Stunned, reeling, humiliated and rejected, the Liberal Party’s leading lights have been quick to attribute Saturday’s defeat to their Canberra colleagues’ dumping of Malcolm Turnbull. Quadrant Online readers are invited to endorse or dispute that view in our comments thread
The Garden State’s Liberals are offering a rather narrow range of explanations for their party’s sweeping defeat. As the tallying pushes several Labor candidates closer to taking seats their party has seldom or never held before — Caulfield, Sandringham, even Range Rover-infested Brighton — the blame game is in full swing.
As counting continues it appears at this Sunday morning after the night before that the Liberals will be reduced to something like a 28-seat rump in the 88-member lower chamber.
Senator Jane Hume sees the recent change of prime ministers as having repulsed voters, attributing the loss to “the disruption that was caused by the loss of Malcolm Turnbull.”
Liberal member for Kew Tim Smith, hanging on in the count by his fingernails, also cited discord amongst his party’s Canberra colleagues.
“When you’ve got federal politicians talking about themselves and their various ambitions that hasn’t helped our party like it didn’t help Labor during the Rudd-Gillard years and that’s damage that we at the state level have to deal with,” he said.
Shadow Attorney-General John Pesutto, who learned on-air that he will likely be turfed from the formerly blue-ribbon seat of Hawthorn, assured his approving ABC hosts that the road to a Liberal revival veers to the left, also painting the Turnbull garroting as the reason Victorian voters have told him and so many others to launch new careers.
“It is just the disruption that was caused by the loss of Malcolm Turnbull,” he said while praising Liberal opposition leader Matthew Guy for being an inspirational team leader.
Then there was Upper House MP Mary Wooldridge, who also bemoaned a purportedly conservative party’s indulgence of members and functionaries on the right.
“There has been a takeover of the administrative side of the party — the membership side of the party — by a small but dominant group who are very right-wing,” Ms Wooldridge told ABC Radio Melbourne, while urging “genuine Liberals” to keep the faith.
Quadrant Online readers are invited to voice their opinions on why the Liberals lost and lost so badly, and what their party should stand for.