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The Canberra Times, 30 May 2014

ACT News

Is this the Young Liberal vision for Canberra?

By Tom McIlroy
Legislative Assembly reporter at The Canberra Times



Private schools caning pupils, the abolition of ACT self-government, licences for cyclists, a privatised ACTION bus network and minimum sentences for child sex offenders.

Is this what life in Canberra would be like if the Young Liberals were in charge?

A set of policy proposals to be considered by ACT party members suggests private schools "should be offered the option of disciplining students through corporal punishment, with the use of a cane".

It calls for the ACT Government to be stripped of all legal authority until territory voters support a referendum proposal establishing self-government, and says a national sex offenders' register should be established with full public access.

It also calls for all public housing to be privatised and tenants to be subject to a voucher system.

The ambitious policy document, obtained by The Canberra Times, is to be debated at a June 14 Young Liberals meeting at the Australian National University.

Despite reading like a broad-based, right-wing political manifesto, the document's 23 individual motions will be debated as part of policy development. The document is divided into three sections: local, federal and "nanny state".

If carried, some of the motions may be considered at future Liberal Party conferences.


ACT Young Liberals secretary James Baillie declined to comment on the document circulated last week.

The Canberra Times understands some Young Liberals are critical of the proposals and are concerned the group is being overrun by hard right-wing sentiment. Some members are believed to be disillusioned with the Young Liberals policy process.

Debate will follow the group's general meeting and a proposal to adopt the federal Liberal Party's logo in place of one showing the facade of Canberra's Parliament House.


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