Shepparton News

Guy takes back Vic Lib leadership

- By Darren Linton

Mathew Guy has promised a clear plan for Victoria after being elected unopposed as leader of the Victorian Liberal Party.

Michael O’Brien called the meeting but did not stand once the motion to spill the leadership was passed.

‘‘It is our job to lead us to the election in 14 months’ time,’’ Mr Guy said.

‘‘We should be focused on unifying our state and growing our state together.’’

Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has paid tribute to Mr O’Brien and said his decision not to stand to give Mr Guy clear air was indicative of his character.

‘‘Michael is a lovely man and he has served our party extremely well but we have a new leader today and we have to now move on,’’ she said.

Ms Lovell had to race from the party meeting at Liberal headquarte­rs before the new leader addressed the party room, but said she was looking forward to serving under Mr Guy and didn’t rule out stepping up to a shadow portfolio if needed. ‘‘I am deputy president of the Legislativ­e Council and I’m happy in that position, it is a position that is important in the parliament but I’m happy to step up if I’m needed,’’ she said.

Ms Lovell said once the public health crisis eased there would be many issues that needed to be addressed.

‘‘It has certainly suited the government that they have been able to shut down the parliament for a lot of the pandemic,’’ she said.

‘‘The real impact of the pandemic is still to be seen, there will be financial

impacts for many families, mental health issues, the impact of home schooling on children’s education.

‘‘It is going to be a long recovery.’’

Mr O’Brien said after the meeting that he had never been one to play political games.

‘‘And I wasn’t prepared to change that to try and keep the job. But I will sleep very soundly tonight having made that (decision),’’ he said.

‘‘Either you give up your job, or you give up your integrity.’’

 ?? Picture: AAP Image/James Ross ?? Focused on unity: Deputy leader of the Opposition David Southwick (left) looks on as Matthew Guy speaks to the media in Melbourne yesterday.
Picture: AAP Image/James Ross Focused on unity: Deputy leader of the Opposition David Southwick (left) looks on as Matthew Guy speaks to the media in Melbourne yesterday.

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