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Australia Nicolle Flint slams Liberal membership move as 'undemocratic' amid party tensions

11:31  12 june  2021
11:31  12 june  2021 Source:   abc.net.au

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a person posing for the camera: Liberal MP Nicolle Flint described moves to block memberships as © Provided by ABC NEWS Liberal MP Nicolle Flint described moves to block memberships as "undemocratic". (ABC News: Matt Roberts)

South Australian Liberal MP Nicolle Flint has slammed her party's state executive, describing a decision to deny memberships to some recent applicants as the "most extraordinary and undemocratic act" in her time in politics.

The comments come amid tensions between conservatives and moderates within the SA branch of the party in the wake of recent reform bills in SA Parliament, including over euthanasia and abortion.

An email obtained by ABC Radio Adelaide's David Bevan asked that prospective members whose applications had been rejected sign statutory declarations committing them to certain requirements if they wished to reapply.

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Those requirements included that they support all candidates and agree to be bound by the party's constitution.

Pastor Rob Norman said he and other churchgoers at Southland Church at Pasadena had received the email, which he believes stems from a recent service at the church attended by several conservatively aligned Liberal MPs.

"I feel this is targeting socially conservative people who desire to engage with the Liberal Party," Mr Norman said.

"If the Liberal Party is not the natural home of socially conservative people, which party is?"

Nicolle Flint, who is the federal Member for Boothby and is aligned to the conservative faction, strongly condemned the party executive.

"The decision of the Liberal SA HQ state executive today to deny membership to new members is the most extraordinary and undemocratic act I've seen in my time in politics," she tweeted late yesterday.

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Ms Flint said it was not the type of action she expected of the party she "joined all those years ago".

The ABC has contacted Ms Flint for further comment.

In a statement, the SA Liberals said an "audit" of new members was being conducted.

"Following a number of incidents, including new members saying that they don't support endorsed Liberal candidates, the party has agreed to undertake an audit process of new members," State President Legh Davis said.

"Those who clearly support the party's constitutional objectives and endorsed candidates will be welcome as members."

Asked whether it was routine practice for new members to sign statutory declarations, Premier Steven Marshall today said he did not "have details of that".

"What I do know though is that there was a meeting of the state executive yesterday and they have put some new arrangements in place," he said.

Mr Marshall did he know how many membership applications had been revoked or rejected, saying that was a "Liberal party matter, not a political party matter".


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This is interesting!