3 July 2024

Wagga Liberals branch president suspended as leader takes a zero-tolerance approach to 'bad behaviour'

| Chris Roe
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Mark Speakman has meted out more punishment after comments from Wagga Branch President Rob Sinclair.

Wagga Liberals branch president Rob Sinclair has been suspended in the wake of public comments about leader Mark Speakman. Photo: Supplied.

The fallout from the NSW Opposition leader Mark Speakman’s unheralded visit to Wagga continues with a second casualty joining Nationals MLC Wes Fang in the Coalition naughty corner.

Coalition sources have confirmed that Wagga Liberal Party Branch President Rob Sinclair has been stood down by the party following comments published in Wagga’s The Daily Advertiser.

Mr Sinclair has been suspended for six months, meaning that he can no longer serve in leadership roles or on committees and will not be eligible for the upcoming election of office-bearers at the end of the year.

READ ALSO ‘I’m Mr Wagga’: Fang unimpressed by Liberal backhander as the Coalition avoids a split

The sanction comes a day after Speakman and NSW Nationals Leader Dugald Saunders agreed to end a standoff that had threatened to split the Coalition.

Saunders had challenged Speakman over his attempt to punish outspoken Nationals MLC Wes Fang, who had publically criticised the Opposition Leader on social media.

Fang was removed from several junior roles in the Shadow Ministry after describing Speakman’s visit to Wagga as “underhanded” and criticising the fact he had not informed his local Coalition ally of the impending photo-op.

Mr Speakman declared on Tuesday (2 July) that “I won’t tolerate bad behaviour from any of my team, and I insist on the best behaviour possible”.

In his Facebook critique, Mr Fang noted that the local Liberal Party branch also appeared to have been overlooked.

“The local Liberal branch has had to organise Tony Abbott to come here to meet with members in a few weeks, yet weren’t bothered to organise an event with the current leader, even when he is actually here in #WaggaWagga,” he said in the now-deleted post.

“That should tell you everything you need to know about the longevity of ‘Speako’s’ leadership.”

Mr Sinclair was quoted in The Daily Advertiser on Monday, expressing sympathy with Mr Fang’s position and suggesting that he too had been snubbed after requesting a meeting with the party leader but not receiving a reply.

READ ALSO Riverina’s biggest pubs and clubs to follow new gambling machine measures

Mr Sinclair was voted in as branch president in December of 2022 with Richard Moffatt and Rosina Gordon elected as branch vice-presidents.

As well as serving as president of the general branch, Mr Sinclair was the secretary of the State Electorate Conference (SEC), a delegate to the Federal Electorate Convention (FEC) and served on three committees.

While there has been no official comment from the Wagga Liberal Party Branch, a vote will be required to choose his replacement.

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And the Libs and Nats circus continues. Give them the flick and vote Labor. It is blatantly obvious the Libs and Nats have no respect for workers and battlers of Wagga.

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