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