Furious Liberals turn on each other minutes after being thumped by Dan Andrews for the third time in a row – fearing they will be in opposition for another decade
- The blame game starts after the Victorian Liberals slumped to electoral defeat
- Voices within the party have blamed Matthew Guy, the strategy and bad polling
- Hopes Victoria had turned on Dan Andrews proved baseless in crushing defeat
- Matthew Guy is set to quite as Liberal leader without an obvious replacement
Following another night of shattering electoral disappointment the distraught and angry Victorian Liberals were left picking up the pieces and turning on each other.
After being buoyed by hopes of turning an apparent sharp sense of discontent with the dictatorial style of Daniel Andrews into a big enough swing to oust Labor that dream came crashing down only after two hours of counting on Saturday night.
Controversial outspoken conservative MP Tim Smith, who is retiring from politics, offered a bleak outlook for the party.
Liberal leader (pictured center left) concedes the Victorian election at Melbourne’s Doncaster Bowling Club
‘You’re looking down the barrel of being in opposition until 2030 let’s be quite clear about this,’ he told Sky News on Sunday.
‘This is an existential threat to the future of the Liberal Party in Victoria.’
Mr Wilson, who did not run in this election after crashing his car while drunk in October 2021, said he could not see a saviour in the wings.
‘I can’t see us miraculously finding a leader that cuts through in 2026 this morning,’ he said.
‘Who’s going to lead the Liberal Party? It’s not going to be Matthew Guy he’s going to pull the pin either today or tomorrow.’
Despite a plea for unity from resigning opposition leader Matthew Guy, Liberal insiders began assigning blame almost immediately after the result.
One frontbencher said the entire party’s secretariat ‘needed to be sacked’, according to the Herald Sun.
Some questioned why the same pollster who had also got it badly wrong in 2018 was retained.
The mood was somber at the Liberal Party reception as the results came in just after 8pm
By 10pm the Liberal party faithful had dwindled to a small number as the crushing results kept coming in
‘Clearly, our polling was sh*t,’ a senior Liberal was quoted as saying.
Other political reporters also passed on scathing criticisms from unnamed Liberal sources.
‘Hot take from a Victorian Liberal: “We’ve got the strategy completely wrong in Melbourne, pushed the parliament further to the left by preferencing the Greens and we’ve won one seat. This is a disaster”,’ Nine Fairfax’s James Massola tweeted.
VICTORIA RESULTS AS OF 11am SUNDAY
Labor: 52 seats
45 seats are needed for a majority
Fellow Nine Fairfax journalist Sumeyya Ilanbey passed on a brutal assessment of Mr Guy.
‘Scathing words from one Liberal: “It’s been a referendum on the leader alright, just not the one the liberals were hoping for”,’ she tweeted.
The Liberal party faithful watched proceedings at the Doncaster Bowling Club in Melbourne’s northeast but by around 10pm, only a few hours after voting closed, the numbers had dwindled to a solemn few.
It was the final curtain on Matthew Guy’s leadership of the party as he announced he was standing down on Sunday morning.
‘As soon as it is clearer which Liberal Party candidates will form the next parliamentary party room, I will call them together to elect their new leadership team. I will not be a candidate for the position of leader,’ the statement read.
It is far from certain the Liberals will achieve a net gain of seats and may even go backwards, which will be offset by a strong performance in the regions for the Nationals but nowhere near enough.
With Mr Guy standing down there is no obvious successor other than perhaps Michael O’Brien, the leader who took over after the defeat in 2018 only to be brought down in a party coup in 2021
Mr O’Brien, who sat on the ABC’s election night commentary panel, refused to be drawn on whether the party would have done better with him in charge.
‘I don’t think about hypotheticals a lot,’ he told the ABC.
Major networks – the ABC, Sky, Seven and Nine – all called the race in favour of Mr Andrews shortly after 8pm
Outgoing Liberal MP Tim Smith said the result almost ensured two more terms in opposition for the Liberals and they faced an ‘existential threat’
The bad news for the Liberals kept coming on Sunday morning with the Nationals canvassing the possibility of ‘decoupling’ following their strong performance.
Nationals MP Danny O’Brien told ABC radio a political divorce was not out of the question.
‘We need to think about what best is not just for us, but for the Liberal Party. Obviously they’re going to go through a fair bit of soul-searching in coming days and weeks and months,’ he said.
‘We performed very well, it was a great outcome for the Nationals across regional Victoria. But ultimately we want to be able to deliver from the government benches for the people of rural and regional Victoria, and we’re not going to be able to, obviously for the next four years.
‘It’s going to be tough even at the next election too, so I think we need to be considering what the best options are for us… [splitting the Coalition] has got to be on the table.’
Peta Credlin, who was chief of staff for former Liberal prime minister Tony Abbott, and has been a constant critic of Dan Andrews turned her guns squarely on the Liberals during the election night coverage on Sky News.
Peta Credlin rips into the Liberal Party for ‘losing SO well’ as Daniel Andrews wins a third term
BY BRETT LACKEY FOR DAILY MAIL AUSTRALIA
Credlin – who was once touted as a potential challenger to Andrews at the polls – fumed that the party was getting ‘very comfortable’ with the fact it was in Opposition and lost the election despite having ‘lots’ to work with against the Premier.
Credlin, the former chief of staff to Liberal PM Tony Abbott, said the party was being destroyed by ‘factional warlordism’ and slammed senior MPs for telling Federal Liberals to butt out, as they ‘don’t understand Victoria’.
‘Really?! Because you lose so well at a state level in areas where we don’t lose at a federal level.’
Ms Credlin said the Victorian Liberals need to be brave enough to clear out the ‘dead-wood’ that has been around for 20 years and ‘achieved sweet bugger all’.
‘You can see in seats like Hastings and Nepean if you put in fresh blood into the ballot people will support it’.
‘The Liberal Party isn’t sure in Victoria what it stands for and I have to say it’s become very, very comfortable in Opposition,’ Credlin said.
‘It’s lost the belief in itself that it can take on Labor and win.’
‘You’re up against Dan Andrews and you can see in the swings (against Labor) that there’s cranky people.’
‘There’s plenty to work with.’
Sky News host Peta Credlin (pictured left) blamed ‘factional warlordism’ and the Liberals ‘being comfortable in Opposition’ for their defeat in the Victorian election on Saturday
She said the Liberals were dominated by ‘factional warlordism’ often at the behest of federal MPs who ‘don’t understand Victoria’ and needed to clear out the ‘deadwood’ of underperforming candidates and MPs.
‘The Liberal Party isn’t sure in Victoria what it stands for and I have to say it’s become very, very comfortable in opposition,’ Credlin said.
‘It’s lost the belief in itself that it can take on Labor and win.’
From the Labor side retiring MP and former health minister Martin Pakula accused the Liberals of being fixated on Mr Andrews and not listening to the community.
‘Framing an entire election campaign around the theory (hope?) that everyone hates Dan as much as you hate Dan was always a Hail Mary strategy,’ he tweeted.
‘It’s hard to hear the community clearly when you spend all your time in an echo chamber.’