PM’s right hand man accused of ‘appalling behaviour’
A messy internal stoush has emerged within the highest levels of the NSW Liberal party, after the Prime Minister's right hand man was accused of "appalling behaviour" at high-powered party meetings.
Federal MP Alex Hawke, who represents the Prime Minister on the Liberal Party's State Executive, has been accused of "badgering" others on the executive and making "derogatory remarks" towards others.
The allegations were detailed in a two-page letter sent to NSW Liberal Party President Philip Ruddock on Monday by Sally Betts, another member of the party's state executive.
In the letter, leaked to The Daily Telegraph, Ms Betts said she was "incensed at the appalling behaviour" of Mr Hawke at the Liberal state executive meeting last Friday.
"It seems to be a continual occurrence at every State Executive meeting and I believe it has to stop," she said.
Among the accusations levelled at the Federal Minister, Ms Betts alleged Mr Hawke has repeatedly badgered and made derogatory remarks about the state executive's elected representatives.
The Daily Telegraph spoke to three State Executive members who corroborated the complaint.
One described Mr Hawke's recent behaviour at the party meetings as "farcical," saying the Mitchell MP was reverting to "schoolyard Young Liberal politics".
Another called his behaviour "petty, immature, and unbecoming of the Prime Minister's representative".
In addition to her role on the Liberal State Executive, Ms Betts is also the longest serving councillor on Waverley Council. She was described as being from the party's moderate faction. Mr Hawke is from the centre-right.
"Since Friday I have received quite a few messages, across the factional divide, thanking me for standing up to Mr Hawke," Ms Betts said in her Monday letter.
Curiously, Ms Betts also sent the letter to federal Labor frontbencher Linda Burney, seemingly in error.
Ms Betts said the "purpose" of the email was to ensure Mr Hawke reads and abides by a mandatory code of conduct governing party members and representatives.
In her letter, Ms Betts said she feels "privileged" to have been elected to the powerful state executive but said: "I do not enjoy attending unpleasant meetings when the behaviour is so bad".
"It is completely unnecessary and unacceptable," she said.
She stopped short of lodging a formal complaint about Mr Hawke's behaviour but threatened to do so if it continues.
A spokesman for Mr Hawke referred questions to the NSW Liberal party.
A party spokesman declined to comment, saying the issue was an internal party matter.
Ms Betts could not be contacted on Monday.
Originally published as PM's right hand man accused of 'appalling behaviour'