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Problems for local Liberals amid resignations and poor polling

Jul 6, 2023

Fractures in the Liberal Party in far Western Sydney continue to deepen, with the resignation of Blue Mountains Deputy Mayor Brendan Christie from the organisation and in the wake of the party’s recent election loss in NSW and as it continues to perform poorly in Federal polling.

Cr. Christie is the third councillor from the Blue Mountains in recent years following the resignation of former Cr. Chris Van Der Kley and Cr Daniel Myles, who now sits on that council as an independent. They quit the party in late 2020 saying the party had been overtaken by a pro-development faction.

His decision to quit the party follows an acrimonious public spat between independent Hawkesbury City Cr. Nathan Zamprogno, who is a longtime member of the Liberal Party and former Liberal council representatives, and HCC Mayor Sarah McMahon (Richards).

Members of the Liberal Party across the region, who spoke to the Hawkesbury Post on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said there was a culture of factionalism and bullying in the party that included pressure from senior party powerbrokers about how to vote on certain issues.

Chris Van Der Kley, Brendan Christie and Daniel Myles quit over toxic environment in the Party.

“I write to you today with a significant decision that weighs heavy on my heart. After careful consideration, I have made the difficult choice to resign from the Liberal Party and continue serving our community as an independent councillor,” Cr. Christie wrote on his Facebook page.

“It deeply saddens me to acknowledge that the values of classical liberalism and conservatism, which have guided my actions thus far, are no longer upheld within the party. Equally distressing is the toxic environment that has permeated our local party, where politicking and political games have taken precedence over the true purpose of public service. I want to stress that this behaviour is not from all party members, and I appreciate the support of the party members who have supported me through three elections.

“By resigning, I am making it clear that I do not endorse such behaviour which undermines the very essence of public service. I also want to assure my local community that my commitment to them has not wavered. I am immensely grateful for the trust and support you have placed in me over the past 11 years. Your input and feedback will continue to shape my decisions, as it has always done,” he said.

Cr Zamprogno last week issued a lengthy statement detailing attempts to have his membership of the Liberal Party revoked, a move he says was discreetly related to his opposition to the former Grose Vale bridge and road route that would have destroyed the Wilcox family farm. Cr McMahon replied using the Mayor’s page. More below…

Liberal Party move to expel Councillor over Grose River Bridge

Liberal Robyn Preston won the seat of Hawkesbury in the recent NSW election and holds it safely despite a swing of about 6% against her.  Labor Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman dramatically increased her once tiny majority with a 7.7% swing in the 2022 election, in the face of the second failed challenge by Sarah McMahon under her previous married name Richards. McMahon is now the partner of Richmond property developer and real estate agent Matthew Bennett, who is also an office bearer in the local Liberal Party which has the largest block in the HCC with four members.

Cr. McMahon is also a Vice President of the NSW State Liberal Party. She declined to comment on Cr Christie’s recognition: “You would have to direct….questions to Cr. Christie. He has not made contact with me regarding his desire to leave the party, ” she said.

 

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