Respected Liberal Party of NSW member and mortgage broker, John Ruddick, has received a potential five-year ban from the party following comments he made last week on ABC current affairs show, the 7:30 Report.
In the original interview, Ruddick called for the Prime Minister’s ban on lobbyists holding party positions to be extended, but his ten-second interview apparently caused a great deal of offence, with Liberal Party NSW state director, Mark Neeham, claiming the interview comments were ‘unauthorised’ and that, as a result, Ruddick would be suspended.
Ruddick has been a Liberal Party member for 20 years and last year won almost 40% of the vote as runner-up for the NSW party presidency.
In the latest interview, he tells ABC reporter Matt Peacock he’s shocked at the response.
“I was only on your show for 10 seconds. They are suspending me for five years because I'm the biggest threat to the factional stranglehold that they've had in decades.”
The issue began several weeks ago, when prime minister Tony Abbott announced that he was banning registered lobbyists from party positions. Ruddick responded by arguing that the ban should go further.
“People who are registered lobbyists have now resigned, but there are a significant group of people who are in-house lobbyists, and, you know, well - if these reforms that I'm proposing come, that they wouldn't be able to serve.”
These in-house lobbyists include the state president, who lobbies for online gambling. Ruddick declined to discuss the latter issue, but his comments were nevertheless considered volatile enough to warrant the suspension.
In the suspension letter, Neeham writes that he didn’t authorise Ruddick’s interview with ABC and that the punishment for Ruddick’s perceived misstep includes the suspension.
Ruddick was unable to be contacted by Australian Broker in time for today’s deadline, but according to last night’s interview he is now emailing 10,000 Liberal party members, warning them of his possible suspension.
“My database grows all the time. I am going to tell the members, I'm going to have a rort week, looking at it in a case study, and I'm going to look at people, individuals who are members of Parliament and who are on the state executive, I'm going to have a case study do demonstrate why they would not win under a democratised merit-based party.”