Politics

Conservatives Are Losing Their Minds After Labor Annihilated The Liberals In Victoria

They're searching for answers in all the wrong places.

Victorian Election results, matthew guy

In the aftermath of last night’s Victorian election slaughter, the Liberal party and its supporters are mopping up the blood, stitching up their wounds, and coming to the conclusion that it’s the children who are wrong.

“We’re going to clearly have to do a root-and-branch review, top to bottom, of all of this,” Liberal MP John Pesutto said to the ABC as he watched his own seat of Hawthorn slip through his fingers. The Liberals suffered a severe spanking at the polls, being sent to bed last night with notably fewer seats than they’d started the day with. “My own preference would be that the party needs to take urgent action to reorient, and get back on the right foot.”

Exactly what that reorientation will entail is not yet clear, but some conservatives are of the opinion that the failure was one of packaging, seemingly believing that Victorians would have happily joined the blue crew’s “African gangs” fear-based policy train if it had been presented in a more palatable way.

Some are blaming the Coalition’s loss on the unpopularity of federal Liberal politicians such as Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. Throughout the campaign, billboards and placards were posted around Melbourne showing Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy alongside them. Andrew Bolt, conservative commentator and man whose surname provides instructions should you ever encounter him, told Sky News, “There is no one author of this defeat, it’s too big to say that, but one is absolutely the [federal] leadership thing.”

The federal government have of course denied any involvement, Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told the ABC“Scott Morrison and I and other federal colleagues didn’t play an active role in this campaign, and it was fought on state (issues).”

Meanwhile, conservative political commentator Prue MacSween tweeted that she believed the Victorian Liberals would have been in a better position if Dutton was the federal Liberal leader, joining other conservatives in the mad scramble to find something other than the Coalition’s policies to blame.

Conservatives seem to be throwing criticism almost everywhere and hoping some of it sticks. Speaking to Sky News, Peta Credlin named another potential contributor to the defeat — the Bourke Street knife attack. “Terrorism made it tougher for the Coalition after that incident in Bourke Street, you couldn’t go out there hard in at least that immediate week for fear of looking like you’re politicising the issue,” she said.

“Matthew Guy also looked like a kid against a gorilla, that didn’t help him at all,” Bolt said to Sky News. “He didn’t have the courage to come on his own, he came with three advisers, how does that happen? I mean, you know, I just don’t think he looked like he was tough enough, big enough, and a man with a plan.” Others would argue Guy did have a plan. Victorians just didn’t like it.

Meanwhile conservative commentator Miranda Devine says the Liberals lost because they didn’t spend enough time demonising the Safe Schools anti-bullying program, proving that the far-right still hasn’t accepted the result of last year’s marriage equality postal survey.

“The Opposition Leader’s cowardice in answering a question about Safe Schools is a salutary lesson for conservative leaders, state and federal, about what not to do on social issues,” she wrote. “[Matthew] Guy was too gutless to to say that the state should not impose gender ideology on children behind our backs.”

You may remember that just over a year ago, the No side tried to turn the postal survey into a referendum on Safe Schools. They lost that battle pretty comprehensively, yet here they are, still trying to fight the bad fight, long after everyone has moved on.