I have just read Noel Crichton-Browne’s analysis of the Kooyong result (Crikey, yesterday) and in many respects he is correct. But there is one little thing missing from all the discussion – the political incompetence of Joshua Frydenberg.

Frydenberg has never spent any time in the local branches and this was plainly obvious by the way he played it. His challenge could go down in history as one of the worst-ever attempts at challenging a sitting member. By virtue of the fact he challenged without working out whether either of the two factions were going to support him is breathtaking, to say the least.

As an outsider he should have approached David Davis and Michael Kroger to see whether either would support him. If he had done that and realised that neither would, he should have gone on his merry way back to Harvard.

In Corangamite the day before, Rod Knockels had the support of Davis – hence he almost knocked off old Stuart Macarthur. With both factions supporting Georgiou essentially because the Davis faction likes Georgiou and the Kroger faction doesn’t like Frydenberg, the fact Frydenberg received 22 votes just shows how much Georgiou is actually disliked locally. There were a couple of those 22 votes who were hard core Costello supporters but have such disdain for Georgiou that they couldn’t bring themselves to vote for him.

Unlike the ALP, which is 100% factionalised, the Liberal Party in Victoria is about 60-70% factionalised, with that number growing each year. The fact Frydenberg would attack Georgiou in his speech to delegates about branch numbers and fundraising also shows how political naïve he is. Let your supporters do the dirty work from the floor in the Q & A time, but the challenger should be above that.

The fact Frydenberg would come out after the annihilation and say that he would be back in three years just further angers the locals. The locals aren’t going anywhere and they have long memories. It is plainly obvious that Frydenberg has never been a delegate to a pre-selection, or he would have known a few of the do’s and don’t’s. One thing is for certain, this vote had nothing to do with asylum seekers. However, if Georgiou can use it as a platform to push his pet topic, then good on him.

In these situations people are very quick to take credit for a win. In truth, the only person Georgiou should thank is Frydenberg himself. The whole saga raises one very interesting point: if Davis and the Krogerites decide to work together again, they are pretty much unstoppable!

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
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