WA liberals blame attitudes towards women and religious fundamentalism for federal election disaster

The Liberal Party has leaned too far to the right in embracing religious “fundamentalists” and will “die as a party” without serious reform, according to a WA Liberal veteran, as the party clashes with each other following a grim federal decision. election performance.

Former federal cabinet minister Ken Wyatt, who lost his seat in Hasluck, condemned the party for being “guy-centric,” while Liberal Party state chairman Richard Wilson promised a major overhaul of how they are elected. The candidates.

Former party leader Bill Hassell was scathing in his assessment of the party he led in WA in the 1980s, suggesting a dire future without major corrective action.

“If the diehards in the Liberal Party are not prepared to get out of the way, or get out, we are going to die as a party, it’s as serious as that,” Hassell told ABC Radio Perth.

Clan whipping the Liberal Party: McGowan

Prime Minister Mark McGowan also weighed in and dismissed the WA Liberals as a “fringe group”.

He said they were controlled by “power brokers from extremist factions,” an allusion to “The Clan,” an informal group of Conservatives, including former federal finance minister and WA MP Matthias Cormann, upper house MPs Peter Collier and Nick Goiran, and Ian Goodenough. the incumbent federal deputy in Moore fighting to keep his seat.

Ian Goodenough is fighting to keep his place safe in Moore, in Perth’s northern suburbs.(ABC News: Ross Nerdal)

McGowan has refused to accept credit for Labor’s strong performance in WA, instead attributing it largely to the Morrison government’s decision to support Clive Palmer in his state border High Court challenge. closed.

“It was a terrible decision … it was stupid,” McGowan said.

“Join Clive Palmer: What were they thinking? Why would they do that?”

Christian Porter, Matthias Cormann blamed

Former Morrison Minister Michaelia Cash joined Mr Wilson today in blaming the decision to join the High Court bid squarely on retired WA MPs Christian Porter and Mr Cormann.

“It turned out to be the wrong call, that’s absolutely true,” Wilson said today.

Mr. McGowan’s assessment was that if former Prime Minister Scott Morrison had listened to WA Liberals who were opposed to joining Mr. Palmer, the WA election result might not have been so disastrous.

A man with brown hair dressed in a suit and tie looks to the right, he is in focus with those closest to the camera out of focus
Christian Porter’s decision to support Clive Palmer’s border challenge while he was federal attorney general has drawn criticism. (ABC News: Ian Cutmore)

“I suspect that if the Prime Minister and Mr. Porter had listened to them, it might have been a slightly different outcome here,” McGowan said.

The Liberals lost the Perth Metropolitan seats of Swan, Pearce, Hasluck and Tangney, while Moore’s seat is still on a knife edge.

They also appear to have lost Curtin’s Heartland blue-ribbon seat to independent Kate Chaney.

It comes after the state Liberals were all but eliminated after the last state election, when they were left with just two seats in the lower house.

Women, climate change affected the vote

Ken Wyatt, a senior liberal from WA and a former cabinet minister for Morrison, who had been a member of Hasluck, recounted that people told him on federal election day that they wanted to vote for him but couldn’t because of the ” of his party, particularly about the weather. Change and women.

“A young woman told me ‘your party needs to do something about women, including having more women in politics,'” Wyatt told ABC Radio Perth.

Headshot of Ken Wyatt at a microphone
Ken Wyatt lost his seat in Hasluck and says the Liberal Party must take action on their problem with women.(ABC News: Andrew O’Connor)

Asked what the Liberal Party of WA should do after losing so many seats in WA, he said the party had to act on the review made after losing the state election.

“WA needs some serious soul-searching,” he said.

“We shouldn’t be focused on men like we have been in the past.”

Wilson promised that party members would have more of a say in preselections in the future.

“We need the best possible candidates to be put in our seats in the 2025 elections, both state and federal, and that means we have to go through the way we select candidates from top to bottom,” he told ABC Radio Perth.

“And I hope that if people in our state executive or our state council don’t think reform is necessary, I hope they’ll consider their positions in those bodies because I think a pretty clear message has been sent to us now. “

‘We have lost the crown jewels’

Hassell said the party had received three recent messages at the polls in WA but had not been listening and had not implemented any real change.

“We need action, we need very strong action, and we need very strong leadership,” he said.

He said the party had strayed too far to the right.

An older man with white hair and glasses, dressed in a suit, looking to the right of the frame with a serious expression.
Former WA Liberal Party leader Bill Hassell is scathing in his assessment of where the party has lost its way.(ABC News: Keane Bourke)

“Fundamentalists, whether they are Christians, Muslims or anyone else, are dangerous people because they don’t want to live in the community according to general community standards,” he said.

“They want to impose their particular system of beliefs and philosophies on all of us, and that’s one of the problems with the Liberal Party, what we call the religious right. I think they are… gravely mistaken.”

He said parliamentarians should not interfere in the endorsement process “because it has been the interference of politicians that has reduced us to this rump.”

“We lost the crown jewels. Losing Tangney, losing Curtin is wrong, wrong,” he said.

“The only way it will be corrected is if we have root and branch reforms.”

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