Key figure in Victorian Liberals’ religious right faction quits post

A key member of the religious right of the Victorian Liberal Party has resigned from the party's top decision-making body.

Ivan Stratov stepped down from the powerful administrative committee, responsible for day-to-day management of the party, on Monday.

Ivan Stratov said he had moved to Ukraine for a religious mission.Credit:Youtube

Dr Stratov, a Mormon, has been an active recruiter in the religious conservative grouping centred around 30-year-old powerbroker Marcus Bastiaan.

The infectious diseases specialist said he had moved to Ukraine for a religious mission.

"Due to my relocation to Kiev to preside over one of our church missions, covering western Ukraine and Moldova, I am not in a position to continue my role on the administrative committee," Dr Stratov wrote in an email to party state director Sam McQuestin and president Robert Clarke.

"I need to devote my attention to the 69 missionaries and 17 congregations under my care and the missionary labors [sic] I have been called to perform."

The former Family First party candidate is the second member of the administrative committee linked to Mr Bastiaan's faction to resign this year, after Jean Hawkins quit in February.

The Liberals’ religious conservative grouping is centred around 30-year-old powerbroker Marcus Bastiaan.

In April 2018 Mr Bastiaan's grouping took control of the administrative committee, and then-president Michael Kroger was associated with the religious conservative faction. The group has since lost control of the party's organisational wing but still retains representation on the administrative committee and holds significant power in local branches.

A replacement for Mr Stratov, who was contacted for comment, would ordinarily be elected at a meeting of the party's state assembly, due to meet in September.

However, the assembly has been meeting remotely and not conducting ballots for positions, meaning a successor may not be installed until restrictions on gatherings are loosened and meetings can be held in person.

In an email to members of the administrative committee, state president Mr Clark said: "As a committee, we acknowledge the great time, energy and effort that Ivan has devoted to party matters during his time in office.

"On behalf of the party, I have wished Ivan and his family every happiness in the new chapter of their lives in the Ukraine."

Australians can travel overseas only if they receive a federal government exemption for one of six reasons, including: responding to the pandemic overseas, including through the provision of aid; essential travel for the operation of critical industries; receiving urgent medical treatment not available in Australia; urgent and unavoidable personal business; travel on compassionate or humanitarian grounds; and travel in the national interest.

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