Young Liberals (Australia)

Young Liberal Movement
President Claire Chandler
Vice President David Howard
Founded 12 December 1945 [1]
Headquarters Cnr Blackall & Macquarie St
Barton ACT 2600
Mother party Liberal Party of Australia
International affiliation International Young Democrat Union

The Young Liberal Movement is the youth movement of the Liberal Party of Australia representing Liberal members aged 16 to 30.[1] The party is organised with events, policy and elections for each state, as well as a national executive and delegate system. The organisation is also a founding member of the International Young Democrat Union.


The Young Liberal Movement was first formed on 12 December 1945, just a few months after the official inauguration of the Liberal Party on 31 October in the same year, and, as for the Party proper, much of the credit for its creation can be attributed to Sir Robert Menzies. The formation occurred through a meeting at the Melbourne Town Hall, at which 750 people were present.[2] However, the Young Nationalists Organisation, also founded by Menzies in Victoria, and which became part of the Liberal Party at its founding, can be seen as its earliest form.

In 2007, the QLD division of the Liberal Party of Australia and the QLD National Party merged to become the Liberal National Party of Queensland. As Part of this merger process the Queensland Young Liberals and the Queensland Young Nationals were merged to become the Young Liberal National Party (Young LNP). The Young LNP is effectively the Queensland division of both the federal Young Liberals and the Federal Young Nationals, and is the largest division of each of these movements.

In 2011, for the first time in 10 years, the right faction lost the presidency of the NSW Young Liberals with the assistance of Federal MP Alex Hawke.[3]

Make Education Fair

In February 2008, the Young Liberals launched a campaign titled Make Education Fair that alleged there was bias in the educational system.[4][5] The Young Liberals were motivated by comments by former Prime Minister John Howard who said "The left-liberal grip on educational institutions and large, though not all, sections of the media remains intense".[6]


In response to the campaign, the Senate announced an Inquiry into Academic Freedom [7] in June 2008 with the Inquiry Into Academic Freedom - Parliament of Australia terms of reference.[4] Others described the campaign as a "witch hunt" or McCarthyism, and as an attack on the professionalism of academics.[8] In response to Make Education Fair, the National Tertiary Education Union said "there is no evidence of widespread left-wing bias" [9] and launched its own campaign entitled "Academic Freedom Watch".[10] The President of the NTEU dismissed the accusation that academics are running their own agendas in the classroom as "nonsense".[6] New South Wales Greens politician John Kaye said "any school or university educator who expresses an opinion would be at risk from the young Liberals plan to create a McCarthy-ist environment on campuses and schools"[11]

Young Liberals' in the media

In 2005, the Young Liberals in Melbourne attracted media attention for their antisocial behaviour at social functions and accusations of rivalry between the Australian Liberal Students' Federation and the Young Liberal movement.[12]

On 17 July 2006, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Four Corners program broadcast allegations that factional leaders within the Liberal Party in New South Wales had been used "as the foot soldiers in factional warfare in which control goes to the faction which has the most branches."[13][13] Former federal Liberal leader John Hewson expressed his concern that in more recent times, the right faction had taken control of the Young Liberals in New South Wales in an "extreme right takeover", that "in my day as leader the Young Liberals were a burr under my saddle from the left" whereas now they had come to support the agenda of right factional leaders such as David Clarke.[14]

Conservative Sydney Morning Herald columnist Miranda Devine said after the program was broadcast that the shift to the right within all areas of the Liberal Party simply reflected the political climate of the Howard era, and suggested that the moderate faction was merely angry at losing influence because "the left has controlled the NSW Liberal Party for more than two decades and always regarded the Young Liberals as its personal breeding ground." [15]

In July 2006, Young Liberal Movement was the subject of controversy after the ABC's Lateline program aired footage from the 2005 National Union of Students' conference in Ballarat. The video showed Liberal students chanting "We're racist, we're sexist, we're homophobic". The president of the New South Wales Young Liberals released a statement condemning the outbursts.[16]

During a conference for Liberals in July 2008 in Canberra, about 40 university students from the Australian Liberal Students' Federation - some of them Young Liberals, were thrown out and banned from a youth hostel after an all night drinking rampage and disruptive behaviour, including some of them being caught having sex in the hostel.[17][18]

