• Kristin Perissinotto

Let's talk about the Young Liberals

The Young Liberals, or Young LNP in Queensland, have a reputation. Depending on which side of politics you sit on, they either have the reputation of being a far-right leaning group known for often dangerous stunts and hateful language, or... you don't? idk, I don't even attempt to get into the minds of conservatives anymore. But the Young Libs have previously been so fucking problematic that even the Liberal Party has disowned them in various times and jurisdictions.

There's something particular about the Young Libs that goes further than just political differences. As a progressive voter, it goes without saying that I don't like the group. But it's more than just a difference in political opinion and the left vs. the right. The Young Liberals seem to attract a very specific type of person. This person is usually white, usually male, usually from an upper-class background, and privately educated. And they often have something very specific in common: they think they're the victim.

There's a huge uprising in members of the majority claiming to be oppressed in this "PC gone mad" world. One of my favourite quotes is 'equality, to the privileged, feels like oppression,' and this is definitely the case with the group I'm talking about.

It's the man who thinks he only missed out on a job because of a "diversity hire," not having the self-awareness to consider maybe he just wasn't the right candidate. It's the person who thinks oppression is not 'being allowed' to use slurs to refer to diverse groups in our community. it's the woman who thinks there's no need for feminism because 'women are already equal,' paying no mind to the fact that equalities she enjoys have been won by the feminist movement, and that women of colour, LGBTQIA+ women, women with disabilities, working-class, and poor women do not live the same life she does.

Young LNP member Barclay McGain, who lives in Brisbane, has been in the news after dressing up as Kyle Rittenhouse, the US teenager who shot dead two BLM protesters and was acquitted of all criminal charges, for a party. He posted a photo of himself in the costume on social media. He defended his costume, saying that those who took offence to the costume ‘need to learn to respect the rule of law,’ apparently unconcerned with the fact that, while Rittenhouse was found not guilty, the case remains an awful situation resulting in two lives being taken by the gun McGain replicated.

This wasn't the first time controversy has circled McGain, who is a staffer for Andrew Laming, the Queensland MP most well known for allegedly taking photos up womens' skirts. He was temporarily (it seems) fired from working for the LNP in 2019 after McGain posted a video he'd taken at Schoolies that was disgustingly disrespectful towards First Nations People. According to his own Facebook page, McGain was only out of a job in politics for just over one month - apparently, sins of this nature are easily forgiven in the LNP!

Now I don't mean to talk positively about the Liberal Party (I would NEVER), but the Young Libs are a particularly toxic offshoot of the party itself. Whether this is simply because they don't have the resources to cover up their bad behaviour or because they are young and inexperienced, or just because they truly are worse, I don't know. But they do have a stark and polarising image in the public eye, thanks in part to the political stunts by people like Barclay McGain.