A violent brawl has broken out overnight during a Liberal Party branch meeting in Sydney’s south, which saw at least one man hospitalised after sustaining serious injuries. The meeting was being held at a café in the Sydney suburb of Arncliffe, which is reportedly owned by Liberal Party member Michael Nagi — who is also an elected councillor in the Bayside Council local government. The fight allegedly began as a result of attempted branch stacking, with factional allegiances rising to the surface as a number of outsiders were brought to the meeting in an attempt to seize control of the branch. Several of the attendees were reportedly prevented from entering the meeting, which then led to blows being exchanged amongst a number of different combatants.
In the wake of the incident, the New South Wales Liberal Party has released a statement condemning the actions of those involved. “The Party will fully cooperate with the police in relation to their enquiries. An internal investigation will also be undertaken and disciplinary action taken against those responsible”, according to the statement. The ugly stoush is just the latest manifestation of internal instability within the Liberal Party, as the party’s New South Wales division in particular, continues to be rocked by factional rivalries. With the next Australian federal election due to be held at some point before the end of 2019, the Australian people are now faced with the choice of a deeply divided Liberal Party, or a similarly dysfunctional Labor Party. Perhaps it is time to break the duopoly of Australia’s two major parties.