A veteran member of the Liberal Party’s fundraising bastion — the 500 Club — has called on the organisation to withdraw support for WA’s Federal ministers over their lack of action on GST share and other issues.
Wealthy property businessman Julian Stawell says he believes the club has been “too cosy” with the senior Liberal politicians and needs to use its influence to agitate for more “advocacy”.
In a stinging letter to 500 Club chief executive Peter Harris, Mr Stawell referred to Julie Bishop, Michael Keenan, Christian Porter, Mathias Cormann, Ken Wyatt and Michaelia Cash as the “Canberra Six” and accused them of being “sycophantic to the Canberra establishment”.
His letter to the club, which has donated millions of dollars to the Liberal Party since forming in 1986, has been widely circulated this week to all WA Federal Liberal MPs and the business community.
“The Canberra Six need to be publicly held to account by the parliamentary leader of the WA Liberal Party as not being effective advocates for their electorates,” Mr Stawell wrote in relation to WA’s paltry share of GST.
“They need to stand together as one and force the issue to a head.”
He said that if they failed to effect change, the Federal ministers should resign from the frontbench to prove they put the electorate ahead of “their own lust for ministerial leather”.
“Perhaps grassroots Liberals need to get organised to effect the disendorsement of these aforementioned MPs if they do not act,” Mr Stawell said. “Will the 500 Club play a role in this?”
Mr Stawell quit the club last year in protest but rejoined this week to “push for change from within”.
He told The Weekend West that many members had contacted him in support.
“It’s been one of those organisations that’s very cosy and I think it needs people to speak up and remind the MPs they are elected to represent us and not just to become a minister,” Mr Stawell said.
“Good luck to them provided they are doing a good job for WA.
“Clearly those people have gone into their positions and kept their traps shut.”
He said the 500 Club was in a position to do more than have lunches and guest speakers.
“I think the 500 Club can agitate more,” Mr Stawell said.
“You get to the stage where you think, what do you have to do to make these people understand what needs to be done.”
The 500 Club confirmed receipt of Mr Stawell’s letter but declined to comment.