Intaj Khan saga: Dreams dashed, again

"He needs to work for the party before we try him."

We all love to ‘dream big’ and achieve them by all means. However, some dreams always seem to slip out of our hands. Something similar has happened to the Liberal ticket aspirant and former councillor of Wyndham City Intaj Khan.

Mr Khan needs no introduction to the political and social circles of Victoria for multiple reasons.

Thursday evening’s Liberal Party Administrative Committee meeting bought bad news for Mr Khan, who has applied for preselection for the outer-western Melbourne seat of Tarneit for the November 2022 state parliament elections.

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Don’t be confused, we are not talking about Labor Party pre-selection it’s for the Liberal party ticket!

But, but when did Intaj Khan make the switch from Labor to Liberal?

Oh, while you were busy saving your business or job because of the after-effects of the pandemic, multimillionaire Mr Khan was busy planning for his political future after being told by one of the most influential power brokers in the Labor Party that Premier Daniel Andrews doesn’t want him around.

There is a saying when the ‘Captain’ shuts the door on you, good idea is to find another team. Realising no prospects in Labor Party, Mr Khan resigned very quietly in the year 2019.

When your chips are down you rely on friends to bring some opportunity to push you back in the game, Mr Khan also has a friend Goldy Brar with access to the Liberal Party ‘captain’.

Intaj Khan and Goldy Brar; Image Source: Facebook @Intajkhan

Indian Australian Goldy Brar is a former adviser to Liberal leader Matthew Guy when he was Minister for Planning from December 2010 to 2014. Both came close as the then councillor Mr Khan was in-charge of the planning portfolio for Wyndham City Council.

Fast forward to the year 2022, Goldy Brar arranged multiple meetings with Mr Khan and Mathew Guy; before Mr Guy agreed to induct Mr Khan into the party.

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Two highly placed sources who don’t want to reveal their identity told The Australia Today that Mr Khan made a promise to bring the multilingual Muslim communities in Melbourne’s western and northern suburbs to the Liberal Party’s fold. He also agreed to spend a substantial amount via his real estate networks in the election if he gets a Liberal ticket from the western seat of Tarneit.

The proposition was really interesting for both the aspirant and the captain, but there was a catch. Mr Khan lives in the western suburb of Tarneit and local Liberal Party leaders in these branches were preparing for elections and didn’t like the idea of Intaj Khan joining the party and taking their spot.

Intaj Khan, Goldy Brar and Mathew Guy; Image Source: Facebook @GoldyBrar

Goldy Brar was once again instrumental in finding a way with the help of captain Guy and Mr Khan joined the eastern electorate of Bulleen’s branch as a member of the Liberal Party.

I want Tarneit

Tarneit electorate is one of the most multicultural seats in the victorian parliament with a significant number of Indian Australians. The local residents have shown their anger and frustration on many occasions over the lack of political will to fix issues of lack of facilities in this electorate.

Probably seeing these concerns, Labor Party’s current Tarneit MP Sarah Conolley has decided to move to the Laverton electorate and a non-local candidate Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) organiser Dylan Wight has been parachuted to fight for Tarneit.

The Australia Today understands that there were several direct and indirect communications between senior Liberal party leaders from western suburbs who were opposing Mr Khan’s induction and Liberal leader Mathew Guy.

After a lot of deliberations, a compromise was reached in mid-April. As per this compromise formula, Intaj Khan was almost certain to get the Liberal Party’s endorsement for the Tarneit electorate.

Intaj Khan and Mathew Guy; Image Source: Facebook @IntajKhan
What went wrong for Intaj Khan?

As per a Liberal insider, after this compromise formula was reached, Mr Khan started introducing himself as the Liberal candidate for Tarneit, organised meetings and posted big boards in Tarneit.

The insider also told The Australia Today that Mr Khan invited Mr Guy twice to Wyndham for community interactions but not once local liberal leadership was invited to participate in it.

Another insider told The Australia Today about an announcement made by Liberal leader Mathew Guy in Mr Khan’s party that he will facilitate a call of ‘Azaan on special days’ via loudspeakers, this became really upsetting for local Islamic leadership in Wyndham.

After which, party insider says, Islamic leadership had made it known to the Liberal leaders that such an important announcement should have been made at an appropriate place and in the presence of the wider Muslim community.

(In a video posted on Facebook Mr Mathew Guy can be heard saying the Islamic community in Victoria should be allowed to voice “Aazan” via loudspeakers on religiously important days to them.)

The Australia Today understands that post has been deleted from Mr Khan’s Facebook profile.

Intaj Khan and Mathew Guy; Image Source: Facebook @IntajKhan

The Australia Today understands a lot of phone calls were made by Premier Daniel Andrew’s Muslim community outreach team to Islamic leadership in western and northern suburbs reminding them of the Victorian Labor government’s support.

After this incident, a lot of prominent Liberal voices from northern and western suburbs raised their concerns about Mr Khan’s candidacy to Mathew Guy.

The Last straw

As a Liberal Party member, one is allowed to apply for preselection from any electorate regardless of the branch they represent.

Intaj Khan applied for pre-selection for the Tarneit electorate two weeks back, but again there was an issue with party rules as he only joined the Liberal Party in March 2022.

Intaj Khan advertisement; Image Source: Facebook @IntajKhan

As per Liberal Party rules: “To be eligible for endorsement applicant must have been a Member of the Party for the whole of the 12 months immediately preceding the close of applications unless the Administrative Committees decides by a three-quarters majority.”

Of course, Mr Khan was made aware of this rule and he applied for an exemption from the all-powerful Administrative committee.

Thursday 16th June evening, Liberal Party’s Administrative Committee meeting was held which sealed Mr Khan’s fate at least for this Victorian election.

The Australia Today understands that Liberal Party’s Administrative Committee unanimously rejected Mr Khan’s exemption application saying that “he needs to work for the party before we try him.”

Party leader Mathew Guy is a member of the administrative committee, however, he didn’t attend Thursday’s meeting.

The Australia Today tried to contact Intaj Khan however he declined to comment.