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Young Libs take over key branches

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The Canberra Liberals' youth wing has taken over two of the party's key branches, forcing out executive members who have criticised senior party officials.

Young Liberals have won ballots to chair the party's largest branch, the central electorate branch, as well as its southern branch, with party members saying the division is in the midst of a civil war.

The Young Liberals, led by MLA Alistair Coe, were key to former Opposition Leader Zed Seselja’s victory over Senator Gary Humphries in the division’s controversial Senate preselection in February. 

The preselection process caused a bitter split in the party, with some members claiming they were unfairly denied the right to vote.

The ballots in the central and southern branches take the number of Young Liberals on the party's powerful 13-member management committee to five.

Mr Seselja is also expected to take Senator Gary Humphries seat on the council if he is elected at the upcoming federal election.


It is understood only three of the five have voting status within the Young Liberals' council.

Anne Ryan, who unsuccessfully contested the preselection for the seat of Canberra, has been ousted as the chair of the central electorate branch by Young Liberal, and staffer to Senator Eric Abetz, Josh Manuatu. Mr Manuatu previously worked for Senator Humphries.

Ms Ryan lost the ballot 54 votes to Mr Manuatu's 67.

Young Liberal Duncan McDonald beat Gary Humphries' staffer Ross Macdonald to the role of deputy.

Ms Ryan has been vocal within the party about the state of the division's finances and concerns the division could be trading insolvent.

The former chair has lodged a complaint with the ACT office of regulatory services about executive members being denied access to the division's financial statements.

In a scathing letter to Tio Faulkner, she also accused the party president of "making up your own set of rules as president" and complained management committee members had been told to sign confidentiality agreements before gaining access to paperwork.

In the southern electorate branch, Young Liberal Angela Samuels beat the recently elected James Daniels for the role of chair 39 votes to 27.

Young Liberal and Assembly staffer Chris Inglis is the new deputy.

It is understood that while Ms Samuels is a Young Liberal she is not a voting member of the Young Liberals council.

Mr Daniels had also questioned the division's finances amid concerns the party is carrying debts in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The former southern electorate branch chair was also among party members who supported a push led by former party president Gary Kent to have the February preselection overturned.

Mr Kent, who party officials have accused of deliberately damaging the party, is facing an internal investigation by the division for his actions during the stoush.

Before the branch elections, party members contesting the role of chair were given sample questions including how the party should deal with the former president.

Mr Kent has launched action against the division over access to paperwork about the preselection and party finances in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Comment was sought from party officials.