Home / World News / WA Libs’ evangelicals likened to ‘a cancer’ by Federal MP who says they are close to a complete ‘takeover’

WA Libs’ evangelicals likened to ‘a cancer’ by Federal MP who says they are close to a complete ‘takeover’

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, it has been revealed 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.”

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