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After Victorian Irrelevance, Will Dutton Challenge Morrison?

The Victorian election has absolutely no implications for the upcoming federal election. None! And it can’t be considered in anyway an indictment of the decision to dump Malcolm Turnbull.

I know this, because as the results came in, any Liberal MP who had a media gig was pretty clear that this was a state election fought on state issues and the dumping of Turnbull was in no way responsible. Like the Wentworth by-election, it had nothing to do with their overall standing in wider Australia. It was just some untypical people expressing their views on something that wasn’t the Federal Coalition. Nothing to see here, move on.

Actually, I was waiting for one of them to blame Malcolm Turnbull for not coming to Victoria to campaign, given that was the main reason that they lost Wentworth. However, I guess it would be hard to complain given how little interest the boys in Canberra took in the Victorian result. As Josh Frydenberg told us: “Scott Morrison and I and other federal colleagues didn’t play an active role in this campaign, and it was fought on state (issues).”

In case you’re wondering why they didn’t, you have to remember that Scottie had a bus to catch in Queensland, and Josh found moving outside his seat of Kooyong too stressful because people keep mistaking him for Peter Dutton. Still, I wonder if the same commentators who bagged Turnbull for not campaigning will have anything to say about the lack of “an active role” from Morrison and others.

Frydenberg was in fine form all round last night, trying to suggest that the Liberals couldn’t have expected to win by pointing out that no first-time government in Victoria who had a majority for their entire term had been dumped in over hundred years. Note that there are several qualifiers there, such as “Victorian” and had a “majority for the term”. Otherwise, it’s not much of a point to say that no first-term government had been thrown out of office since 2014 when the Baillieu/Napthine lost. It’s not even a straw to clutch at, when you say, “This hasn’t happened since the most recent election”!

Josh seemed to have learned from the Victorian Liberals that running a good, strong negative campaign is the way to go because he went on to point out that Bill Shorten had been responsible for the demise of two sitting PMs. I was waiting for someone on the panel to point out that it’s now four, if you include Tony Abbott and Malcolm Turnbull…

There was a lot of analysis and apart from the Liberals who were directly involved in the knifing of Turnbull, the general consensus was that disunity is death in politics. Jeff Kennett did his bit to promote unity by calling for the resignation of Michael Kroger, the state president. This, Kennett apparently thought, would leave him free to run the party and make all the decisions leading to a united, happy party all working together and anybody who didn’t agree with Jeff could FRO… A leadership style which won Kennett two elections.

Mind you, he contested five state elections as leader and lost three of them. People kept telling us what a smart political operator he was, when in power. I do remember saying that he’s only on a fifty percent win rate. Then he lost the fifth and retired from politics, giving him a strike rate of forty per cent.

Kroger did his bit for unity by pointing out that the last time Kennett called for a resignation publicly was – as President of the Hawthorn Football Club – Alistair Clarkson, the coach who went on to win four premierships. To his credit, Kroger refrained from saying Jeff’s proclamation earlier this week that changes to Hawthorn’s Tasmanian arrangement would happen over his dead body could be considered a win/win situation.

So where does this leave the federal Liberals? Are they going to continue on like Donald Trump and simply deny any fact that doesn’t suit them? Will they argue that the gangs that made people frightened to go out to dinner in Melbourne, scared them into not voting? Will they continue with the idea that Victoria doesn’t have implications because it was run on state issues and, anyway, Matty Guy only lost because Dan Andrews ran a tricky, positive campaign which caught them by surprise.

Or do they think that their best chance is to change leaders?

Will Dutton challenge? Or will they realise that the only way to get rid of Tony is to make him PM and have him lose his seat a la John Howard? Short-term pain for long-term gain.

Yes, I can hear a lot of you thinking, “No, of course Dutton won’t challenge. How could the Liberals possibly think that a change of leadership would help? How could they think that the public would put up with more Canberra nonsense and infighting? How could they fail to see something that’s so clear?”

However, if you’re thinking like that, I’d ask you to go back and have a look at everything they’ve done and said since… Um, let’s say the knighting of the Duke and ask yourself again, can we really guarantee that we’ve reached the depths of Coalition stupidity?


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  1. Kronomex

    “…ask yourself again, can we really guarantee that we’ve reached the depths of Coaltion stupidity?”

    No, we haven’t seen the end of their stupidity, they’re only getting started now that pastor Scummo is in charge. There are whole new depths of dumbness and idiocy to plumb before the election. It’s also possible that The Potato, not a great original thimker by any standard, could make yet another attempt at trying to become leader and PM.

    What will happen is that they will ramp up the scare campaigns and attacks on Labor, immigration, renewables, etc. When you are a party of nothing the only thing you can do is head straight for the gutter and hide in the drains (There goes the neighbourhood, thought Pennywise. Time to move.) and lob sewage in every direction.

  2. Kerri

    Frydenberg is a fool and may go down in history as the MP who lost the ultra safe seat of Kooyong that had been in Liberal hands since Menzies.

  3. Geoff Andrews

    I would love to know what each party’s private polls figures were in the run-up to the election.

  4. Jagger

    “Two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe”. Albert Einstein.

  5. Henry Rodrigues

    “What a beautiful set of numbers”…………………….P J Keating.

  6. terence mills

    Following on to Albert Einstein’s observation, I would venture that the Liberals will probably, based on past performance, mount another Dutton led coup to remove Morrison with the prospect of everybody’s favourite Peter potato head assuming his rightful place as our leader, possibly with a resuscitated Barnaby Joyce as his deputy.

