. It was also alleged that he assaulted another male club member from an opposing faction.
In February 2019, four members of the NSW Young Liberals were suspended from the party for six months when they approached women on Tinder in order to convince them to vote Liberal, and then shared personal information about the women and made "lewd and derogatory" comments about them in a group chat room that was meant for planning the group's campaigning efforts. Several women in the chat complained to NSW Young Liberals president Harry Stutchbury (son of Michael Stutchbury), who said that the behaviour was unacceptable but took no further action. Liberal Party officials did not learn of the events until 12 months later, via The Sun-Herald, at which point NSW Liberals' state director Chris Stone applied the suspension.
In July 2019, former Australian Liberal Students Federation past president Xavier Boffa glassed Melbourne University Liberal Club member Benedict Kusay in a bar in Adelaide. Kusay was attending the annual general meeting of the Australian Liberal Student Federation (ALSF) as a delegate, when the former President of the institution Boffa assaulted him with two glasses. Kusay receiving emergency medical treatment and was released with three metal staples in his head. Boffa was arrested and released on bail. He was due to appear in court in mid November, facing a potential conviction for aggravated assault with a weapon. Despite of many Liberal Party members calling for Boffa's membership to be terminated or suspended, no action was taken pending the court date.
In December 2019, Young Liberal National party leader Barclay McGain and Young Liberal member Jake Scott faced controversy after a video was released on the Young Liberal's Facebook page. The video showed McGain purporting to be interviewing young adults at random during Schoolies week regarding their opinions of Prime Minister Scott Morrison. In one interview McGain is shown laughing as Scott criticised Aboriginal Australians for not being able to "even invent the bloody wheel". Scott described himself in the video as "a bit of a leftie", however, subsequent investigations showed him to be a Liberal Party volunteer and active Young Liberal member. Scott and McGain both declined to comment on the video, which was widely criticised and labelled as racist by the Queensland State Government. McGain was later suspended from his role as party leader, pending further internal investigation from the Liberal Party.
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- See: As Future Leaders Go Not Much to Rejoice About, Bella Counihan, National Times, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, 1 June, http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/as-future-leaders-go-not-much-to-rejoice-about-20100601-wrsr.html
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