Iain has asked me to write a post on the ‘surprise’ events of last night in Victoria that saw Ted Baillieu walk away from the job he never wanted and never carried out, only to be replaced with the forgotten man of the Liberal Party, Denis Napthine. So here it is, reproduced from my home blog Alpine Opinion:
The only thing that surprises me about last night’s events in the Victorian Liberal party is that anyone would be surprised that Ted Baillieu would crack at the first sign of a challenge to his leadership and throw in the towel.
The media asks the question, “Why did he resign?, but the obvious answer is this: Because he could.
You see, Ted never expected to win the 2010 election and, consequently, was ill-prepared for the job that he never really wanted in the first place.
He then failed to deliver on his promises and lurched along aimlessly, losing public support quite simply because he was like a fish out of water.
Poor little rich Ted just didn’t need the hassle and couldn’t cope with it either.
The elevation of failed former leader Denis Napthine is just a joke and surely he’s just a stop-gap Premier put in as a temporary measure while the Liberals sort out what to do with rogue (and disgraced) MP Geoff Shaw from Frankston, whose resignation from the party yesterday morning sparked the leadership change.
The Liberal government is now effectively dependant on the continued support of Shaw from the cross benches to hold onto office, which is a seriously untenable position.
How long before we go to an early election?
I’d suggest that Napthine is nothing more than a ‘night watchman’ put in until controversial Planning Minister Matthew Guy can cross from the upper house to the lower house and assume the leadership … and don’t be surprised if the seat he runs for is the one presently held by none other than Ted Baillieu.
After all, what’s the point of Ted staying in Parliament, if there ever was one?
And Guy is certainly going to need a safe seat in an area like Hawthorn if he wants to take the risk of going to a by-election.
And if that’s the plan and if we do go to an election later this year, it’s quite conceivable Victoria could face the prospect of having 4 different Premiers in the one year – Baillieu, Napthine, Guy and …. Daniel Andrews – because surely, after the debacle of the past two years, the Liberals will not be returned.