The Premierâ€™s Private Office is believed to have prepared a succession plan the contents of which involve many organisational charts and white-boarding. No firm decision has been made on Oâ€™Brienâ€™s successor although many elbows are out, ready for the ultimate challenge in colleague-on-colleague violence. Some speak of a prodigal son returning, others have their money on an iron lady. No-one really knows except the Premier and flies on the wall at Cumulus, the favoured ministerial staff eatery. Of course, all this idle talk pre-supposes a Labor win at the state election, which is far from certain.
The Victorian Liberals are doing their bit to ensure a Brumby re-election. Most of their announcements have been comical, although we liked their GPS monitoring of rogues on bail and suspect theyâ€™ll focus more on law and order as the election gets closer. Their failure to go in for the kill on Laborâ€™s scandal-plagued Director of Pubic Prosecutions â€“ accused sex-hobbit Jeremy Rapke â€“ is a mystery only Scooby-Doo could solve.
On some issues, we think â€“ like Bam-Bam (OK, thatâ€™s the last old cartoon analogy weâ€™ll ever make) – they donâ€™t know their own strength. With a new and inexperienced Police Minister and a lefty Attorney-General, they could and should go in very hard on those issues but they repeatedly fail to do so.
RAKING IN THE GREEN
Their current plan â€“ all but certain â€“ to preference to the extreme-left Greens party ahead of Labor in return for not much will cause the government considerable heart-burn but wonâ€™t cost Brumby office because the Greens will support him over Baillieu.
If the Greens sided with the Liberals, the electoral consequences for the Greens party could be devastating with their inner-city left-wing base.
That also explains why the Greens are so reluctant to be seen to give anything much of value back to the Liberals in their preference deals: their very narky, fickle and fad-driven left-wing base of hipsters wonâ€™t wear it.
So the Greens party â€“ like many of their Centrelink subsidised activists â€“ just wait for a How-To-Vote card hand-out from the Liberals and wonâ€™t give much back.
UNREQUITED GREEN LOVE
Itâ€™s enough to make some Liberals and many Nationals very unhappy. The most recent of the horrified, ex-Liberal MP and senior Kennett Cabinet minister Robin Cooper has told the Herald Sun heâ€™s outraged about the Liberals preferencing the extreme-left:
"The Opposition team needs to pull its finger out and stop waiting for government to fall into their lap. It needs to get out and grab it," Mr Cooper said. "Even the most optimistic of senior Liberal supporters say the absolute maximum they can win is 10 seats, which is not enough to regain government," he said.
"Talk of the Greens providing preferences in the outer suburbs in return for the inner-city deal is pie in the sky. The Greens are a huge enemy of the Liberals."
All thatâ€™s true but sources close to the Opposition Leaderâ€™s office tell VEXNEWS that they will not be buckling to Laborâ€™s pressure and the Nationals whining on the issue. One Liberal told VEXNEWS last week when discussing the issue:
â€œWe want to win the election for Ted Baillieu not make life easier for two underwhelming Labor ministers. If Labor canâ€™t win those seats on their own, Iâ€™m buggered if I know why itâ€™s Liberal partyâ€™s job to bail them out. Itâ€™s just not our problem.â€
The Teddite did agree that if Baillieu didnâ€™t win this time that heâ€™d be immediately replaced as Victorian Liberal leader, by either Mary Wooldridge or the less-lovable but more-diligent Michael Oâ€™Brien. The obvious choice, Matthew Guy, is stuck in the wrong house and is unlikely to be given a safe lower house seat any time soon. Many think heâ€™s the next Liberal premier, including possibly Ted Baillieu who has done everything in his power to block him from moving in to the Assembly. The Kroger Brethren have not been pushing that hard for Guy either, favouring their own man MOB, who while a smart chap is thought to lack charm. When or if things get really desperate, theyâ€™ll inevitably turn to Guy, in our view.
MUTUALLY ASSURED DESTRUCTION
Laborâ€™s strategy to deal with its inner-city â€œsituationâ€ is to â€œamp upâ€ the pressure on the Liberals about the inconsistency between their policies and their political activity in supporting the Greens with preferences.
Another group lurks on the horizon too, keen to build on the anti-Greens party sentiment in regional Victoria by attacking the Coalition for handing seats in Parliament â€“ and incredible leverage â€“ to the anti-farming, anti-farming urban militants. Itâ€™s the Country Alliance party which VEXNEWS understands will be running candidates in many lower and upper house seats across Victoria in competition with the Liberals and Nationals in those areas.
With the major parties having trouble in their own patch and many own-goals, state politics is looking a lot like a game of Russian Roulette at the moment. No wonder Lieutenant Dan has had enough.