“There's a lot we need to do in this party of ours. Our base is too narrow and so, occasionally, are our sympathies. You know what some people call us - the nasty party.”

A stark warning to the UK Conservative Party faithful by its first female chairman, Theresa May. Twenty years ago, the Tories received that wake-up call. The Liberal Party must heed this message today.

While it took another election loss before the Conservatives embarked on the change May outlined, with David Cameron as leader, I’m afraid the Liberal Party doesn’t have the same luxury of time in the era of social media, 24-hour news and populist pop-up parties.

In too many Australians’ eyes we are facing our nasty party moment. We’ve just seen an election dominated by coarse debates about trans kids, the safety and agency of women, climate denialism and integrity in politics.

These are issues where Liberals and liberal values can stand tall and on the right side of history. But instead, we retreated into our cave.

Back then, May warned the Tories that they could not “merely [represent] some mythical place called "Middle England"… as our country has become more diverse, our party has remained the same.”

And so, David Cameron set about “changing the face of the Conservative Party” – as he put it – and won the Tories government, one still in power today under Boris Johnson.

Cameron’s A-list worked to proactively find candidates that could both win elections and help a future Conservative government succeed. It’s a process that gave the Tories Liz Truss, Priti Patel and Zac Goldsmith.

While the A-list process – like Labor’s quota – isn’t entirely compatible with our grassroots pre-selections, it’s something that we can adapt. 

Whether our version of this process gives candidates an increased vote weighting or perhaps in target seats we say to members that they must choose a candidate from this list – it doesn’t matter. What matters is whether the Liberal Party’s answer to this question is ‘yes’: do we need to find different, diverse candidates to win? If we have that will, we’ll find a way.

Cameron’s reforms weren’t limited to the candidates being selected. All of a sudden, the Tories were leading on issues of the environment and climate, LGBT rights, civil liberties and equality for women. And they won.
They didn’t chase these policies despite conservative values. They embraced them because they had conservative values.

I’m working to save my party, and I know many good-hearted Liberals are doing the same. 

I’m confident new Liberal leader Peter Dutton will forge the right path – in his pitch for the leadership he articulated a liberal vision that has been missing for some years now. 

“We aren’t the Moderate Party. We aren’t the Conservative Party. We are Liberals. We are the Liberal Party,” he said. “We believe in families - whatever their composition. Small and micro businesses. For aspirational hard working ‘forgotten people’ across the cities, suburbs, regions and in the bush.”

Peter can lead, but we need our party to follow.

One last warning from Mrs May in Bournemouth, 2002.

“Our party is at its best when it takes Conservative principles and applies them to the modern world. It is at its worst when it tries to recreate a bygone age. We cannot bring back the past. “

We cannot bring back the past.

So, what is the future of the Liberal Party?

Our members. A membership reflective of modern Australia, broad-based and focused on the interests of all Australians and welcoming of all to join.

Nelson Savanh is the federal vice president of the Young Liberal Movement of Australia

The Young Liberal Movement of Australia has welcomed Budget 2022 delivered tonight by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg MP. The Budget is a win for young Australians, delivering a plan to keep Australia's economy strong, and secure a stronger future.

Budget 2022 builds on the Morrison Government's plan for a stronger future, which has delivered the lowest youth unemployment in over a decade.

The doubling of the Home Guarantee Scheme to 50,000 places per year, will help the thousands of young Australian's looking to own a home. This will help first home buyers to buy a home with a deposit as low as 5 per cent.

The Budget also provides record funding for education, $180 billion over the next 4 years. This commitment to education has already delivered 30,000 new University places in 2021.

The Budget also invests in protecting our environment as Australia moves towards net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Budget includes an additional $1 billion in world-leading marine science to protect our Great Barrier Reef, and more then $170 million for threatened species and habitat restoration for our koalas.

Clark Cooley, Federal President of the Young Liberals said "This budget is a win for young Australians, delivering a plan for a strong economy, and stronger future."

Mr. Cooley continued "The Morrison Government's plan is working for young Australians, with youth unemployment at the lowest levels in over a decade."

Mr. Cooley concluded "Budget 2022 is an investment in young people in this country. The Budget delivers more jobs, record investments in education and other essential services, and help builds the renewable energy technology that we'll need as we move towards a net-zero future."

The Young Liberal Movement of Australia this weekend at its Federal Convention in Hobart endorsed and formally adopted in full the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of antisemitism. 

The motion was passed unanimously.

The motion also recognised the important work of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) in fighting antisemitism on Australian university campuses; and called upon Australian political parties, universities, councils and other public bodies and organisations to also adopt the definition. 

The motion congratulated Prime Minister Scott Morrison and The Australian Government for embracing the definition.

Federal President of the Young Liberals Clark Cooley said “The Young Liberal Movement of Australia supports the IHRA definition of antisemitism and echo's the Prime Minister's statement that 'antisemitism has no place in Australia. It has no place anywhere in the world.'

“We can’t ignore the rise in antisemitism in Australia. It can be found in our universities, workplaces, schools and public.” Mr. Cooley said.

