4 December 2023

Hanson dumped, Castley new Canberra Liberals deputy following leadership spill

| Claire Fenwicke
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Leanne Castley MLA

Leanne Castley is the Canberra Liberals’ new deputy leader. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

Jeremy Hanson has lost the deputy leadership of the Canberra Liberals following a party room spill motion this morning (4 December). Leanne Castley is his replacement.

Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee said the decision wasn’t taken lightly.

“Going into an election year, it is more important than ever to have a leadership team that is in lockstep, and I know Leanne will support me 100 per cent and the direction we are taking to win government in 2024,” Ms Lee said.

“I thank outgoing Deputy Leader Jeremy Hanson for his work over the last couple of years in the position and look forward to working closely with Leanne as the Canberra Liberals put forward a fresh alternate vision for Canberra in the lead-up to the election next October.”

It comes a fortnight after conservative Canberra Liberals president John Cziesla lost a vote against an empty chair. However, he’s set to stay on for now, launching an appeal over the decision.

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Ms Lee said installing Ms Castley into the deputy leadership would ensure a strong leadership team ahead of the 2024 election.

“Leanne has been an incredibly hard-working and dedicated MLA during her time in the Legislative Assembly, not only as a local member but as a Shadow Minister for Health and Business,” she said.

“Leanne brings a unique set of skills and experience to the Deputy Leader role and I have no doubt she will be a terrific asset for me and the entire Canberra Liberals team.”

Ms Castley welcomed her new role, stating it was an honour to be elected.

“I look forward to taking on this new challenge and supporting Elizabeth as we head towards the 2024 election,” she said.

“I will hit the ground running and I am excited to work with the entire team in this new role.”

Ms Lee indicated there will be a reshuffle of Shadow Ministries, which will be announced in the coming days.

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Mr Hanson issued a brief statement in the wake of the leadership spill.

“I am disappointed to have been removed as deputy leader of the Canberra Liberals today,” he wrote.

“I will continue to work hard for our community as a loyal and passionate member of the Canberra Liberals team.”

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Bye bye Hanson, a Zed number of the right that has no concept as to what the voters of the ACT desire from a local government.

Watch this space because Zed failed in his bid for NSW senate , Zed vs Hansen vs Wheeler for ACT senate Preselection. All poor candidates with no real life experience who aren’t in step with the community of hard working voters. No more staffer hacks from the major parties running for office anymore please!!!

swaggieswaggie1:18 pm 05 Dec 23

This is the best news from the Liberals in a long time. Hanson is the worst kind of Pollie and Leanne Castley has ‘cut thru’ with far more of the electorate and has proved to be a terrific local MLA which will stand her in good stead.

William Newby9:54 pm 04 Dec 23

Our democracy is a joke, Labor will get 40% of the votes next year, Greens 10% and the deal will be done. The party that 90% of Canberra DID NOT vote for will continue to call all the shots here for another 4 years.
If the Liberals ever want to win the need to seed a second party that they can work with in the hope that they can secure 10% of the votes, the days of Liberal receiving 50%+ on their own are long gone.

Their days of receiving 50%+ on their own are long gone because of their own faults and their inability to listen to the electorate. Labor gets over the line each time, not because it is favored by voters, but because it is seen as the lesser problem of two mediocre parties.

You’re describing every democracy… if the leading party can’t govern outright then they form a coalition. The majority of ACT voters believe this is the best outcome and therefore keep voting them in. That is how democracy works.

Taking your solution, William Newby, this new seeded party can be to the left or right of the current Liberals. If to the right, then your argument about Greens influence is simply inverted with no prospect government would be gained anyway, unless the Libs themselves moved left. If to the left, I expect they would quickly supplant the existing Libs who would wind up as the right rump.

Either way, you are arguing for a more centrist party, or more independents. Right?

Ian De Landelles2:53 pm 04 Dec 23

Those of my vintage will well remember that for many years the ALP was critised as being unelectable federally as it was controlled by the ‘factions’.

In more recent times, it is well understood that all political parties, yes even the sanctimonious Greens, have factions and, as such, need to learn how to appropriately manage their internal machinations.

The dumping of Jeremy Hanson is a direct result of the turbulence currently pervading the rank and file of the Canberra Liberals and until that is resolved Elizabeth Lee has very little chance of becoming the Chief Minister.

