Senior federal liberal figures have called on the beleagured WA party to embrace the “bottom” and fight for a return of the Morrison government at next year’s federal poll.
- Scott Morrison and Michaelia Cash spoke at the WA conference
- It is the WA party’s first since its disastrous election result
- Sir. Morrison and Senator Cash kept delegates pep talk
The WA Liberal Party’s conference will be held in Perth this weekend – the first since the catastrophic election defeat in March.
It also comes two months after a violent internal review of the election found that WA’s Liberal members and MPs were guilty of “unethical and negotiated” behavior.
Push to support structural changes
The party also voted to support its members power to select candidates in their constituents in an attempt to dilute the influence of power brokers.
Previously, candidates were elected by committee committees.
WA Liberal leader David Honey said it would give all members a fair word.
“I think that [having] “Referendums to elect our candidates are a great way to strengthen our entire membership and a great way to dilute the influence of individuals or organizations,” he said.
Today’s result will require changes to the party’s constitution, which will be voted on at a special state conference in the future.
The State Conference is also expected to vote on whether to give members of parliament the power to elect the party’s leader – a privilege previously reserved for members of parliament.
Honey said he expected a “lively debate” on a number of issues within two days.
“I’m sure people will raise concerns today – it’s really healthy [and] It’s really important that people have a chance to have their say, ”he said.
WA Liberals called for embracing ‘bottom’
The party was reduced to just two MPs in the House of Commons after the March election, with the campaign and the result described by some liberals as catastrophic, embarrassing and humiliating.
Today’s annual conference struck a more optimistic note with speeches by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Federal Attorney Michaelia Cash.
In a pre-recorded video, the Prime Minister told assembled members that he understood the challenges they faced, referring to his time as director of the NSW Liberals.
“In my own division, we went through a similar situation when I was director of state [of the NSW Liberals] many years ago, “he said.
“So I know a little bit about it, and I know … we can rebuild this state machine within the term.”
Senator Cash urged members to remember their liberal values.
“Sometimes in life … you have to reach the bottom before you reconsider, you remind yourself of what your principles are, you take yourself back, and you continue to be liberal,” she said.
The internal election poll described the party as a desolate country with no values and aimed at MPs who displayed “dizzying laziness” and found that many of them did not make a single phone call or knock on any doors during the campaign.
Members told to dig deep for federal election
Senator Cash made it clear that she expected full commitment from local liberals to help the party secure a fourth term in next year’s federal election.
“I want you … out there every single day between now and the federal election, reminding people why they should return the Morrison Liberal government to office,” she said.
“That Saturday night in 2022 I will not sit there as if we were in March this year and think ‘but what if I had?’
“Your federal team is going to work with you every single step of the way because we have a great story to tell as liberals.”
Senator Cash also urged members to highlight the federal government’s performance in terms of COVID-19, economics and national security.
“When we go to the polls next year, we are voting on national issues, we are sitting around the national cabinet table and on economy and national security, our prime minister is incredibly strong,” she said.
The issue of WA’s GST share was also discussed, with both Senator Cash and Scott Morrison reiterating that the agreement would not be changed.