Vic­to­rian Lib­eral leader hope­ful John Pe­sutto lashes out at fed­eral party af­ter los­ing seat

The Guardian Australia - - News -

Vic­to­rian Lib­eral leader hope­ful John Pe­sutto has blamed the fed­eral party’s stance on cli­mate change and lead­er­ship cri­sis for the loss of his blue-rib­bon seat at the state elec­tion.

La­bor’s John Kennedy had lit­tle chance of win­ning Hawthorn in the in­ner east ahead of the An­drews’ gov­ern­ment’s thump­ing elec­tion vic­tory on 24 Novem­ber.

Now, the Vic­to­rian Elec­toral Com­mis­sion has de­clared the seat for La­bor af­ter a large swing against Pe­sutto.

“Short of a mir­a­cle, I can’t see how I could win from here,” Pe­sutto told ABC Melbourne on Wed­nes­day.

Pe­sutto ad­mit­ted “a lot of things” went wrong, that the fed­eral lead­er­ship cri­sis “didn’t help” and con­ceded many vot­ers were turned off by the party’s so­cial and other poli­cies.

He pointed to his 17-year-old daugh­ter who backed her fa­ther’s party, but took part in last week’s cli­mate change protest call­ing for fed­eral Coali­tion gov­ern­ment ac­tion.

“Even in my own fam­ily, I can see the chal­lenges we’ve got [as a party],” he said.

The for­mer shadow at­tor­ney gen­eral was one of two men eye­ing the Lib­eral lead­er­ship af­ter Matthew Guy stepped down fol­low­ing the party’s dis­as­trous elec­tion re­sult.

The shadow trea­surer, Michael O’Brien, is now ex­pected to be the lead­ing can­di­date when the party meets to elects its new leader on Thurs­day.

The Greens made his­tory in the seat of Brunswick, with Tim Read claim­ing vic­tory with a nar­row lead of 514 votes on Satur­day. The Greens also held the seats of Prahran and Melbourne, but lost North­cote to La­bor.

Lib­eral MP Bill Til­ley has also claimed vic­tory in the seat of Be­nam­bra this week.

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