In April 2010, Nick Sowden, a Young Liberal National party member from Queensland, likened US President Barack Obama to a monkey on his Twitter account. After a backlash, Sowden responded by saying that it was a poor attempt at irony that had been taken out of context. As a result of the comments, he was expelled from the party.[19] Further controversy arose in June, 2010, when a member of the Young Liberal National Party organised an event via Facebook to celebrate the ill health of former Australian Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam. The event, which 17 members of the Young Liberal National Party are reported to have subsequently attended, aimed to celebrate that...”the old man is old and nearly dead [former PM, Gough Whitlam], he got sacked, and he is shit....So lets (sic) celebrate and be happy”.[20][21]

In September 2012, during a Young Liberals dinner in Sydney, Alan Jones spoke concerning the death of the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard's father, John. Jones said that Mr Gillard had "died of shame to think that his daughter told lies every time she stood for parliament". Jones' speech was secretly recorded by a News Limited journalist.[22]

For more details on this topic, see Alan Jones "died of shame" controversy.

In April 2014, during hearings by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (New South Wales) into the alleged corrupt conduct of MP Chris Hartcher, it was revealed that a Hartcher staff member who is also Young Liberal member set up a "black ops" team inspired by the movie Fight Club with the intention of destroying political opponents.[23]

In August 2014, Young Liberal students from Melbourne University were reported to have been posting misogynistic, crude and racist comments on their Facebook page. One comment in particular referred to, 75 year old academic, Germaine Greer as a "lying f---ing c-m guzzling slut".[24][25]

In September 2015 a New South Wales Young Liberal Council meeting caused controversy after an alleged altercation occurred. Young Liberal and member of the conservatives Jakov Miljak allegedly grappled Moderate James Camillieri following a debate over the Liberal Party of Australia leadership spill, September 2015. [26] The following day Mr Miljak resigned from his part-time employment with Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells.[27]

See also


  1. 1 2 History: Young Liberals
  2. Australian Young Liberals. "About the YLM - Young Liberal Movement of Australia". Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  3. Johnson, Stephen (31 July 2011). "Right loses grip on NSW Young Liberals".
  4. 1 2 25 June 2008 12:00AM (25 June 2008). "Libs push for bias probe | The Australian". Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  6. 1 2 "Meet the new vanguard in culture wars - National". 2008-04-01. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  7. "Senate tests academic freedom - Herald Sun". 26 June 2008. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  8. Josephine Tovey (10 October 2008). "Academics rally against Young Liberal 'witch-hunt'". Sydney Morning Herald. Fairfax Digital. Retrieved 2008-10-10.
  9. "Tertiary union denies accusations of left-wing bias - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". 1 April 2008. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  10. "The World Today - Inquiry into academic freedom accused of bias". Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  11. "Young Liberals on university 'witch-hunt' - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". 1 April 2008. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  12. "Feathers fly at Young Liberals' shindig - National". Melbourne: 2005-08-02. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
  13. 1 2 Cohen, Janine (2006-07-17). "Program Transcript - The Right Stuff". Four Corners. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2006-07-20.
  14. Cohen, Janine (2006-07-17). "Interview - Dr John Hewson". Four Corners. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2006-07-20.
  15. Devine, Miranda (2006-07-20). "Rough play won't spoil the party". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2006-07-20.
  16. Stewart, John (19 July 2006). "Footage released of 'racist' Young Liberals". Sydney: Lateline. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
  17. - Drunken Liberal students thrown out and banned from hostel
  18. Crikey - Two Ts Whittney a Young Lib with libations
  20. See: As Future Leaders Go Not Much to Rejoice About, Bella Counihan, National Times, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Brisbane Times, June 1st,
  21. 31 May 2010,
  22. "Gillard refuses to be drawn on Jones controversy". ABC. 3 October 2012. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  24. "Misogynist rants from Young Libs". The Age. Fairfax Media. 10 August 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2014.
  25. "Why the Coalition will never win over Australian women". Fairfax Media. 11 August 2014. Retrieved 18 August 2014.
  26. "Young Liberal meeting turns violent after leadership spill". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2016-01-10.
  27. "When putsch came to shove: Young Liberal faces expulsion after factional debate led to tussle". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2016-01-10.
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