NSW Liberal party branch charging $110 for fundraising dinner featuring One Nation’s Mark Latham

An appearance by the outspoken upper house MP is being spruiked by the party’s Roseville branch

A New South Wales Liberal party branch is charging voters $110 a head to listen to Mark Latham discuss the proposed Indigenous voice to parliament at a fundraising dinner.

The controversial One Nation upper house politician is being spruiked for the 9 December event, despite key Liberal figures – including the state’s treasurer, Matt Kean – heavily criticising comments by the former federal Labor leader, who became a rightwing commentator before entering NSW parliament.

The Liberal senator for the Northern Territory, Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, also features on the invitation for the Northern Sydney Conservative Forum event, which is being run by the party’s Roseville brach. The invite notes Price “is opposed to the ‘Voice’”.

The invitation touts Latham as an “controversial and always outspoken” MP who “constantly scrutinises the government’s actions”.

The event is described as a state fundraiser on behalf of the branch, which is on the city’s teal-threatened north shore. The ticket includes a two course meal with wine and fruit juice.

A party spokesperson defended the decision to book Latham, saying it was important to hear from of a diversity of voices.

“Liberal branches hold many events on different policy topics, such as reconciliation and the plight of remote communities, with a variety of speakers,” the spokesperson said.

“The party does not endorse ever person who speaks at an event – but it is important to be open to hearing different voices, even if we disagree with them, provided they are constructive and respectful.”

The deputy opposition leader, Prue Car, questioned Kean on the event during question time on Wednesday, asking how he could defend “such absolute hypocrisy”.

“I always stand against racism in any form in this house. We shall stand against it,” Kean responded.

“It should never have a place in Australian society.

“There’s no way I’d be inviting Mark Latham to one of my [events].”

The same Liberal branch in 2017 invited Cory Bernardi to ­address their members amid party infighting on the subject: “Is the party over?”.

Latham has repeatedly raised concerns over the Indigenous voice to parliament proposal.

“So the Albanese referendum proposal is to write a blank cheque for the parliament and politicians to determine the powers and role of an Indigenous Voice,” he posted on social media in July.

“That could mean anything, including infringements on private property rights, a full-scale treaty, rewriting Aust (sic) history etc.”

In June, Kean told parliament Latham pedalled “conspiracy theories” and was “Pauline Hanson’s patsy in the upper house”.

The environment minister, James Griffin, was also asked during question time if he supported the use of Latham to raise funds for the party.

He told parliament the question has been answered by the treasurer and refused to answer for himself.

Opposition leader, Chris Minns, accused Kean of hypocrisy.

“Matt Kean is nothing but a hypocrite – taking shots at Mark Latham to try and win teal votes one day, while the NSW Liberals look to raise money off him the next,” he said.

In 2017, Latham and suspended former Liberal MP Ross Cameron were slated to headline a Liberal fundraiser in then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate.

The NSW Liberal party has been contacted for comment.


Tamsin Rose

The GuardianTramp

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