It’s a big
week for the Victorian Liberals, with preselections for Petro Georgiou’s seat
of Kooyong
and Stewart McArthur’s Corangamite on Sunday – but both are minor shows
compared to other internal battles.

Any
Victorian Liberal knows what the Morgan polling shows – that the party is facing disaster at the state election on November 25.
Rather than gaining seats, the Liberals may manage to go backwards. It looks
like opposition until at least 2014.

All which
might explain why the Kennett faction didn’t even bother to run a candidate for
the party presidency, letting the job fall to Russell Hannan – generally
considered a good bloke, but not much more.

Then there
was the election of Andrew Ronalds to the powerful Administrative Committee –
even though he appeared in a Bracks Government propaganda commercial on behalf
of the family cheese company extolling Victoria as a place to do business. It
suggests either a lack of quality control or a ‘don’t care’ attitude on behalf
of the Kroger/Costello faction.

Are they
slipping? Although they dominated the recent state council elections, there
were a few surprises – such as the loss of the metropolitan female
vice-president’s position and the dumping of Bev McArthur, wife of Stewart,
from the Administrative Committee.

Yet of the
32 positions that the state council elected to policy assembly – the body that
chooses Senate candidates – 30 of the 32 elected are from the Kroger faction.
This should guarantee that former party president Helen Kroger can have the
number one spot on Liberal Party’s Victorian Senate ticket anytime she feels
like it.

Peter Fray

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