News State Victoria News Guy, O’Brien to contest Vic Liberal leadership

Guy, O’Brien to contest Vic Liberal leadership

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The outgoing Victorian treasurer Michael O’Brien and planning minister Matthew Guy will nominate for the position of Liberal Party leader after Denis Napthine resigned following the Coalition’s election loss.

Labor is on track to win 48 seats in the 88-seat Parliament, while the Coalition was predicted to win 39 seats.

Mr O’Brien said it was vital that Victoria had a strong, united opposition.

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“Victoria needs an opposition that will take the fight to the Andrews Labor Government from day one,” he said.

“Victoria needs to hold Daniel Andrews accountable.

“We need to learn the lessons of Saturday’s result to turn the Liberal Party into a fighting force that will return to Government in 2018.”

The position of deputy Liberal leader would also be up for grabs after Louise Asher said she would vacate the role.

Mr O’Brien said he would not be nominating a preferred deputy leader.

“I will not be running on any ticket. I will be presenting myself to the party room as leader,” he said.

“I believe that tickets and cliques are highly destructive.

“I will work with whoever the party picks as deputy, should I be successful.”

Mr Guy will be moving to the Lower House from the Upper House when Parliament resumes, allowing him to take on the role of party leader.

In a statement, Mr Guy said he believed the Coalition could beat Labor in 2018, and he was the best person to lead the Opposition.

“The Victorian division of the Liberal Party has a proud history in government,” the statement said.

“Despite Saturday’s election defeat, I firmly believe that our best days lie ahead of us, not behind us. Daniel Andrews and Labor can be defeated at the 2018 election.

“More than ever Victoria needs a united, vigorous and energetic opposition.

“I believe that I am best placed to deliver the leadership to achieve this.”

Mr O’Brien said there would be no animosity between them after the vote.

“If I don’t succeed I’d be very happy to serve in a senior role and I will absolutely lock in behind the result,” he said.

“Matthew has also indicated that should the ball bounce the other way he will do the same.

“This will be a contest between friends. We’ve been mates for over two decades, we’ve both got a lot to contribute and we look forward to working together after Thursday.”

Labor’s cabinet line-up to be decided at caucus

The Labor Party caucus will meet on Wednesday to decide on the make-up of the new cabinet and the Government will be sworn in on Thursday.

There was speculation some members of Labor’s shadow cabinet would not receive ministerial roles.

Labor’s planning spokesman Brian Tee lost his seat in the Upper House so there would likely to be some changes to the line-up.

Premier-elect Daniel Andrews said the make-up of cabinet would be revealed on Wednesday.

“There’ll be a caucus meeting around noon tomorrow and then we will proceed to be sworn in on Thursday, that’s the plan,” he said.

Mr Andrews said he did not care who he faced as opposition leader.

“The Liberal Party are completely irrelevant to my plans to deliver on each of the promises I’ve made,” he said.

“You’re not going to find me wasting my time commenting on others.”

Deputy Labor leader James Merlino said he would continue in the education portfolio.

“I’m very excited to be the incoming education minister. I thank the Premier for that opportunity,” he said.

“This is an exciting time not only for schools but for kindergartens, our TAFE system.

“We’re going to get on with the job of providing young people with the opportunities they need to get the jobs that they want.”

Labor today promised $10 million to reopen the Lilydale TAFE campus as part of a $320 million TAFE rescue fund.

Mr Andrews toured the campus today and said talks have already begun with private providers interested in running the learning centre.

“We have to go through the process. We have to sit down and talk with all of those providers, some of which have already indicated a strong interest in talking about what’s possible here,” he said.

“I’m very optimistic that we will be able to have students back here quite soon.”


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