Mumble Politics has a little list – a list of eight federal seats that have seen swings to Labor at
the last three elections: Adelaide (Kate Ellis, ALP); Boothby (Andrew Southcott, Liberal); Bradfield
(Brendan Nelson; Liberal); Griffith (Kevin Rudd, ALP); Kooyong (Petro Georgiou,
Liberal); Lilley (Wayne Swan, ALP); Mackellar (Bronwyn Bishop, Liberal) and
Warringah (Tony Abbott, Liberal). A broad church, you might say. And a list
that puts one of the key allegations against Petro Georgiou in an interesting
context as Josh
Frydenberg’s ill conceived and ill executed bid for Kooyong hits another hump.

Some 40% of the delegates to
Victorian Liberal Party preselections come from a random draw of state council
members. Yesterday, that draw took place at the Liberal Party secretariat at Exhibition Street.

Hilariously, a disproportionate number of
the state council delegates drawn for Kooyong seem to be loyal foot soldiers of
the man who has been called the real powerbroker in the electorate, Legislative
Councillor David Davis. That’s bad news for Frydenberg.

The draw also has some interesting
implications for another challenge – the move by former staffer Rod Nockles to
unseat 200 year old man Stewart McArthur in Corangamite, down Geelong way.

Frydenberg – along with Brad Haynes,
supposedly manoeuvring in Judi Moylan’s WA seat of Pearce – is seen as an
Alexander Downer stalking horse.

Nockles, like Frydenberg and Haynes, has also worked for
Downer – during his ill-starred time as Liberal leader – but it’s his Davis links that are of more interest.

Davis, like any intelligent and ambitious politician, knows that recruiting
is an important part of success. He has his people across the state – and a good
number have turned up in the Corangamite draw, too.

McArthur’s
wife, Bev, keeps a vice-like grip on his local branches. There’s been talk that
he’d go through this preselection, then steer the seat the way of staffer and
former Victorian Farmer Federation officer Simon Price before the next election.
That grip has been weakened by the draw. And while McArthur still seems set to
win, the links between Nockles and Davis are now being canvassed.

Nockles,
Liberal sources say, has been a member of two of Davis’ Hawthorn
branches. Davis backed him when the job of
Victorian Liberal state director came up in 2003. He’s unlikely to take
Corangamite,
but the preselection is providing an insight into how the numbers line
up in
the Victorian Liberal Party – especially at a time when the internal
politics of the the Vic Libs are attracting plenty of attention.

Peter Fray

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