Party needs united state says Ab­bott

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - ANNA CALD­WELL

UNITY within the Lib­er­als would be “crit­i­cal” for the Bere­jik­lian gov­ern­ment to be strongly re­turned in NSW next March, Tony Ab­bott has told a party meet­ing.

A week af­ter the state gov­ern­ment was pum­melled at the Wagga Wagga by­elec­tion, Mr Ab­bott told his pri­vate War­ringah branch meet­ing that unity be­hind Prime Min­ster Scott Mor­ri­son was cru­cial to the Bere­jik­lian gov­ern­ment’s for­tunes.

Premier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian and her state al­lies have strongly lev­elled blame for the near 30 per cent swing against them in Wagga on the Can­berra lead­er­ship spill.

They be­lieve polling taken be­fore and af­ter the lead­er­ship change proves the fed­eral in­sta­bil­ity cost them votes. But the day af­ter the Wagga vote, Trea­surer Josh Fry­den­berg dis­tanced the Can­berra in­sta­bil­ity from the state loss. “What hap­pened in Can­berra doesn’t help the over­all situation. But if you’re look­ing for cause and ef­fect, it was lo­cal fac­tors,” he said at the time. Mr Ab­bott told his Fri­day night branch meet­ing that: “The unity that we show in this party tonight is go­ing to be crit­i­cal if the Bere­jik­lian gov­ern­ment is to be strongly re­turned come March next year. “The fu­ture of this area as well as the fu­ture of this coun­try and our state de­pends on us.” He told branch mem­bers that “what­ever judg­ments” they might “oc­ca­sion­ally think of (their) col­leagues in Mac­quarie St” there was no doubt the “coun­try and state flour­ishes un­der a Lib­eral gov­ern­ment”. Mr Ab­bott also said that the Bere­jik­lian gov­ern­ment was cru­cial to the northern beaches tun­nel the area “so des­per­ately needs”. At the same meet­ing, Mr Ab­bott was reen­dorsed for the seat de­spite at­tempts to roll him. Mr Ab­bott ran un­op­posed but a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of the branch voted against his en­dorse­ment.

In 2009, Tony Ab­bott took over the lead­er­ship of a Lib­eral Party seem­ingly fu­ture­less af­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull’s pe­riod as op­po­si­tion leader. For years later, Ab­bott led the Coali­tion to a stomp­ing vic­tory over Kevin Rudd, hav­ing ac­counted for Ju­lia Gil­lard along the way.

This was an ob­ject les­son in the power of po­lit­i­cal unity — a les­son learned well by cur­rent La­bor leader Bill Shorten.

Ab­bott is now urg­ing his party to unite at fed­eral and state lev­els be­hind Premier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian.

Lib­er­als would be wise to heed his words.

Pic­ture: Jane Demp­ster

Lib­eral MP Tony Ab­bott.

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