A bat­tle of the SECTS

Libs’ evan­gel­i­cal in­fil­tra­tion


THE lat­est at­tempt by evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tians to tighten their stran­gle­hold on the WA Lib­er­als has failed after a show­down for con­trol of a north­ern sub­urbs branch of the party.

Fol­low­ers of True North Church, which has as­sets of more than $14 mil­lion, con­tested ev­ery po­si­tion in the Sor­rento-Dun­craig branch at its an­nual gen­eral meet­ing on Satur­day.

But they lost the fight for the key po­si­tions of pres­i­dent and trea­surer.

On top of this lat­est po­lit­i­cal move by ul­tra-con­ser­va­tive Chris­tians, The

Sun­day Times can re­veal that mem­bers of Globalheart — a Pen­te­costal or­gan­i­sa­tion that backs Fed­eral Lib­eral MP Ian Good­e­nough — now con­trol five branches in the party’s Moore divi­sion.

The pres­i­dents of each branch are dis­ci­ples of Globalheart, which is also the place of wor­ship for Mayor of Joon­dalup and for­mer WA Lib­eral gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Al­bert Ja­cob.

At least two other evan­gel­i­cal churches — Free­way Church and One Church Perth — have se­nior peo­ple run­ning Lib­eral Party branches and di­vi­sions north and south of the city.

Some se­nior Lib­er­als fear “the Pen­te­costals in the north and Bap­tists in the south” have be­come so dom­i­nant at branch and di­vi­sional levels of the party that they will soon con­trol the pre-se­lec­tion process for Lib­eral can­di­dates.

“This should be a call to ac­tion for Lib­eral-think­ing peo­ple to join the party, turn up to branch meetings and make sure the can­di­dates we se­lect are rep­re­sen­ta­tive of broader com­mu­nity hopes and as­pi­ra­tions,” said high-pro­file Lib­eral Party mem­ber and for­mer Cham­ber of Com­merce and In­dus­try chief Dei­dre Will­mott.

A Fed­eral Lib­eral MP, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied, said “the evan­gel­i­cals” were like “a can­cer” in the party and close to a com­plete “takeover”.

“There is a cosy al­liance be­tween power­bro­kers of the party and the Pen­te­costals and the Bap­tists,” the MP said. “It suits their short-term po­lit­i­cal pur­poses.”

Re­cently-re­tired Lib­eral Party pres­i­dent Nor­man Moore re­peated his con­cerns about the po­tency of the evan­gel­i­cal “so­cially con­ser­va­tive” churches within the party’s grass­roots.

“The Lib­eral Party is a broad church and happy to wel­come any­one from any re­li­gion to join,” he said. “The con­cern I would have is if one par­tic­u­lar re­li­gious sect, no mat­ter who it might be, would seek to im­pose its views on the party in ways that would af­fect the sec­u­lar ways of the party.”

Mr Good­e­nough con­firmed the True North mem­bers were stand­ing to “sup­port me and the Lib­eral Party” and that he had a long relationship with the church. But he said the fight for con­trol of the Sor­rento-Dun­craig branch was more about long-stand­ing Lib­eral hos­til­i­ties in the north­ern sub­urbs rather than re­li­gion.

True North pas­tor Dean Groet­zinger said he was un­aware that some mem­bers of his church were run­ning for Lib­eral Party po­si­tions. “We will never align with any po­lit­i­cal party be­cause we don’t think any po­lit­i­cal party is ca­pa­ble of rep­re­sent­ing Je­sus to you,” he said. “This is a case of in­di­vid­u­als be­ing in­ter­ested in pol­i­tics.”

mem­bers Ian Good­e­nough with True North

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