Solo
Senator Julian McGauran is expected to be warmly welcomed by the Victorian
division of the Liberal Party when it meets this evening to decide his membership
application.

Two
thirds of the 120 member policy assembly need to vote in favour of his
admission to the party.

Despite
the controversies surrounding his defection from the Nationals, McGauran’s
admission will be one of the more straightforward matters for delegates to
discuss.

Victorian
Liberals have been distressed by former MP Gordon Ashley’s declaration that he
will run as an independent in his old seat of Bayswater – and accusation that
the party is “losing the plot.”

Ashley
has slammed the ruling Kroger/Costello forces in the Victorian party,
describing them as “anti-democratic.”

Today’s
Herald Sunreports that Victorian Liberal state president Helen Kroger will
step down before the November election.
It also carries dark mutterings from un-named sources that Kroger is avoiding
being associated with a potential “train wreck” at the polls and criticism that
the party has failed to attract high quality candidates.

Which
leads us onto a very high profile person – Jeff Kennett.

The
rumour mill is churning out the stories once again – that Jeff has been
involved in private discussions with senior political personages outside the
state arena about re-entering the fray; that the only barrier is a safe seat.

Which has
lead to the latest version – that Jeff will make his second coming as Victorian
party president.

Peter Fray

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