Liberals have been slammed for 'doing the numbers' for preselections after pushing ahead with an internal meeting while NSW faces an unprecedented fire crisis.
Liberals have been slammed for 'doing the numbers' for preselections after pushing ahead with an internal meeting while NSW faces an unprecedented fire crisis.

Liberals fiddle while NSW burns, insiders claim

The NSW Liberal Party has been accused of "fiddling" while the State burns after pushing ahead with an internal party meeting about local government preselections, instead of focusing on the fires.

Liberal Party insiders have lashed out at the Local Government Oversight Committee (LGOC) chairman Peter Poulos, who is the senior policy Adviser to the Minister for Energy and the Environment Matt Kean, and Deputy Chairman, Charles Perrottet, brother of the treasurer Dominic, for attempting to force through the meeting tonight at party headquarters.

NSW Liberal Party member and deputy chairman of the State Liberal’s Local Government Oversight Committee Charles Perrottet.
NSW Liberal Party member and deputy chairman of the State Liberal’s Local Government Oversight Committee Charles Perrottet.

A last-minute intervention by State Liberal Party president Philip Ruddock stopped the meeting going ahead.

A spokesman for Mr Ruddock said the meeting had been organised last year, but given the current circumstances with the fires, the meeting has been postponed.

But insiders said it showed a lack of "compassion and political judgment" and Mr Kean's office should have been all hands on deck dealing with the fallout from the fires which includes 4.2 million hectares burnt, thousands of homes, facilities and buildings destroyed and residents left without power.

 

More than 4.2 million hectares have been burnt in NSW. Picture: Rohan Kelly
More than 4.2 million hectares have been burnt in NSW. Picture: Rohan Kelly

 

"At this point in time everyone in the NSW Government should be focused on helping people impacted by the fires and rallying around to help them, not fiddling with local government preselections," they said.

"The Premier needs to intervene in this matter."

Mr Kean's office has been contacted for comment.

 

NSW Energy and Environment minister Matt Kean. Picture: Supplied
NSW Energy and Environment minister Matt Kean. Picture: Supplied

 

NSW Liberal Party President Philip Ruddock cancelled the meeting at the last minute. Picture: Mick Tsikas
NSW Liberal Party President Philip Ruddock cancelled the meeting at the last minute. Picture: Mick Tsikas

 

It is understood the committee meeting was due to go ahead tonight at 5pm, despite protests it is inappropriate to meet about non-urgent party matters while the state is facing such a crisis.

The agenda for the meeting in east Sydney, included timetables and procedures for preselections, funding, and constitutional changes.

It is understood the LGOC includes former Young Liberals leader Harry Stutchbury, and member Aaron Henry and the secretary is Dallas McInerney, the NSW Catholic Schools boss.

 

Former NSW Young Liberal President Harry Stutchbury (R). Picture: Britta Campion.
Former NSW Young Liberal President Harry Stutchbury (R). Picture: Britta Campion.

Revelations about the State Liberal Party meeting come after Senior NSW Liberal Andrew Constance attacked the Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and said he got "the welcome he probably deserved" when he was heckled by angry residents in a bushfire-ravaged town.

There are still more than 130 bushfires ravaging the State and threatening areas from the central coast to the Blue Mountains and the south coast.

Greens MP David Shoebridge said if politicians were being called to Sydney it should be to discuss immediate assistance for bushfire victims and meaningful policy not "doing the numbers" for preselections.


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