In a leaked e-mail federal Liberal vice-president Karina Okotel excoriated the party’s Victorian branch over its shambolic state election campaign. In the e-mail, she accused state director Nick Demiris and party president Michael Kroger of ignoring warnings of impending defeat. Okotel, who is from the ‘conservative’ right of the Liberal Party, blamed them and others for basic errors such as sending postal voting forms to dead people, failing to provide campaign posters, and botching advertising. Okotel described them as “complete and utter fools” for running a campaign on a single issue: crime. Much of that was based on rhetoric around African gangs. Okotel stated that the party spent much time “preparing some really great policies but never told anyone about them”1. The e-mail was supposedly sent to a small number of recipients, and was presumably leaked to put pressure on Demiris and Kroger to resign. Kroger eventually caved in and announced his resignation at a Liberal Party state assembly meeting. One senior member at the meeting said it was a pity that Kroger hadn’t resigned six months ago2.
Okotel is one of four federal Liberal vice-presidents, and voted in favour of privatising the ABC at a meeting in June this year3. It is Okotel who is likely to replace the ‘moderate’ Jane Hume on the senate ticket for the federal election in 20194, given that she is the darling of the religious nutters who have taken over the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party. Okotel failed to gain a senate seat in 2016 when she was sixth on the ticket. However, with the current parlous state of the federal Liberal Party, and the stench of death about them, there is no guarantee she could make an impression.
Okotel has spent time in Uganda and has spoken out about the brutal anti-LGBTI regime in that nation. However, her sympathy only goes so far, as Okotel also fronted the failed ‘No’ campaign against the legalisation of same sex marriage. Her explanation of why betrays her mind-set. She stated that: “The Yes campaign have framed the debate as being about marriage equality but I think that misconstrues the issues. Same-sex marriage and heterosexual marriage will always be different, because marriage is for founding[?] and making children”. The reason she was in Uganda was because she was working for Baptist World Aid, and she is a church-going non-denominational Christian5. That is why she is the darling of the religious nutters who run the Victorian branch, she is one of their ilk.
Never do these religious nutters seem to realise that they might be the problem; that their taking over of a political party might make it unelectable; and that their insistence that everyone follow their precepts, might turn people off, especially as religion is declining across the western world. The slogan the Liberals went with during the Victorian election ‘get back in control’, while supposedly directed at the cost of living6, is also very telling when you consider the influence the religious have in the branch. They want to be in control, because religion is largely about control. Their direct influence on the Liberals’ Victorian election campaign was clear, particularly with the announcement of the ludicrous policy of re-introducing religious instruction into public schools6. If this is one of the ‘really great policies’ developed by the Liberals before the election, maybe they would have done better if they had told no-one.