Friday, 5 December 2014

Dear Bastion of Old Conservative White Male Privilege, I Quit

Menzies House, a self-styled conservative think tank, published this resignation letter on 1 December 2014.

I have to confess that I find it hard to feel much sympathy for the letter's author.......

Damien Mantach
State Director
Liberal Party of Australia (Victorian Division)
Level 3, 104 Exhibition Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

1 December 2014

Dear Mr Mantach,

I write to you today to resign my membership of the Victorian Liberal Party.

I am greatly saddened that I have become ashamed to be a member of the Liberal Party, which has completely betrayed its core principles and let down its base, and the Victorian people.
I understood the principles of the Liberal Party to be the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples, a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives, and maximises individual and private sector initiative. Indeed, the Liberal Party’s national website states: “… we simply believe in individual freedom and free enterprise; and if you share this belief, then ours is the Party for you.” It is my view – and the view of many current members and members of staff whom I have spoken to – that the Liberal Party now obviously believes in nothing except perhaps the restriction of liberty and the electoral success of the Liberal Party.

I will no longer let my name, time, or labour be channelled into enacting the restriction and taxation that the Liberal Party now pursues almost exclusively.

In terms of being a “safe pair of economic hands” the Liberal Party has failed spectacularly. The Napthine Government certainly could not be accused of being “illiberal” in terms of expenditure – the election campaign consisted almost entirely of cash splashing and vote buying.

The parliamentary Party now violates individual freedom and hampers free enterprise as a matter of routine. The atrocious “unexplained wealth seizure” laws are a clear repudiation of the rule of law: a violation of the most basic principles of our legal system.  The avid campaign against drug users does no more than exploit fear to promote the militant repression of the most vulnerable members of our society. The further suspension of late-night liquor licensing – besides betraying a fundamental distrust for individuals ability to exercise their liberty responsibly – is a blow to the entertainment industry, as is the extremely stupid ban on ‘cage-fighting’.

I am equally disturbed by the many and varied ways the Coalition has acted to limit personal freedoms: banning solariums, punitive tobacco reforms, not to also mention the completely unjustified removal of suspended sentences.

My frustration is shared by voters, who have made it very clear that they find the Victorian Liberal Party slightly more repulsive than the empty authoritarians in the ALP and Greens. It should be no surprise that the state election results for minor parties in the Legislative Council rose from under 10%, to a staggering almost 25% as voters, including many Liberal Party members, sought to vote for parties who actually stand for something.

Lastly, the manner in which you have treated both candidates and party members that have come to media attention has been absolutely appalling and shameful. Any principled organisation must show loyalty to its members. I have no interest in being associated with a party that doesn’t stick by some of its people when they are unfairly attacked by the media and throws people under a bus for short term political gain. I believe in second chances, and we know from history that some of the greatest advocates for liberty and freedom have been converts from other unpleasant ideologies. Those who have come to liberalism from repugnant ideologies should be praised and used as advocates for de-radicalisation, not shunned and banished from the party.

That other self-serving, unloyal, unprincipled authoritarians, men without any values, are allowed to vocally and publicly represent the Party simply adds insult to injury.

In contrast, Labor stood by Daniel Andrew’s CoS and their Assistant State Secretary in the face of media hype in relation to the “Dictaphone Scandal”. There is now an overwhelming and saddening view amongst the younger members of the Liberal Party that at the first sign of negative press the party will abandon them. This is adding fuel to many who are disengaging and avoiding involvement in party politics.

Labor values their young people, involves them in senior ranks of their campaign. The liberal Party appears to see young people as a weakness and something to avoid, depriving the party of the new ideas and renewal that every party needs if it is to continue to grow.

I suspect you will be receiving a lot of feedback in this vein and I truly hope you take this on board if the Liberal Party ever wishes to be a viable option for the people of Victoria.

Accordingly, it is my hope that the Victorian Liberal Party will learn the lesson that stares us in the face right around the country, and will search deep inside itself for its soul, lopping off the poisonous, vacuous growths that are strangling what was once the greatest force for the advancement and aspiration of the Australian people and nation.

Yours sincerely
Marguerite Iliescu

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