By Mitchell Clarke
A group of Young Liberals were officially inducted by the Liberal Party of Victoria on Friday 28 June, claiming they’re proof that “not all young people are far-left socialists who are for high taxes and a nanny-state Government”.
President of South Eastern Young Liberals James Moody said the group is dedicated to mobilising support of young people within Melbourne’s booming south-east.
“This group will have a variety of functions, both more formalised and along the party lines of the wider Liberal movement, as well as events more informal, social and fun that aim to attract young people to become more involved politically,” Mr Moody said.
“We really do want to make a difference within the wider local community.”
Mr Moody said his sole purpose for entering politics was to fulfil the opportunity to give back to communities in Berwick and Pakenham.
“Whether its sporting clubs, scout groups, shows or other events, the capacity we have as an organisation to get young people involved and helping those in our community is assuredly incredibly invaluable,” he said.
Wanting to have lasting impact in the region, the Young Liberals branch are hoping to get involved in local issues from roads and congestion to education and sporting clubs.
“We are at heart a political group, we will actively campaign at all levels of government to ensure candidates are put forward that best prioritise Liberal ideals and we believe will best serve their constituents,” he said.
“The simple reason we have chosen to represent the Casey-Cardinia region is that this is our home. The vast majority of our members live in one of the two cities, went to school here, and even were born here.”
It’s been decades since a branch has been dedicated to the region, with Mr Moody saying it’s the right time to “stop the talking and actually go about reinstalling what promises to be a pivotal part of the local community”.
“There used to be Young Liberal branches in both Berwick and Pakenham, yet they closed well before the turn of the century,” he said.
“Many candidates over the years began their participation in the wider party through the Young Liberals.”
The group claims they play an “undoubtedly crucial part of the wider party framework” despite rises and falls in prominence over the years.
Working under a Liberal banner, the biggest thing for the group is to bust congestion in the area, stating the rapid development in the area won’t be alleviated without urgent attention.
“The development of newer, better roads, more accessible public transport and a more tempered approach to land development is probably needed,” he said.
“Another thing we’d really like to see in this area is the energising of young people to community involvement.
“Berwick, Beaconsfield, Officer and Pakenham all have an array of clubs, communities and groups that serve various interests, but they’re all crying out for young person involvement.”
The group currently has 51 people signed on as part of the Branch, with Mr Moody aiming for members to rise into triple figures by next year.
“I think this is quite attainable considering the size and population of this area,” he said.
“Quite frankly, I don’t think we should put a cap on how far this thing can go.”