New-look Vic­to­rian Libs are all about cli­mate change and women

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS -

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

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