PRESSURE is building within the Victorian Liberal Party for an audit of every member paying a concessional rate following revelations of enrolment irregularities ahead of this weekend’s close-fought Brighton preselection.Investigation revealed irregularities in the enrolments of almost two dozen members associated with Brighton electorate chairman Marcus Bastiaan. Liberal Party state director Simon Frost has this week struck out several delegates from Saturday’s preselection because they are not properly enrolled in the party. The move came as Victorian Liberal Party president Michael Kroger backed Mr Bastiaan in the row that has split the party, telling him he did not believe there was “anything terribly unusual” about the delegates in Brighton. Mr Kroger has written to the Herald Sun seeking to shift the blame for the enrolment irregularities on to the shoulders of the jailed former state director Damien Mantach and the people in charge of the party before he became president. “In the years leading up to November 2014, when some of the members in question joined, it was a decision for Mr Mantach and the then party executive as to whether members were entitled to join as couples, students, pensioners etc,” he wrote. “Perhaps he was busy concentrating on other matters and as usual no one noticed what he was or was not doing.” Members of the party’s powerful administration committee are coming under pressure from grassroots members to check whether every member on a concessional rate is entitled to be paying one. Mr Bastiaan is believed to favour charging a single rate for all members whether they are working, students, retired or unemployed.
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