News State Victoria News Civil war erupts in the rubble of Vic Libs’ shattered, reeling party

Civil war erupts in the rubble of Vic Libs’ shattered, reeling party

The stunned faces of Liberals at their victory-party-that-wasn't tell the story of a ballot-box decimation. Photo: AAP/David Crosling
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As the Victorian Liberals reel from a thumping at the ballot box, the party’s leading lights are already dissecting what went wrong and whose heads should roll.

Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett has spectacularly called for state party president Michael Kroger to resign before midnight.

“If there’s one person who should stand down tonight it’s Michael Kroger,” he told Seven News.

“And he should stand down before the clock strikes 12(am) because I think his leadership of the party over recent times has been appalling.”

Mr Kroger said it was not uncommon for Mr Kennett to call for people to resign.

Former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett immediately called for Michael Kroger’s resignation. Photo: AAP

“Jeff regularly calls on others to resign. I wish him well,” he told Sky News.

“The organisation does whatever it can to support the party. But of course it’s a collective responsibility, Matthew Guy, the parliamentary team, the president, everybody.

“To try and get one person and say that person should go, that’s nonsense.”
Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg backed Mr Kroger.

“(He) is the elected president of the Liberal party … and as for what he does at the next state council (meeting) … is a matter for him,” Mr Frydenberg told ABC TV.

“I don’t think we want to point the finger at any one person.”
Shadow Attorney-General John Pesutto, who is likely to lose his seat of

Hawthorn, told ABC the party needed to regroup.

“We clearly have to do a root and branch review. We shouldn’t be in this position,” he said

Michael Kroger ridiculed Jeff Kennett’s accusation that he is unfit to continue as Victoria’s top Liberal. Photo: ABC

“We did a lot of things right but obviously something has gone horribly wrong.”

Liberal member for Kew Tim Smith pointed the finger squarely at the party’s federal counterparts.

“When you’ve got federal politicians talking about themselves and their various ambitions that hasn’t helped our party like it didn’t help Labor during the Rudd-Gillard years and that’s damage that we at the state level have to deal with,” he said.

Liberal state leader Matthew Guy conceded the election at Bulleen’s Veneto Club, in his own electorate, where he called on the party to remain united.

In an ironic twist, the Italian-themed social club is due to be demolished to make way for Labor’s North East link toll road.