The Federal Government must take some of the blame for the Coalition’s loss in the Victorian election, former Liberal premier Jeff Kennett says.
The election post mortem is well underway the day after the Napthine Government’s loss made it the first one-term government in the state in 60 years.
• Labor rises to power: We won’t let you down
• John Cain: Daniel Andrews has won immense power
• Federal issues impact on Victorian poll
• Labor wins in Victoria, Napthine quits
• Comment: Abbott threw Napthine under a bus
Vote counting will resume on Monday, but Labor is on track to win at least 47 seats in the election,enough to have a majority in the 88-seat Parliament.
The Coalition has secured at least 37 seats and the Greens won their first ever seat in the lower house.
Mr Kennett said the Federal Government’s decision to introduce the fuel excise three weeks before the election, soon after an unpopular budget, made it very difficult for the Victorian Coalition.
“We hear the call for Australians to come onboard Team Australia but as far as the Federal Government has been concerned there has been no Team Liberal,” he said.
Tony Abbott needs to understand that his policies and his refusal to fund public transport to fix congestion is costing the Liberals votes.Adam Bandt, Greens Senator
“There is no doubt their performance on a number of issues, particularly the handling of their budget has caused great concern throughout the electorate.”
Federal Greens Senator Adam Bandt said the outcome sent a clear message to the Prime Minister.
“Tony Abbott needs to understand that his policies and his refusal to fund public transport to fix congestion is costing the Liberals votes,” he said.
“When Parliament resumes tomorrow the Greens will be moving in the Senate to call on the Abbott Government to make the $3 billion set aside for East West Link available for Doncaster rail and Melbourne Metro.”
In a statement, Mr Abbott congratulated Premier-elect Daniel Andrews on the election victory, saying while a significant proportion of the vote is yet to be counted “it is clear that Victorians have voted for a change of government.”
“The Commonwealth Government will work with the incoming government in the interests of all Victorians,” Mr Abbott said.
Serious lessons in loss, PM’s secretary says
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Josh Frydenberg, described the result as a wake-up call for the Coalition.
“There are some very serious lessons for us. We’ll go back to the drawing board,” he said.
“We obviously have to look at those federal Victorian seats which are marginal and ensure that we hold on to them at the next federal election.”
Federal Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, a former Liberal Party campaign director, denied suggestions that the Federal Coalition had to share the blame for the loss.
“Clearly from my experience and observation, this was a state election, overwhelmingly fought on state issues,” he said.
“I don’t accept that we had a big influence. Of course we’ll be realistic.
“We’ll have a good look at the implications but clearly from my experience and observation this was a state election overwhelmingly fought on state issues.
“I’d say the architect of this defeat is clearly Geoff Shaw.”
Mr Shaw, an independent, looked unlikely to retain his seat of Frankston, after holding the balance of power in the Victorian Parliament after leaving the Parliamentary Liberal Party.
The outgoing Victorian attorney-general Robert Clark said the main reason for the Coalition’s loss was the inability to effectively sell its message to voters.
He said federal factors also influenced the result.
“The Abbott Government budget has been a distraction for the Victorian Coalition in terms of us conveying our messages,” he said.
“It’s taken attention, it’s made it more difficult for us to get across to Victorians all the benefits that we were bringing, in particular our most recent budget.”