Victorian Liberals threaten to call in the PM over treachery claims – The Age

Posted: February 27, 2021 at 3:19 am

In a letter sent to the partys administrative committee, and seen by The Age, Mr Quick said he was considering asking Prime Minister Scott Morrison to personally intervene and sanction those involved.

The intra-party moderate group that includes Mr Clark and Mr Quick and dominates the Victorian Liberal Party is in an ongoing feud with the conservative faction, including the Treasurer and Health Minister along with Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar and former president Michael Kroger.

Health Minister Greg Hunt (left) has distanced himself from the internal ructions, which threaten to draw in Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The latest edition of Grassroots, which carried the accusations about Mr Clark and Mr Quick, also included words that mirrored an earlier press release from Mr Hunt spruiking the COVID-19 vaccine. That inclusion led some in the party to believe Mr Hunt had contributed to the newsletter but a spokesperson for Mr Hunt said he was unaware of the newsletter or its authors.

Mr Hunt faces being dragged into a messy legal stoush after Mr Quick wrote to the partys administrative committee, saying he was considering defamation action and calling on federal MPs to identify the anonymous authors.

While initiating legal action opens up a variety of digital discovery and subpoena options, there ... is a simpler way to find out who was involved, he wrote.

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A number of party members have written articles specifically for Grassroots, we simply need to ask them who they gave the articles to.

Mr Quick said he was considering asking Mr Morrison to intervene and potentially sanction those involved. He called on Mr Hunt and other MPs to explain their role, if any, in Grassroots.

I am currently considering sending a letter to the Prime Minister requesting him to do something about the behaviour of some Victorian Federal MPs, Mr Quick said in the email.

Mr Quick said the MPs could be sanctioned by the party for failing to assist in identifying the authors.

The factional feud comes as the state opposition attempts to reboot its political fortunes. Fresh from a three-day strategy meeting on the Mornington Peninsula, the Victorian Liberals have set up four campaign policy groups to focus on ideas before next years election.

A Victorian anti-corruption probe into developer John Woodman centres on his influence in political circles. Credit:Justin McManus

In a reversal from the 2018 election, the party is expected to move away from social policies and focus on jobs, the economy and improving liveability in Victoria after months of strict lockdowns in 2020.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) is investigating Mr Woodman over allegations he bribed councillors and sought to influence politicians through donations.

Late last year, The Age reported that Mr Frydenberg appeared at a fundraiser that was also attended by a close associate of the controversial developer, who was raided as part of the IBAC probe. The article also included a reference to Mr Hunt ordering a $5000 contribution to his election campaign from Lorraine Wreford, an associate of Mr Woodman, be sent to charity after IBAC launched its public hearings.

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Paul is a Victorian political reporter for The Age.

Annika is state political editor for The Age.

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Victorian Liberals threaten to call in the PM over treachery claims - The Age

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