Mathias Cormann left WA Liberals ‘in a mess’: Mike Nahan

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On Wednesday he refused to answer any questions from media, saying he was now in a non-partisan role, but defended his time as a member of the party.

“I’m not a party political commentator, it would be totally inappropriate for me to make comments,” he said.

“I stand by my record as a senator for Western Australia.

“I can put my hand on my heart and say at all times I did the best I could, for the right reasons in the right way.“.

Cormann said the timing of his visit was not linked to the Liberals’ state conference, but rather because his children were on European school holidays.

Before the lunch, former Barnett government treasurer Nahan said Cormann had left the party in a mess as the head of the Clan.

“He took the Paris option. Good on him, I hope he does a good job, he’s got a lot of work to do, but he left a mess behind in the Liberal Party – the party that got him to where he is,” he said.

Asked whether he should pull Clan members into line, Nahan said Cormann should keep out of party matters altogether.

“No, stay out. Stay out,” he said.

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Nahan said he attended the lunch to hear about OECD matters.

“I can separate [Cormann’s] actions as the leader of the Clan from his responsibility as the head of the OECD,” he said.

Nahan is part of the recently formed Liberal Reform Coalition which includes other former ministers Norman Moore and Bill Hassell.

A factional tit-for-tat has been playing out in media in the lead-up to the state conference with Clan-aligned party members calling Moore and Nahan senile and criticising the LRC for pursuing its own influence over the party rather than adopting meaningful reform.

The party will vote on a range of constitutional reforms this weekend aimed at reducing branch stacking behaviour, which included plebiscites for candidate selection and restrictions on how membership fees are paid.

Constitutional reforms require at least 75 per cent of the vote at the conference to pass, meaning the LRC could thwart any changes presented it believes do not go far enough.

The LRC has been vocal in calling for the party’s constitutional reforms to go further than the options being presented at this weekend’s conference.

An email from Nahan and Moore sent to the party’s membership base on Wednesday afternoon laid out a key amendment to pre-selection processes that would be moved at the conference at the weekend.

It would see one delegate added to the preselection committee for every 15 members in a branch.

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The change would increase selection committees from six members to a scaled model that would change depending on the size of the branch.

The state president’s role is also up for re-election and current president Richard Wilson urged the party to re-elect him to steer the reforms.

In a letter sent to party members this week, Wilson said the WA Liberals were at their lowest point in history.

“We need to take decisive action to reset the Liberal Party’s direction and win back the support of voters,” he said.

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