For Liberals to offer an elctable alternative in the ACT , they need to replace the un-credible current leader, and with Castley aleady in place as Deputy, Elizabeth Kikkert is the natural choice…

Elizabeth Kikkert is a right-wing religious adherent. Her fanatical actions and speeches in the Assembly arguing against safe schools and LGBTQIA+ rights is shameful. She is also a devoted Jeremy Hanson supporter. Jeremy Hanson and Mrs Kikkert have never accepted Elizabeth Lee as leader and have both constantly and actively undermined her leadership. Mrs Kikkert has voted for Hanson in both party room ballots, first to become leader after the last election and this one to remain deputy.

Both Jeremy Hanson and Elizabeth Kikkert remain in the party and with nothing to lose, will continue to undermine Elizabeth Lee’s leadership!

There could only be one winner with this leadership team mismatch. Elizabeth Lee had no choice but to dump Jeremy Hanson! But who to come up with as deputy? Unfortunately, there is not much happening in the party’s talent pool and Mark Parton didn’t want the job. That left Ms Lee with only one choice, Leanne Castley. Way out of her depth, Leanne is from the conservative right wing of the Liberal party. She was a bitter disappointment in the opposition’s business and now health portfolios. Currently up against the very competent Health Minister Rachel Stephen-Smith, Ms Castley has much work to do to get her act together in the leadup to the election just under 11 months away.

But what happens to Jeremy and his cheer squad of excitable Young (and old) Liberal supporters from the far right and their extreme and toxic views? They still dominate the party as the recent AGM meeting revealed. There is also the party’s “woman problem” which was highlighted at the meeting. John Cziesla remains as president and is not going anywhere. Out of sorts at Jeremy losing the deputy position and never a supporter of Elizabeth Lee as leader they will continue to snap away on the sidelines, scheming and undermining the party and her leadership in the months to come.

What possibly could happen next?

“”the very competent Health Minister Rachel

Not sure what you mix with your morning coffee Jack, but sure wouldn’t mind some.

The very competent Rachel Stephen-Smith has been running rings around Leanne Castley to date. But we will see whether Ms Castley remains the opposition health spokesperson when Elizabeth Lee announces her reshuffle soon. I suspect not!

As I said, Ms Castley is well out of her depth and has much work to do to get her act together in the leadup to the election just under 11 months away.

And such a small talent pool to choose from!!

GrumpyGrandpa12:30 pm 04 Dec 23

There is a perception that to win government, the Libs need to take a jump to the left, and become politicially closer to the ALP. Maybe that thinking is what resulted in Jeremy Hanson losing his Deputy role?

There are a few clues that support that thinking in Ms Lee’s speech. “I know Leanne will support me 100 per cent and the direction we are taking to win government in 2024,” and
“… look forward to working closely with Leanne as the Canberra Liberals put forward a fresh alternate vision for Canberra in the lead-up to the election next October.”

There is a well known and I think wise statement that’s made about Australian politics and that is that “Opposition’s don’t win Government, Government’s lose it”.

Put simply, provided an Opposition appears credible and stable, eventually, their time will come. The ALP-Greens are hardly fresh and apart from “The Chief”, they don’t have a lot going for them, in my opinion.

I don’t know Ms Castley, and I think that is part of the problem. Jeremy Hanson is well known. He represents that issue of stability.

I’m not convinced that rearranging the deck chairs leading up to the 2024 election is that smart. Concentrating on the ALP-Green’s failures and offering an alternative, might have been a better strategy.

If the Liberal’s policies don’t overlap with that of the majority of voters then there’s bugger all chance you’re going to win. Why would anyone vote against their own beliefs just because the current party is feeling stale? It’s clear from previous elections that the Liberals have maxed out their voter base with their current policies so for them to win next year either: the Liberals shift slightly to the left so they can flip swing voters, the average voter shifts right for any number of reasons, or the current government shift away from their support base. We saw this with the last Federal election where Labor shifted a bit to the right and started to support lots of coalition policies which helped flip swing voters. Without that shift, almost no centre-right voters would flip their vote simply because Scomo was stale, it was because Labor moved towards them.

Leanne is a great MLA and is an inspired choice for deputy, great to see an all-female liberal leadership team heading into an election!

I agree. Can only be better with Elizabeth Kikkert as ACT Liberals leader…

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