Almost 5 years ago, I wrote about the takeover of the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party by religious nutters. At the time the Victorian branch was dragging its feet in preselecting candidates for the next federal election. This foot-dragging was due to a power struggle between the moderates and religious nutters. The religious nutter faction was under the control of Marcus Bastiaan, who was stated to be ‘a supporter’ of the Mormon church, and not only was he recruiting Mormons but also members of other fundamentalist Christian groups to stack party branches1.
The influence of the religious was seen in the leadup to the Victorian state election in late 2018, when then leader of the opposition, Matthew Guy, promised to reintroduce religious instruction in state schools. This was one of the ideas that put paid to the chances of the Coalition being elected to government2. In the most recent state election, the Coalition went even further backwards, with the Labor Party being re-elected to government again.
As predicted, when they lost this most recent state election, the cry went out, just as it did in the US after the idiot Trump lost the 2020 presidential election, that the election had been fraudulent3. The Liberal Party seem to be importing their electoral strategies directly from the US these days. This will see them go even further backwards.
Despite being hammered electorally, in part because of the takeover by the religious, the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party now seem intent on going further down the gurgler. Leaked WhatsApp messages from the Liberals For Change group and they detail plans to roll party president Greg Mirabella (the appalling Sophie Mirabella’s husband), and to get rid of more moderate members from the party. Recently three long-standing party members resigned from the party after they had given their support to an independent who ran against Liberal Moira Deeming for a safe upper house seat, and faced disciplinary proceedings4.
Deeming, who is an ultraconservative Christian cooker, won the seat. In an email obtained under Freedom of Information legislation, she said: “I did not win on merit, I did not win because I was popular in the party, I did not win by being a part of a faction. I won because God arranged it, and because Christians joined up and voted according to their consciences”5.
The WhatsApp group is administered by Ivan Stratov, a Mormon, who was one of Marcus Bastiaan’s lieutenants. Although moderates hold a slender majority on the administrative committee, Stratov has a chance of ousting Mirabella as the latter has lost support recently, because of the poor electoral showing in the recent election4.
The conservatives in the Victorian branch are also foaming at the mouth about the leader of the opposition, John Pesutto and a couple of other Liberal MPs attending the Midsumma Pride March early this month6.
One Liberal member replied to the attendance by Pesutto and the others with: “We need to organise, build our nos [numbers] and roll these people. Sorry, there is no other way”4.
In an email to Mirabella and other Liberals, the three facing disciplinary proceedings, said they did not want to support Deeming’s election because they did not think her conservative beliefs aligned with values of the Liberal Party4. Therein lies the problem for the Liberal Party, Deeming’s views do align with the ‘modern’ Liberal Party. It has become the party of religious nutters, cookers and bigots. Its slide into electoral oblivion seems set to continue.