As the Tasmanian Liberals cast about for someone to blame for their shocking performance on Saturday, Crikey hears that far-right powerbroker Eric Abetz could stand aside by the end of the year to make way for the even further right Andrew Nikolic, the failed Abbott-era whip and free speech opponent kicked out by the voters of Bass in one of the biggest swings in the country. Of course, moderate Liberal Richard Colbeck, who currently faces a real struggle to hang on to his Senate spot, might have a view about that if he doesn’t return to Canberra. And so might the voters of Tasmania — because if one thing’s clear from the Tasmanian result, the Apple Islanders are underwhelmed with the Abetz-Nikolic style of vicious reactionary politics.

Peter Fray

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