Matthew Guy must look beyond the pandemic
In his first doorstop after returning to the Victorian Liberal Party leadership Matthew Guy hit the nail on the head when talking about Michael O’Brien, the man he replaced as Opposition leader.
‘‘It’s very difficult to get air time as a state opposition during the COVID period, ask any opposition leader around Australia, it’s not just limited to Victoria,’’ he said.
Mr Guy acknowledged that Mr O’Brien had led the party through an extraordinarily difficult period.
The pandemic cruelled Mr O’Brien’s chances of cutting through, while at the same time Premier Daniel Andrews stood up daily to address what was more often than not a captive audience.
For a time, Mr Andrews’s North Face jacket had higher recognition than the alternative premier.
The lack of exposure came in part because there was a reluctance to politicise necessary public health measures.
Under Mr O’Brien, criticism was levelled when deserved at extreme measures and need to assist businesses and individuals, but mixed messaging that could have led to poor public health outcomes was avoided.
In that sense, Mr O’Brien has served Victoria well, but ultimately to his own detriment.
Mr Guy has promised a new positivity, focusing on the pandemic recovery and life beyond.
Time will tell, but governing Victoria is about much more than the pandemic response, and voters need to understand how Mr Guy and his team will manage everything from agriculture and water to education.
Well before the next election Victoria will reach its target for vaccination and state will be looking for a long and sustained recovery.
The economic, education and mental health consequences of the pandemic will continue to pose many challenges for future governments.
VOTERS NEED TO UNDERSTAND HOW PREMIER GUY AND HIS TEAM WILL MANAGE EVERYTHING FROM AGRICULTURE AND WATER TO EDUCATION.