A staffer for Senator Eric Abetz who has pledged to stand up for Australia Day is set to take the reins of the federal Young Liberals movement.
Josh Manuatu, of Canberra, was elected president at the group's annual general meeting in Brisbane on Sunday, alongside new vice president Mitchell Collier from Queensland.
The 27-year-old has worked as a staffer in federal politics since 2008, and was formerly president of the ACT Young Liberals branch. He is the first Canberra president of the Young Liberals in 25 years, and the second in its 51-year-history.
Having grown up in Goulburn in a single-parent family, he said it was hearing former prime minister John Howard speak about opportunity for everyone, regardless of their circumstances, that first drew him to the Liberal party.
Now leading the charge into three upcoming state elections, Mr Manuatu said he would implement a fresh strategy that drew on lessons from past campaigns.
"Just recently in [the] Bennelong [byelection], we had between 500 and 600 Young Liberals on the ground at any one time, so we were able to have a huge amount of influence," he said.
"We also sent some [members] over to the UK and New Zealand to discover what they do, and we'll be working to share learning and knowledge more."
Right now, the ranks of the Young Liberals were holding steady at about 10,000 members, he said.
"We're the biggest youth political movement in Australia."
For the past four years, the group has also held two seats on the federal executive of the Liberal Party, where they can raise issues directly with the Prime Minister.
It's been a year to the day since Mr Manuatu first joined the executive, then as vice president for the Young Liberals.
Now taking the wheel, he has pledged to stand up for "young aspirational Australians", focussing on reducing government debt and improving workers' rights.
He said young people's voices needed to be heard more often on the house floor.
"I think it's hugely unfair for our generation to have to pay back the welfare bill of today," Mr Manuatu said.
"Government services need to be administered as efficiently as possible but, clearly if health and welfare is taking up more than half of the budget, they could be administered better."
He said left-wing and socialist groups were becoming "increasingly strident" in Canberra, and it was time for people to defend traditional institutions such as capitalism, free speech and freedom of religion.
"Young Australians love our country and want to celebrate Australia Day," he said.
Mr Manuatu has previously written about his experience of opposing same-sex marriage as a gay man, but said the debate had left many conservatives weary.
"Our institutions have stood the test of time but now they're under attack," he said.
"The fact you can't make a reasonable contribution to the public discourse without being called a bigot, like Minister Dutton's very sensible comments about the African gang problem the other day."
Mr Manuatu came under fire himself for an opinion piece he wrote in 2016 defending anti-immigation remarks made on national television by Channel Nine presenter Sonia Kruger.
He later said he supported Ms Kruger's right to hold such an opinion rather than the proposed ban on Muslim migration itself, despite linking an "open-border approach" with the public hanging of gay people in the Middle East.
Federal Senator Zed Seselja, a former Young Liberal, threw his support behind Mr Manuatu on Sunday.
"The Young Liberals are a vital part of the Liberal Party ... and we always have an open door when it comes to hearing from them about their policy priorities," Senator Seselja said.
Half of Cabinet were former Young Liberals, and knew how hard the movement worked to elect Liberal governments, he said.
"Having worked closely through the Canberra Liberals with Josh, it is pleasing to see his work ethic and commitment to Liberal values be recognised," Senator Seselja said.
Earlier this month, several prominent Liberal ministers launched a stinging attack on the the head of the NSW Young Liberals, Harry Stutchbury, over his stance on housing affordability.