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Shadow Minister says Liberals will elect a new federal president as Chris McDiven is not expected to seek another term.



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It may not have been checked against the broadcast or in an y other way. Freedom from error, omissions or misunderstandings cannot be guaranteed.

 

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AM

 

Tuesday 11 December 2007

Shadow Minister says Liberals will elect a new federal president as Chris McDiven is not expected to seek another term

 

TONY EASTLEY: For a federal president of the Liberal Party, Chris McDiven kept a pretty low profile, and she is now expected to sink without a trace. 

 

The Liberal Party's Federal Executive will meet tomorrow for the first time since the election, and Ms McDiven is expected to announce her intention to be replaced at the next Federal Council meeting to be held as early as February. 

 

Names being suggested to replace her include the Victorian Liberal Michael Kroger, the former Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, and even older names from the past, former ministers Richard Alston and Peter Reith. 

 

Senior Liberal frontbencher Nick Minchin spoke to Peta Donald about tomorrow's meeting. 

 

NICK MINCHIN: I understand Chris McDiven will indicate her intentions at that meeting, and as I understand it, she would not be seeking another term as federal president. And therefore at the next meeting of the party's superior governing body, the Federal Council, the Federal Council will need to elect a new federal president. 

 

PETA DONALD: Now, I understand that that meeting will be brought forward to perhaps as early as February. Does that mean that the party is not happy with Chris McDiven and this is a way for her to go earlier than otherwise? 

 

NICK MINCHIN: No, it should not be seen in any ways, any reflection on Chris McDiven, it's a matter for her to decide whether she wishes to seek another term. No one wants to see her either pushed or to do anything that would reflect on the great service she's given the party. 

 

PETA DONALD: There are some in your party who say she has not been a strong president and that other presidents in the past of the Liberal Party would have had more gumption to stand up to John Howard and to tell him that he should have gone earlier that he did. What do you think of that view? 

 

NICK MINCHIN: I think that's ridiculous. The federal president should never interfere in the affairs of the parliamentary party. John Howard had the clear support of the parliamentary party to lead us to the last election, and it is the duty and obligation of the Federal President to respect the wishes of the federal parliamentary party and support the leader of federal parliamentary party and not interfere in the affairs of the parliamentary party. So, it would have been quite wrong for Chris McDiven to do anything and quite properly she did not. 

 

PETA DONALD: Who would you like to see as the next Liberal Party president? 

 

NICK MINCHIN: If she does not seek re-election and we need a new federal president, then I think we need someone who does a broad consensus support within the Liberal Party, someone who can work effectively behind the scenes to support the parliamentary leader and the federal parliamentary party and ensure that our party organisation is capable of making us a competitive force at the next federal election. 

 

PETA DONALD: What about Michael Kroger, some are saying that he is emerging as a consensus candidate. 

 

NICK MINCHIN: I don't want to speculate on any names and you know, a few have been bandied about. I haven't spoken to Michael, he's rejected the proposition in the past. I'd be surprised given that rejection in the past, of any interest, that he'd be a candidate but, you know, as I say, the issue is the criteria and that is that there is consensus support for someone who will work behind the scenes, not see to compete with the federal parliamentary party, but to support the parliamentary leader and the parliamentary party and ensure that we have an organisation capable of maximising our vote at the next federal election. 

 

TONY EASTLEY: Liberal Senator Nick Minchin speaking to Peta Donald.