Mr. Cooley concluded “We must take a stand against antisemitism. This definition will help better understand and act against anti-Jewish hatred.” 

The move was welcomed by the Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) who congratulated the Young Liberal Movement on the passing of the motion. 

President of AUJS Natalie Gunn said “We commend The Young Liberal Movement of Australia for their unwavering support in recognising the importance of the IHRA definition of antisemitism and helping us in our fight against antisemitism.”

At the meeting of the Young Liberal Movement of Australia’s Federal Council, Clark Cooley was elected as the 47th Federal President, alongside Nelson Savanh as Federal Vice-President.

At the Federal Council, Cooley and Savanh were elected on a clear platform to:

  • Mobilise the Young Liberal campaign machine across Australia for the must-win federal election, state elections in South Australia and Victoria and critical New South Wales and Queensland by-elections.
  • Engage with new MPs and Senators about the Young Liberals’ role in our party and the value we bring to campaigns and policy.
  • Ensure Young Liberals have stronger represention within the internal structures and committees of the Liberal Party.
  • Advocate for the policies important to our members and ensure more young people find a home in the Liberal Party.
  • Create better experiences for all of our members to learn and engage with global campaign, media and policy experts.

Mr. Cooley said “It’s a honour to lead Australia’s largest and most active youth political organisation.”

“2022 will be a significant year politically. The Young Liberals will play a critical role in the upcoming Federal Election. We are ready to campaign to return a Liberal/National Government to ensure a strong economic and health recovery as we live with COVID-19.”

“Young Liberals will play a vital role in the upcoming South Australian State election and the Victorian State election later in the year.”

“The Young Liberals will in 2022 continue our efforts to attract, retain and promote women within our Movement and within the wider Liberal Party. We recognise that the attraction of women to the Young Liberals is essential for the success of our Movement.”

Former Federal Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the Young Liberal Movement include Minister for Foreign Affairs Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, former Attorney-General the Hon. Phillip Rudduck AO, Minister for International Development Alex Hawke MP, former Defence Minister the Hon. Christopher Pyne, Senator Claire Chandler, Trent Zimmerman MP, and Jason Falinski MP.

At the meeting of the Young Liberal Movement of Australia’s Federal Council, Michael Heydon (Western Australia) was elected as our Movement’s 46th Federal President alongside Clark Cooley (Tasmania) as Federal Vice-President.

At the Federal Council, Heydon and Cooley were elected on a clear platform to:

  • Upskill members and ramping up the Young Liberals campaign resources in anticipation of a critical Federal Election
  • Engage on the ground and remote campaigning for the Western Australian State election in March
  • Refresh the Young Liberals online presence to assist in attracting and retaining the next generation of conservative leaders
  • Continue to be a vocal advocate for Young Liberal values and our membership to government, members of parliament, the wider Liberal Party and the general public

Mr. Heydon said “It’s a privilege to serve as President of Australia’s most influential and active youth political movement.”

“The Young Liberal Movement has a proud tradition of advocating for our values within the Liberal Party and in public and I look forward to working with the new Federal Executive to do so.”

“Young Liberals will play a critical role in the upcoming Western Australian State election in March, and the next Federal Election.”

Former Federal Presidents and Vice-Presidents of the Young Liberal Movement of Australia include Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Marise Payne; former Attorney-General the Hon Philip Ruddock AO; Minister for International Development and the Pacific, the Hon Alex Hawke MP; Senator Claire Chandler, and Federal MPs Jason Falinksi and Trent Zimmerman

At their Executive meeting on 26 March 2020, the Federal Executive of the Young Liberal Movement of Australia formally adopted the Liberal Party of Australia's National Code of Conduct and Complaints and Dispute Resolution Policy. These documents were formally adopted by the Federal Executive of the Liberal Party of Australia in 2019 after extensive consultation and the Young Liberals are pleased to support their operation amongst the Party membership. 

The National Code of Conduct is available here: https://cdn.liberal.org.au/pdf/National%20Code%20of%20Conduct%202019.pdf

The Complaints and Dispute Resolution Policy is available here: https://cdn.liberal.org.au/pdf/Complaints%20and%20Dispute%20Resolution%20Policy%202019V2.pdf

At the weekend's meeting of the Young Liberal Movement's Federal Council, Jocelyn Sutcliffe was elected as our Movement's 45th Federal President alongside Alexander Lisov as Federal Vice-President.

At Federal Council, Jocelyn and Alex were elected on a clear platform to:

  1. Give the strongest possible support to the Queensland and ACT divisions in their crucial state and territory elections;
  2. Host a targeted Campaign Workshop Series alongside the Party's 2020 meeting of Federal Council; and
  3. Level up our Movement's policy advocacy via a range of submissions to government and a new Policy Blog.



The Federal Liberal Government has just announced that it will commission a review of freedom of speech, to be conducted by former High Court chief justice Robert French, at universities following the countless examples of the oppressive left shutting down debate and centre-right thought on campus.

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At the Liberal Party's Federal Council, a number of key policy motions put forward by our Movement were passed. This again highlights that we are making the case, leading the charge and delivering results.

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