Young liberals blame election defeat on climate inaction and ‘coordinated attack’ on net zero target

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<p><figcaption class=Photography: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

Young Liberals blamed “genuine inaction” for climate change and a “coordinated attack” by Coalition members who oppose net zero for the defeat of the Morrison government.

In a submission to the Liberals’ electoral review, the party’s youth wing called climate change an “important electoral issue” but also blamed the failure to recruit women and hand over a national integrity commission as causes of defeat.

The review, led by former federal director Brian Loughnane and Finance Minister Jane Hume, is looking into the Coalition’s worst result in 70 years, in which it lost 18 seats, including six liberal seats to independents.

The Young Liberals noted that the Morrison government “has succeeded in climate policy” by committing to net zero emissions by 2050, but said this has fallen short of action by state governments and comparable countries.

Related: More women than men voted against Morrison’s government in federal elections, poll shows

The public perception of the Coalition’s weakness in climate policy was “exacerbated by a coordinated public attack by some members of the government caucus against any action on climate policy”.

The submission quoted Nationals Senator Matt Canavan as declaring that net zero is “dead”; Colin Boyce, now Flynn’s deputy, describing him as “flexible”; and liberal senator Alex Antic labeling it a “slogan created by global bureaucrats and crony capitalists”.

Young Liberals have noted Coalition shifts in seats “directly impacted by the effects of climate change” and towards candidates advocating greater ambition, including Wentworth, North Sydney, Kooyong, Goldstein, Mackellar and Curtin.

“Liberal state governments have effectively neutralized the climate issue and successfully shifted the narrative around the climate to a liberal central force in the economy and job creation,” they said, citing the “proactive positions” of the New Wales governments of the United States. South and Tasmania.

Morrison’s government, by contrast, “seemed weak and, in many cases, ‘dragged kicking and screaming’ to get to this point.”

Related: Albanese declares Coalition ‘stopped in time’ after Labor Party climate bill passes House

On Tuesday, the Liberal party decided to oppose labor legislation for a 43% reduction in emissions by 2030, leading Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to accuse the party of being “stuck in time while the world heats up to its around”.

The Young Liberals said the party “failed to attract, retain and promote women”, putting forward fewer female candidates in the 2022 elections than in 2019.

“While the Liberal party has set targets to reach 50% women elected to parliament by 2025, the party has no national plan or strategy to attract, retain and promote women,” they said.

The submission proposed, following the lead of the UK Conservative Party, an A-list of candidates to be considered for targeted and incumbent seats to include at least 50% women.

The Young Liberals noted that the Morrison administration “broke its promise to deliver a federal integrity commission that drew a significant backlash in liberal constituencies.”

The failure “has been used effectively by opposition parties and candidates to undermine the effectiveness of our elected officials” – particularly by independents.

The presentation said that the campaign “failed to activate party members and non-member supporters to volunteer for our elected members and candidates.”

“Member disenfranchisement was most significant within the NSW division of the Liberal party following its failed pre-selection process.”

In NSW, shortlisting delays attributed to Scott Morrison ally Alex Hawke led to a last-minute intervention, allowing a three-person committee, including Morrison and NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet, to select candidates. .

Morrison defended the intervention as necessary to select candidates, including to protect now runner-up Sussan Ley from a pre-selection challenge.

One of the selected candidates, Katherine Deves, drew weeks of negative headlines for her stance on excluding trans women from women’s sport.

“The debate over transgender sports participation and religious discrimination was a distraction to the campaign and created unnecessary division within the Liberal party,” the submission concluded.

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