by SEAN BURKE – MATT Kean’s radical Left faction that led the NSW Liberals into electoral wilderness last March is quickly losing its grip on the Party.
This startling revelation comes after an internal Party ballot for State President held last week saw the Left’s candidate shed 30 per cent support, compared to a similar presidential vote in 2022.
Despite the significant swing, the Left faction retained the Party presidency, with former federal MP Jason Falinski, who self-identifies as a “modern” Liberal, securing the win.
The centre-Right candidate, Philip Argy, who also ran in a 2022 presidential ballot against the Left’s Maria Kovacic, is understood to have committed to run again.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Mr Falinski won last week’s ballot 291 votes to 223 – leaking 122 votes from Ms Kovacic’s 413 result in 2022.
Last week’s presidential ballot was to fill a casual vacancy, after Ms Kovacic resigned her position in order to replace the late Jim Molan in Canberra.
A new presidential ballot is due to be held later this year.
Mr Falinski last year lost his safe Northern Beaches federal seat of Mackellar with a 24 per cent two Party swing against him.
This was after he spearheaded the Left’s campaign against Federal Electoral Conference President Walter Villatora’s Democratic Reforms – thereby denying grassroots members’ the right to vote on Party matters, including the right to vote for the presidency.
He was one of 11 Left faction Liberal MPs to lose their seats – including his “modern Liberal” mates David Sharma and Tim Wilson.
Working as a John Hewson staffer and Malcolm Turnbull acolyte, Mr Falinski is a spokesman for the Australian republican movement.
He was among the Liberal Left who pressured then PM Scott Morrison to commit to the economy-killing net-zero carbon target.
It is also reported he publicly defied former PM John Howard, calling on him to “welcome all boat people”.
Mr Argy, on the other hand, held the backing of Mr Howard and used his 2023 presidential campaign to target factional powers that were electorally crippling the Liberal Party.
“I will not allow our hard-working members to be treated like the enemy by the Party organisation,” he said in his campaign literature.
“Weaponising the Party constitution against branches and conferences for trivial non-compliances must stop – especially when egregious breaches by factional powerbrokers and selfish former MPs are conveniently ignored.
“We must accommodate a range of views and not demand political correctness nor appeasement of socialists and the woke – who would never vote for us anyway!” PC