Leadership woes continue
Discussions about replacing Michael O’Brien as Liberal leader continue, with a follow up story in the Herald Sun by Shannon Deery continuing coverage of the flow of events.
In recent weeks Liberal Party members have begun to hope that a change can happen. Many have been wrongly done by the Opposition Leader and his Party machine boss Ian Quick (and his handpicked sidekick President Robert Clark).
In past months, Michael O’Brien and Ian Quick have managed to upset or attack an array of Party members and MPs. They targeted several members at the Party’s State Assembly, they attacked MP Bev McArthur in the media, they have run a smear campaign against Brad Battin and savaged conservative Liberal leaders in the Gippsland South and Monbulk electorates.
In the meantime they have not adequately prepared for upcoming elections but have focussed on petty party politics. Instead of being a real opposition to the government, Michael O’Brien’s circle have been too busy talking about preselecting more women. Ian Quick in particular spends a lot of time trying to micromanage staff at the Secretariat rather than trust the State Director to do his job. The Party is in a deep leadership crisis.
The lack of policies, the dysfunction in the Opposition Office and the endless and increasingly bloody intestine factional war means that Michael O’Brien is far from fulfilling any of the key criteria which are expected in his role.
Upper House MP David Davis carefully weighed up the situation in the face of media sensationalism. Matthew Guy loyalist, Tim Smith MP, said that he did not anticipate an imminent challenge. The ongoing speculation is doing more damage by the day. Things are so bad that internal Liberal publications such as “In the Loop” have been running late.
The Herald Sun quoted a senior Liberal source who admitted, “The coalition’s job now is to prove they’re ready. They haven’t done that yet. They haven’t even tried.”
Peta Credlin was quoted saying that “a leader who can’t move votes against an absent premier and an incompetent government isn’t the answer, and the hardheads know it.”
Anonymous sources close to Michael O’Brien are obviously keen to say that their grouping “retains about a third of committed support inside the party room”. However, with two key O’Brien supporters open to flipping their votes, the leadership situation has become an astronomical crisis for O’Brien. With State Parliament sitting, the leadership speculation is the hot topic among MPs, staffers and Liberal members.
Even Young Liberals are interested in developments, as one member said in a discussion on Monday evening, “Everyone’s onto it like a second injecting room.”
In the meantime Brad Battin has not gone away, but continues to target the newer women in the Liberal Parliamentary team with the hopes that their support will give him the edge over O’Brien’s likely replacement Matthew Guy.
Comments from Herald Sun readers continues to be scathing.
Paul. “O’Brien is hopeless.”
Dianne. “The Libs have to change leaders to have any chance of being elected. I’m a Lib voter but Michael O’Brien just doesn’t cut it I’m afraid. Matthew Guy would at least increase their chances.”
Bernard. “If someone in the Libs party room doesn’t stand up and take over, Victoria is doomed under Dictator Dan.”
Peter. “I want the Liberals to win. Get a leader with fire in their belly not a wet cloth.”
Alex. “Weak leader and he needs to go.”
Douglas. “O’Brien seems like a nice guy but is completely ineffective against the Labor spin.”
Michael. “No one knows Mr O’Brien or what Libs stand for … help our broken state.”
Veritas. “To all Victorian Liberal party parliamentarians, please for the sake of Victoria, vote for Matthew Guy, as leader.”
Paula. “Are the Liberals completely stupid???? O’Brien is unelectable.”
Michael. “O’Brien reminds me of Ted Ballieu and we all know how that went.”
Wayne. “O’Brien unfortunately isn’t the answer.”
Douglas. “Michael seems to be ‘a good bloke‘ but a move against him is not only inevitable it is mandatory, the sooner the better.”
James. “O’Brien needs to go, plain and simple.”
Herald Sun comments on these stories on Facebook are equally damning.
Richard. “Anyone, but not him.”
Spansen. “This guy is embarrassing to watch.”
Elje. “Who is this O’Brien person?”
Geraldine. “We need someone with a bit of back bone, he’s too soft.”
Chris. “Mr O’Brien is too weak.”
Ange. “Libs will never get in with this galah leading them.”
Sasha. “Definitely not Michael O’Brien as he is weak.”
The people have spoken. Now the MPs must act.