    I am reminded once again of Alice in Wonderland when it comes to matters pertaining to the coalition :

    But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.
    ‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’
    ‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.
    ‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’

  7. Rossleigh

    As Einstein once said, “Not all the memes on the Internet with quotes attributed to me are accurate. As Isaac Newton told me, it’s always wise to check what’s true and what’s fake news”

  8. Ross in Gippsland

    Just an observation but it seems lately whenever the Liberals trot out John Howard for a public run in an attempt to garner some votes they cop an electoral shellacking.
    You have to wonder if he will be trotted out again somewhere in the federal election, although certainly not in Victoria.

  9. totaram

    Ross in Gippsland: Yes, I hope they trot out John Howard again. I received a letter from him, addressed personally to me, imploring me to save Victoria from Labor and the Greens. If I had any thoughts about where I would put the Liberal candidate on my ballot, this clinched it for me: LAST after all the others, just as the Trades Hall people wanted me to. And I numbered all the boxes below the line for the upper house right to the end and put the liberals last. So satisfying!

  10. Max Gross

    Oh that dastardly Dan Andrews and his cunning ALP government! How dare they keep their election promises and sneakily improve infrastructure and services Victorians rely on! Why wasn’t THAT Guy told about it?!? Mummy!!!

  11. Wun Farlung

    Had a good laugh at Frydenberg last night, Bill Shorten-Labor-(nothing to do with us)State issues says Josh… There I was minding my own business and next thing you know scummo is PM and I’m 2IC-didn’t see it coming.”If Bill Shorten wants to get ahead of himself, and think that he can measure up the drapes in the lodge, then he’ll be as wrong as he was in 2016 when he did his famous victory lap of the country,” he said. I was glad the ALP’s on the panel didn’t point out the lnp almost lost that one.
    I hope the lnp/ipa keep their delluded, dog whistle, do nothing, don’t have any policies agenda going until May next year

  12. Luke

    Next LNP leader, Julie Bishop.

  13. FLRP

    I, for one, would welcome another spill. Dutton should totally go for it … or whoever else has a mind for it. Abbott? Absolutely!
    I am genuinely curious, however, how Shorten is responsible for the demise of two sitting PMs. I’ve seen that around from a few places, and would love to know the reasoning behind it.

  14. paul walter

    No, not if they have any brains. Morrison is only a bolt-on, Dutton runs it already but antagonises too many voters so Morrison is there to (in theory) cheer up or humanise an otherwise desolate picture.

    But can you lipstick a pig?

  15. Zoltan Balint

    Dutton will challenge but only after Morrison lost the next election. A Queensland copper never had to be intelligent to survive, just tricky enough to get on the last of the musical chairs and let the others trip each other up whilst using his fat … to just sit down.

  16. Rossleigh

    FLRP, Shorten’s responsibility for the demise of the two Labor PMs stems from the fact that he was one of the numbers men when both Rudd and Gillard were dumped. Rudd supporters held it against him for supporting Gillard, then Gillard supporters did likewise when he backed Rudd. The Liberals like to make it sound like he was the main instigator of both coups because whichever Labor leader you supported, you have some reason to dislike Shorten.

  17. Rossleigh

    As for putting lipstick on a pig, Paul Walter, you certainly can. However, it doesn’t make the public think the pig is beautiful, and the person who took the trouble to prettify the pig, probably found it attractive anyway…

  18. Chris Knight

    FLRP they mean ex PMs Rudd and Gillard. They neglect to mention that it is actually 4, Abbott plus Trumbles.
    Pastor Scrote M will make five and there’s still time for a sixth.

  19. IPA is an associated entity

    To me the most interesting outcome of the Victorian election are the parallels with the US mid term. In each we have a right wing incumbent which has chosen to pander to its most conservative elements. In both elections large gains were made in usually conservative suburban seats with an educated population. Both the Australian Liberals and the US Republicans are being forced to consider a fork in the ideological road. Will it be the ignorance of right wing populism or the path of market liberalism? I for one think the only solution in Australia is a party split. Its not often I agree with Cory Bernardi.

  20. paul walter

    Thanks, Rossleigh.

    Hope Dutton enjoys his pig.

  21. Kronomex

    Another sign, of Scummo and the LNP’s desperation at the thought of being massacred at the next election, “We magically have lots and lots of cash, so let’s bring the budget forward and throw money all over the place.” –


    Budget crisis? What budget crisis? We only have them if Labor is in charge…and, and…anyway, they caused it all in the first place.

  22. helvityni

    ” As Josh Frydenberg told us:”Scott Morrison and I and other federal colleagues didn’t play an active role in this campaign, and it was fought on state (issues).”

    Well, Josh, could the next federal election be fought on the Nation issues, CC, education, jobs, welfare, housing, health, infrastructure…not on fear and hating…

  23. Klaus Petrat


    Dutton won’t be challenging after the next election. How could he, not being reelected?

  24. Zoltan Balint

    Good point Klaus.

  25. helvityni

    …it was clearly ‘Labor’s fault’ that they won and the Libs lost…sometimes they (the Libs) get it right. Also to be fair, Josh just forgot about Tones and Turnbull losing…

  26. Matters Not

    The LNP should plan to ‘save the furniture’ so why not give Ms Julie Bishop a run – replete with a new fascinator as a matter of course. Might even force Abetz, Andrews and Abbott to pull up stumps – resign in protest – muttering about the end of the earth and the like.

    Desperate times demand desperate grabs at straws. They can’t do worse. And someone has to wave Dutton goodbye.

  27. Egalitarian

    Daniel Andrews would be Victoria’s greatest ever Premier.Well, in my time anyway.

  28. Rossleigh

    I tried my hand at podcasting the blog.

    Let me know if you think it’s worth doing again.

  29. Michael Taylor

    It’s not playing for me, Rossleigh. ☹️

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