The state Liberal Parties have
been told they will remain stuck in opposition if they are seen as
“unresponsive” to voters and indulge in internal bickering, party
Federal Director Brian Loughnane said on the weekend.

“The
Liberal Party has not won a state election anywhere in Australia since
1997,” he said in a speech to West Australian Liberals. “In no state
will it be easy for us to win back government.”

Next cab off the ranks for a state election is South Australia – and headlines there for the last few days have been full of speculation
that the local Libs are set to roll their leader less than six months
short of the poll. Other than that, the only stuff said about
opposition leader Rob Kerin are claims from the rumour mill that he was
overcome with emotion at the launch of Adelaide’s new airport last week.

Tasmania
and Victoria go next year, too. Neither state looks promising for the
Liberals. NSW has its election in March 2007. Will faction strife still
be running then?

These are good times for incumbents – but the state Liberals just aren’t trying.

Loughnane
urged the Libs over the weekend to “invest time and effort” in
recruiting better candidates for state seats. That’s a start – but
doing the job properly also involves chopping out dead wood.

And
conservative parties behave in a conservative way. They show due
deference to their leaders and parliamentary representatives – even
when they’re bl**dy useless.

Peter Fray

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Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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