Factional divisions in the Liberal Party are coming out of the woodwork at the ANU. This last month has seen the establishment of the Progressive Liberal Students’ Association, aligned with the moderate wing of the Liberal Party, as a counterpoint to the existing ANU Liberal Club, which like the Canberra Liberals is dominated by members of the more conservative Right faction.
It appears that the new Progressive Liberal Students’ Association is comprised of students who, dissatisfied with the lack of moderate Liberal student representation on campus, began a society to redress that lack. Dispelling rumours that there had been a split in the ranks of Liberal-minded students at the ANU is that fact that the Association’s members have never been members of the ANU Liberal Club.
The Secretary of the Progressive Liberal Students’ Association, Lachlan Chislett, said that the society was intended as a forum for discussion and debate. He projected that the Association would invite speakers and host regular drinks.
The association is now affiliated with ANUSA, although this reporter has heard that there were difficulties in doing so. This is due to the fact there was a pre-existing ANU Liberal Club: ANUSA held concerns that the two clubs were too similar in name.
This difficulty appears to have been clarified and Mr Chislett indeed affirmed that the Progressive Liberal Students’ Association was happy to collaborate and work with the ANU Liberal Club. “There are two Labor clubs, so why not two Liberal clubs?” he said.
Neither the Progressive Liberal Students’ Association nor the pre-existing ANU Liberal Club are formally affiliated with the Liberal Party.
The President of the ANU Liberal Club, Lizzy Lambert, did not respond when contacted for comment.