New-look Victorian Libs are all about climate change and women
FORMER treasurer Michael O’Brien has been tasked with leading the Victorian Liberal Party out of the political wilderness, after being named State Opposition leader.
His deputy will be one of only three Liberal women elected into the lower house, Cindy McLeish.
“We’re going to be a team that listens and learns the lessons of this election,” Mr O’Brien told reporters at parliament yesterday.
“We need to be back in the centre field of politics, that’s where we need to be, that’s where Victorians are, and that’s where the Liberal Party is going to be.”
The Liberals were cut down to just 20 seats out of 88 in the lower house in an election wipeout that delivered 56 seats to Labor.
Mr O’Brien said the result was humbling and the party would reflect on what went wrong, but would not engage in “internal navel gazing” while getting on with keeping an “arrogant” Labor government accountable.
The new leader acknowledged more needed to be done to increase the diversity within the parliamentary party, but argued the Liberals were diverse.
“If you look at our list of candidates at the last election, we had a number of diverse candidates from different multicultural backgrounds and a lot of good female candidates. Unfortunately some of them just didn’t get elected,” he said.
Tackling climate change would also increasingly be a focus for the O’Brien-led Liberals.
“A majority of scientists are telling us climate change is happening, a majority of scientists say humans are contributing to it, so let’s not have an argument over whether it’s happening or not,” he said.
CLINT CONN CHRIS TAFT CHRIS HUBY