Yesterday’s announcement by the state opposition leader that he was going to seek the expulsion from the Victorian Liberal Parliamentary Party Room of recently elected MP, the Hon. Moira Deeming MLC, did not exactly come as a major surprise to me.
Her prior high profile as a Melton Councillor, where she was outspoken as a rather monomaniacal critic of, and campaigner against, contemporary transgender issues, was strongly indicative of an inseparable attachment to an issue which is currently highly divisive, and from which she was not going to relent if she was given a broader platform.
Her preselection in the lead position on the Liberal Party’s Western Metropolitan Province (replacing the equally controversial incumbent, Bernie Finn) guaranteed that she was to get that broader platform.
And just like Yosemite Sam in his response to Bugs Bunny’s impersonation of Teddy Roosevelt, Moira was going to speak loadly and carry that bigger stick.
And use it too!
People in the know (after all, I am an outsider and don’t witness such things directly), have told me that many of the local Liberals of Western Metropolitan (which comprises an area covering 11 lower house seats) were dismayed that she was going to get the one seat out of the 16 in the area (11 lower house and 5 upper house) which is going to be won every four years by the Liberals.
One person, whose opinion I greatly respect, expressed fears that she was just so conservative in a confrontational way that she would either leave of her own free will to join Bernie Finn in the DLP, or be pushed out in a manner similar to that of our beloved former MLC (note to King Charles – where the blazes is Bernie’s much deserved knighthood????).
Her continued status as a Liberal, although not as an MP as such, now hangs in the balance, to be decided on Friday by her peers, who are to vote as to whether she deserves expulsion.
It has not taken long at all. The state election was less than 4 months ago, and she still has 11/12s of her term to sit in parliament.
The egregious conduct which has caused her to face expulsion was her prominent participation in an anti-transgender rally on Saturday. She hosted a prominent speaker from overseas in a rally which might most nicely be described as provocative. That a moronic mob of neo-Nazis chose to storm it and do their obscene salutes in public probably was not her intention, but she now has to wear the consequences of it.
If you want to participate in a debate on controversial issues regarding significant social issues, then it is important to try and do so respectfully, rather than provocatively. Doing so in a way which will attract morons to your cause in such a public manner and then pleading ignorance of the outcome is similar to unloading a truckload of cow manure in the middle of the street in summer and not expecting it to stink.
Quite a number of long term dedicated Liberals local to the Western Metropolitan area had grave reservations. One, Fred Ackerman, a decent fellow who had sought the endorsement himself, actually went as far as to resign and stand as an independent against her, to give local Liberals a conservative but non-confrontational alternative. [I disagree with his decision and the optics of it, but I can see why he did it.]
Quite a number of others chose to support Mr Ackerman by campaigning for him. Several have already been served with notices to show cause as to why they should not be expelled from the volunteer arm of the Liberal Party, and apparently others are awaiting such notices.
I am advised that Moira and her cohorts took photographs of those apostates and then demanded that the Liberal Party State Administrative Committee take disciplinary action against these people (none of whom actually claim a material benefit from being members, but whom usually are in the habit of donating much time and money over many years to that cause).
How does that all sit now? The number two on the Western Metropolitan ticket got up (which has only ever happened once before), but the divisiveness which has been caused through the election of Moira at number one is going have lasting effect. She is going to hold that seat for another 3 years and 8 months, and she has, with the ear of the party administrative committee prior to Saturday, forced the start of proceedings which will force out some long term Liberal Party members from an area of Melbourne where active Liberals are rarer than koalas. Losing such members, on the basis of a single transgression, is going to do lasting damage to the Liberal Cause right across the western suburbs of Melbourne.