The Victorian Liberals are on target to screw it up yet again.
The complete farce that was the November 26th state election seems to have taught the Victorian Liberal Party, and especially its left-wing “moderate” faction, absolutely nothing. The state of Victoria, once foolishly referred to as the jewel in the Liberal Party crown, is now a Labor party lock.
By the time of the next election due in 2026, the Liberal-National coalition will have been in office in Victoria for just 4 of the previous 27 years. Unlike the federal Liberal party’s period of similar dominance, the State Labor governments have used their time in power to cement their political coalitions, fund left-wing activists, and turn the education system into a factory churning out ever further left new voters.
According to one recently released ANU study voters under 40 now favour Labor and the Greens over the Liberals on a near 3-to-1 basis, which is exactly what you would expect when the education of our children (and especially our future elites) is controlled by activists with views slightly to the left of Lenin. And the Liberals at both state and federal levels have done absolutely nothing about this since John Howard implemented an easily circumvented Voluntary Student Union scheme for universities back in 2006.
And now after being reduced to 18 seats (as of writing) the Liberal left faction has decided that the problem is they didn’t go far left enough.
This is after a campaign where they promised to outflank the ALP on the left by legislating an emissions reduction target of 50% by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050.
This is after a term in opposition where they did absolutely nothing to argue the case against the world’s longest lockdowns.
This is after the Liberals reneged on their promise to reverse so-called “conversion therapy” laws.
This is after the Liberals enthusiastically jumped on board the ALP push for legislation to start negotiating a self-hating, anti-Australian treaty between the Victorian government and Aboriginals.
This is after the Liberal party Left faction co-operated with left-wing journalists at the ABC, The Age and 60 Minutes to run anti-Christian hit-jobs against Liberal party candidates thus making sure that the last weeks of the campaign were filled with scare stories about evil Christians taking over the Liberals (if only!).
This is after the supposedly Christian Matthew Guy caved to these scare campaigns and said that the democratically selected conservative candidate for the Eastern Victoria upper house seat Renee Heath wouldn’t be allowed to sit in the Liberal’s party room when elected because her father is a pastor of a church the ABC disapproves of.
This is after the Liberals purged Bernie Finn for being pro-life, and then the left faction attempted a smear job on his conservative successor Moira Deeming.
After all this you still have newly elected Liberal Party MP Sam Groth (formerly known as a mediocre tennis player and a slightly worse host of Postcards) spoke to the Liberal Party state assembly last Friday night and declared that the way forward was to become a:
“Modern and moderate Liberal Party” and “not give ground to these hard-right ideologies.
“There are not enough votes on the right to deliver government – there never has been and never will be in Victoria. The people that voted for the freedom and fringe parties only served to deplete our primary vote.”
So pretty much the same tune as the Turnbull boosters sang back when they were backing that disaster. Conservatives have nowhere to go, so why pay attention to them? It’s also interesting to note that Groth is talking about the future direction of “our” Liberal party when he only joined said party last year.
And now the left faction wants former lawyer John Pesutto as leader. This is the same Pesutto who after losing the wealthy blue ribbon seat of Hawthorn in the 2018 election managed to maintain a presence in the media through writing columns for The Age, appearing on ABC Radio and being the token “nice left-wing Liberal” on LGBTQ radio station Joy FM. That’s the same Joy FM the supposedly “far-right Christian” Liberals promised would receive $250,000 per year in taxpayer funding if they had won. Nice dosh if you can get it.
Pesutto is emblematic of the rich lawyers and doctor’s wives who can’t understand why “their” Liberal party can’t just simply be just like the Greens but with low taxes. The fact that in Victoria they’re halfway to that goal already and still can’t win an election doesn’t seem to sink in. The equally salient fact that the W.A. Liberals went even further left on social issues and found themselves so wiped out that the Nationals had to become the official opposition doesn’t seem to sink in either.
The truth is that there was a substantial decline in Labor’s primary vote, and not just in the leafy inner east (where the likes of Pesutto dwell) but in working-class areas as well. It’s just that none of this anti-Labor vote went to the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party raced as fast as they could towards the “Teal” positions and may indeed have blocked them, but meanwhile, they received just under 30 percent of the primary vote, their worst result in Victoria since 1952.
And the supposed “conservatives” in the party are no better. Tim Smith writing in The Spectator seemed to be complimenting the insane 1993 Fightback! Policy agenda of the current day climate crusader John Hewson, the reasoning seeming to be that “it might have been a terrible plan, but at least it was a plan”, which isn’t that reassuring, to be honest.
Pesutto’s current rival for the leadership Brad Battin seems closer to sanity, making muted noises about focusing on new suburban growth corridors and engaging with multicultural groups. But the thing about those multicultural groups is that they’re voting Labor for the same reason most other Victorians have voted Labor. Not because they love the idea of gender activists warping children’s minds in schools, but because they like the idea of those schools (and roads, and hospitals) being well funded with taxpayer dosh.
Australia in general and Victoria in particular has never been an economically libertarian society. The era when Victoria was the “Jewel in the crown” of the Liberal party was roughly the Bolte-Hamer years of 1955 to 1979. All of the elections in this period were characterised by huge votes for the socially conservative, economically centre-left Democratic Labour Party (DLP). It wasn’t until 1973 that the DLP vote went below 10% and it wasn’t until 1979 and the arrival of the Democrats (the middle-class w*nker Teals of their day) that the ALP was actually able to get back in.
The lesson of history is simple, if you want to win in Victoria you need to tack left economically and conservative socially. The current Liberal party seems unable to grasp this primarily because so many of them live in “Teal” seats many hours’ drive away from the poorly serviced rapidly expanding outer suburbs filled with not particularly well-off people with icky conservative social values.
The Liberal left faction threw a fit when Moira Deeming and Renee Heath were pre-selected because it exposed the anaemia they have in membership and activists outside the well-heeled inner east. The fact that one pastor in one church in Sale was able to organise his flock to throw out the left-faction upper house MP in favour of his conservative daughter terrified them.
Despite the scare campaigns Renee Heath has been elected to the upper house for Eastern Victoria with what looks like a 3% swing in her favour. Moira Deeming has been elected to the upper house for Western Metro with a similar swing of around 3%. And surprisingly in Northern Metro former ALP factional boss, Adem Somyurek (a man who knows his way around multi-cultural Melbourne) looks to have been elected for the DLP. Clearly, cultural conservatism is not the turn-off the Liberal Left faction thinks it is.
But will the Liberals learn from these lessons? Like hell, they will. At this rate, Dan Andrews might reach retirement age before being voted out.