There’s one thing we know about John Brumby as a political leader. He is a proven loser.  In 1996 he led Labor to an inglorious defeat. His party considered him such a liability after being being beaten by Jeff Kennett that he was replaced by Steve Bracks before the election of 1999

It is not often in this day and age that someone who loses an election gets a second chance but Brumby has got one. Bracks did that unusual thing for a winning politician and stepped down voluntarily rather than being voted out. So now the man who a decade ago was deemed by his own team not be a winner is leading Labor to an election contest for the second time.

The evidence this time is equivocal. The latest Newspoll rating on whether Brumby is doing a  good j0b has 42% saying satisfied and 48% dissatisfied. To the same question 14 years ago the answers were 40% satisfied and 42% dissatisfied so there seems to have been little change in the public attitude towards him as a political leader.

Perhaps this time leadership will not be such an issue as it was in 1996 when Jeff Kennett was a well regarded (52% satisfied, 39% dissatisfied) Premier seeking election for the second time. Current Liberal leader Ted Baillieu rates about the same as Premier Brumby – 40% satisfied and 46% dissatisfied.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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