An internal inquiry by the WA Liberal Party has ruled there will no disciplinary action taken against Upper House MP Nick Goiran over his conduct in leaked WhatsApp messages between members of a faction known as The Clan.
Mr Goiran and the complainant, the party’s Melville and Attadale branch, were on Wednesday informed the Appeals and Disciplinary Committee had unanimously dismissed the complaint, officially ending a nine-month probe.
The decision comes in the same week the WA Liberals officially referred property developer Nigel Satterley — a vocal critic of Mr Goiran and other Clan ringleaders Peter Collier and Mathias Corman — to the same disciplinary body.
The party’s Clan-aligned Fremantle division instigated the move against Mr Satterley over his social media outbursts, fundraising activities for WA Labor and for hosting a dinner for Curtin’s Independent MP Kate Chaney ahead of the Federal election.
If the complaint against Mr Satterley is substantiated, the Satterley Property Group chief executive could have his membership of the party’s Peppermint Grove branch torn up.
The complaint against Mr Goiran came after The West Australian last year published hundreds of pages WhatsApp messages that showed how an alliance of powerbrokers seized control of candidate pre-selections, appointments and constitutional changes.
It’s understood the disciplinary committee found the complaints against Mr Goiran had been unsubstantiated due to a lack of evidence the South Metropolitan Region MLC had actually breached any party rules or procedures in the messages.
Remarks criticising other WA Liberal members that Mr Goiran made privately in the chat group were also not sanctioned as they were made between 2016 and 2018, before the party nationally adopted a new code of conduct in late 2019.
A faction pushing for party reform to weaken the influence of The Clan always doubted Mr Goiran would be sanctioned, despite the disciplinary body’s composition changing late last year to include three members appointed by State president Richard Wilson.
Committee chair Tim Houweling, the director of Cornerstone Legal, voluntarily chose not to participate in the deliberations, which reduced the number of members to five, which included lawyer and Sky News commentator Caroline Di Russo.
I am re-energised about the prospect of giving this task my undivided attention absent the distraction of a baseless complaint.
Mr Goiran was was given approval by party headquarters to issue a statement on Wednesday, in which he said was pleased he had been “cleared of all charges in a unanimous decision” by the disciplinary committee.
“Whilst I respect the right of any member to lodge a confidential complaint, I was disappointed that this matter found its way into mainstream media on no less than five occasions,” his statement continued.
“Despite this, I have continued to strictly adhere to our party rules, and it is a relief to once again have the license to speak freely with my family, staff and friends who have all been unwavering in their support, despite only being privy to leaked misinformation.
“As Shadow Attorney General, I have a heavy parliamentary workload to uncover and expose the Government’s multiple breaches of privacy, waste of taxpayer funds on failed litigation and endless use of emergency powers.
“I am re-energised about the prospect of giving this task my undivided attention absent the distraction of a baseless complaint.
“It remains a great honour to serve alongside my hardworking colleagues in the State Parliamentary Liberal Party, under the leadership of David Honey and Libby Mettam, as we collectively fulfil our duty to hold the McGowan Labor Government to account on behalf of every Western Australian.”