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State Government

SOUTHERN: Liberal State Council delivers conservatives control

The SA Liberal Party held its AGM on Saturday and, as initial predictions indicated, the conservatives managed to win most State Executive positions, handing them control of the Party.

Ashley Jared, husband of Sarah Jared (the person at the centre of the AEC scandal) was one of only two moderates elected to the Executive. The other, Peter Salu, was elected as second Vice-President, behind former conservative faction Senator Grant Chapman. This means that the conservatives managed to take five of the seven elected spots.

Some of this success has been accredited to an anonymous letter that was sent to many delegates, or ‘Friends’ suggesting that they vote for the conservative ticket. This brazen act was a risky move, but seems to have paid dividends. The controversy surrounding the letter came about when it was learned that the letter was sent to not only loyal conservatives, but also to some unaligned delegates.

sagrantchapman The conservative vote was bolstered by the 26 vote swing that resulted when the conservatives took over the Young Liberals earlier in the year. However, the narrow election of Peter Salu as second Vice-President (essentially the first contested position, as Grant Chapman was first on both tickets) indicates that the moderates still hold considerable influence on the council and that many unaligned delegates are happy to support them when provided with a strong candidate. Salu is well known to the State Council, and was earlier this year pre-selected at the unlikely spot of number 6 on the 2010 State Legislative Council ticket.

CROSSING THE FLAW
In related news, the reason for Christopher Pyne’s non-attendance at the AGM that was previously noted was in fact because he is at a Democratic Party event in the United States. This evidence further indicates that maybe, after all these years, Pyne has finally understood the difference between ‘liberal’ and ‘Liberal’, and may in fact be sitting on the wrong side of the floor.

He is still overseas, however sources close to the Member for Sturt indicate that he is becoming increasingly agitated at the events that have occurred in the Party this year. Since last year he has had to devote more time to his electorate now that it is the most marginal in South Australia (held by less than 1%). This has left less time for him to spend on factional work, and he has handed over some responsibility to up and coming moderate Senator Simon Birmingham, aka ‘Pyne Light’, with little success. Sources say that he is seeking to re-centralise the moderate coordinating efforts to his office following that unsuccessful attempt at delegation in the hope of regaining some of the power that he has lost over the course of this year.

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