1 March 2024

Canberra Liberals' empty chair woes over, GoBoat founder Nick Tyrrell voted in as party president

| Claire Fenwicke
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Nick Tyrrell

GoBoat Australia founder Nick Tyrrell is the Canberra Liberals’ new president. Photo: GoBoat Australia.

Canberra Liberals members appear ready to put the past behind them following a decisive vote for its new party president.

GoBoat Australia founder and former NSW party staffer Nick Tyrrell won the position 177 votes to 116.

It appears to be a win for the party’s more moderate members, with the tone overall appearing to shift away from its harder right.

The desire for change was first signalled at a rowdy AGM last November where longstanding president John Cziesla, who had the backing of Zed Seselja and Jeremy Hanson, was booted for an empty chair 117 votes to 122.

Mr Cziesla launched an appeal against the decision, which was ultimately unsuccessful.

At Wednesday (28 February) night’s meeting, Mr Tyrrell was up against party stalwart Arthur Potter.

It’s understood Zed Seselja wasn’t at the meeting, although several of his family members were. Jeremy Hanson appears to have kept out of this contest as well.

Mr Tyrrell’s victory seems to signal to the party’s more hard-core conservatives that times are changing.

“It was obvious by the margin that even some of the old guard switched sides to back change,” one member at the meeting told Region.

“The mood in the room was positive about moving on from a difficult few years with a united and energised party.”

Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee said Mr Tyrrell brought a “wealth of experience” to the role.

“He is a successful local business owner raising a young family here in Canberra, and he has previously held a number of political positions – as councillor, in the office of former NSW Premiers, and working in campaign headquarters,” she said.

“Nick will be a big asset to the Canberra Liberals as we head toward the election in October this year and I look forward to working closely with him to bring about a Liberal government.”

It follows a continued message from the party that it is more moderate than in previous years.

Mr Hanson lost his deputy leadership position in a party spill in early December.

Ms Lee’s shadow cabinet had a big shake-up a few days later when Mr Hanson lost all his shadow portfolios.

He was relegated to the backbench along with Ginninderra MLA Elizabeth Kikkert.

It’s understood that their more conservative lean was part of the reason the changes were made.

Original Article published by Claire Fenwicke on Riotact.

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