Former senior federal minister, High Commissioner in London, MBA, LLM and member of the ‘superannuated glitterati’ (as David Feeney would put it) Richard Alston has emerged triumphant in last night’s election for honoraryÂ chair of the Kooyong Liberals at their annual general meeting.
In what is seen as a devastating blow to the Baillieu’s powerbase, Alston comfortably rolled the Ted Baillieu/Petro Georgiou incumbent chair Paula Davey by 245 votes to 181. Alston’s ticket of freedom won all the executive positions, wiping their shoes on the face of the local MP whose powerbase has crumbled in a devastating way.
Kooyong has traditionally been the centre of power for what was the Kennett faction now Baillieu faction. The Liberal leader’s seat of Hawthorn is in Kooyong.
This is a clear win for the Kroger-Costello faction and can be interpreted as a very encouraging sign for prospective federal candidate Josh Frydenberg who – if he plays his cards right – could attract the support of that group in his quest for the federal seat.
Frydenberg – though – is his own man demonstrating feline ways of independence, slinkiness and self-centredness over factionally preferred canine tendencies of loyalty, obedience and biting faction foes on command.
“A vote for Alston is not necessarily a vote for Frydenberg. It really depends who runs against him. Josh is a strong candidate, on paper. But this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some very ambitious people. Expect to see some big names fighting for this one,” one well-placed source explained last night to VEXNEWS.
Demonstrating just how devastating the blow was to the Baillieu/Petro camp, both of the beseiged gents reportedly stormed out after the meeting with scowls on their face that would have terrified children. Naturally, being a political party meeting, there was no one under sixty-five there except for prospective candidates, staffers and the dateless.
The Baillieu camp had tried to bully Alston out of the position, telling the left-wing press that it was ‘demeaning’ for someone as exalted as Alston to run for such a junior gig.