“Leading Liberal moderate Petro Georgiou is facing a concerted local
push to oust him as the member for Kooyong, the prized blue-ribbon seat of the
party’s founder, Sir Robert Menzies,” the Sunday Age screamed yesterday.
“The push to unseat Mr Georgiou is gathering momentum behind former Kooyong
Tennis Club champion Joshua Frydenberg who yesterday declared that he will
nominate this week,” before leaping into a lofty list of Melbourne
establishment figures lining up to lick the a*se of the former Downer staffer –
Business Council of Australia chairman Hugh Morgan, former Allens Arthur
Robinson chairman Michael Robinson and welfare recipient Richard Alston.

It’s hard to remember a more dated pitch – Liberal aristocracy ordering their
vassals about. How the Sunday Age fell for it is anyone’s guess. Robinson is the only one on the list who will actually have a vote in
the preselection. The people with a say? Rank and file Liberals in branches largely
controlled by MLC David Davis.

Davis, for some strange reason, seems to
think the Victorian Liberal Party won’t go very well in the state election
later this year. Still, he wants to do the right thing and run. Then he may
well throw up his hands and go federal through Kooyong – at the election after
next.

Back to Sunday Age‘s sucky-sucky. Not only was Frydenberg brown-nosed.
He was doing some brown-nosing of his own. “It is unequivocal that Peter
Costello will become the next Prime Minister of Australia and it is equally
clear that this would be best for the Liberal Party and best for Australia,” the
story had him saying.

Well, there’s no love lost between Georgiou and Camp Costello – but at
least the Costello faction know where he stands and can live with it. Their
relations with the young pretender are a different matter. Wheeling out a cavalcade of prominent
irrelevancies is the perfect demonstration of Frydenberg’s flaws.

Davis is the bloke who counts. And also
in the Kooyong seats is one Ted Baillieu. You may have heard the name. He talks
to Georgiou almost every day. Talks father-son stuff – or its political
equivalent. Not make believe.

Peter Fray

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