Victorian Liberal leader “Red” Ted Baillieu’s most recent poll numbers – from The Australian’s Newspoll – should be the final nail in his coffin.
The fact that those woeful numbers barely pass without comment in 157 Spring Street, that we hear barely a murmur from obvious leadership alternative Terry Mulder, that Baillieu and crew seem perfectly content being in Opposition is a damning indictment on the Liberal party in Victoria.
If they’re not hungry, the Victorian voters won’t even seriously consider giving them a feed.
For too many Liberals, they are like the ALP when it’s at its worst. Those in Baillieu/David Davis’s faction won’t agree to knife him mostly because he’s their guy. His performance isn’t even seriously evaluated. The only possible alternative, the Baillieu folk think, could be David Davis and he’s in the wrong house.
And when a reshuffle is politely suggested, that can’t happen either. Again for mainly factional reasons.
As the graphic suggests, the Victorian Liberals are a party in limbo.
On Friday night, they preselected a person who – while very worthy in many respects – is not going to be a minister or a serious prospect of being one. They rejected a person – while just as flawed as every other political hack and CV builder – who could have been a minister one day.
Progressing in politics is about making the right choices. You go backwards when you get things wrong.
Once the jewel in the crown for the Liberal party, the Victorian division has clearly lost its way.
Its president is a useless old grouch who was put up by the Kroger crew to smite the Baillieu brigade. He hasn’t even done that particularly well. He just does what he wants, complain many insiders to VEXNEWS on condition of anonymity for fear of being turned into stone by his old man winter Medusa style death-stare.
Ten seats at risk. At least notionally. Maybe the country ones would be out of reach, even on those numbers.
Nick Wakeling in Ferntree Gully, he likes both factions to think he’s with them. But sometimes, Mr Nick, a non-decision is a decision.Â If you snooze, you lose. He’d be first to go, with any adverse swing.
David Hodgett, in Kilsyth, not so committed to Red Ted we hear. He’d be next to lose.
Then there’s beefy Neale Burgess in Hastings. He doesn’t support Ted at all because he’d be a goner if an election was held today under Ted’s leadership.
Morwell and Narracan, probably safe unless Ted springs the Churchill arsonist from jail and makes him his man-servant. And one of them is held by the Nats anyway, who seem to be travelling OK, for now, under the leadership of lawyer Peter Ryan.
Christine Fyffe in Evelyn, sensibly opposes the Red Ted way. For good reason, with a 60:40 Brumby landslide, she’d be out on her bum.
Heidi Victoria in Bayswater. Loves Red Ted big-time. At least will until she loses her seat on its 2.9% margin. Ciao for now, comrade.
Dr Dennis Napthine, in South West Coast, probably safe. The locals know he isn’t anything like Red Ted. He is believed to still be a vote in his column though.
Robert Clark, in Box Hill. Said to be retiring. Not a fan of the Red Ted. Could be replaced by Chairman Gladys Liu, a devoted supporter of the Red Ted cause. She might not ever know the sweet smell of the green leather of legislature.
Ken Smith in Bass. Has just as much of a spring in his step as George Seitz. Meant to be retiring too. Is believed to be a Ted supporter in any ballot. His Wonthaggi based seat should be safe as houses but could Red Ted cost them that too? Probably not but Liberals might well ponder why they are having to contemplate these issues.
They should be ready to roll in 2010. An alternative government. An effective core of half-dozen who are regularly on the news, punching the government on the nose over something.
Instead we get a Ted focused Opposition that has lost its way.
Ted might want to blame the bushfires but someone really needs to put a fire under the Liberal party room. Act now or those named above will burn, baby burn.
Their best effort – from loyal Ted supporter Andrew McIntosh – was recycling a story from Gerard McManus in the Herald Sun a couple of weeks ago about bushfire warnings. We doubt anyone in Victoria – even the most fanatical anti-Brumby person – would think his pre-bushfire warning was anything other than very direct and sadly prescient.