The Liberals should have cleared out the dead wood after losing the 2007 election. They did this in NSW after losing in 1972 and were back in office within three years. During the Hawke-Keating years they did this in dribs and drabs, and were out of power for a decade.
Peter van Onselen revives his reputation as the Liberal Party's favourite stenographer with this:
QUESTIONS are being asked inside the Coalition about poor decision-making that might have cost it the chance to win the election outright.Whenever PvO uses the passive construction you know he's up to no good.
Late candidate preselections, poor funding for key seats and large-scale campaigns in safe conservative electorates between Nationals and Liberals made Tony Abbott's job of seizing the prime ministership much more difficult than it needed to be ... The Australian has been told, however, that the Liberals and the Nationals spent close to $2 million fighting each other in seven electorates across the country.Money well spent: beats having the Liberals wring their hands as Labor picks the yokels off one by one, which has been the case at the past ten elections or so.
In the seat of Banks in NSW, which the Labor Party only retained with 51 per cent of the two-party vote, the Liberal candidate, Ron Delezio, told supporters he had only $20,000 with which to campaign, and the party didn't do a direct mailout of postal vote applications.The Liberal Party has been eyeing off these seats for twenty years. This is sheer incompetence. Rather than quote such people and protect their anonymity, now is the time to identify the dead wood that will have no future in the next Liberal government.
Liberals also did not direct mail postal vote applications in the key seats of Greenway or Lindsay, giving Labor a considerable edge when those votes are tallied.
Abbott is believed to have been furious with the slow candidate selections, something that happened because of factional wrangling.Ha ha ha! As you live by the factional sword, like Abbott has, so shall you die by the sword.
Lindsay had been held by popular Liberal MP Jackie Kelly for the entirety of the Howard government until Kelly's retirement in 2007. Yet the Lindsay campaign team did not seek her advice during the campaign and Scott admitted to The Australian she had not even spoken to Kelly.Rightly so: after the Ala Akba Troy Craig debacle at the last election, it would be absurd to go anywhere near Kelly.
The disappointment with the performance of the Liberal campaign in NSW has led some senior Liberals to question whether state director Mark Neeham's position is tenable, with the state election only seven months away. One senior source at state level said: "He has to go because while the state election is hopefully unlosable, we want to win big ... and after a performance like this, how can we have any faith he'll make that happen?"Barry O'Farrell will basically run his own campaign, Neeham will perform the sort of mennequin role he has always performed. Each time the Liberals have won office in NSW, first under Askin and then Greiner, the State Director has been sidelined by the parliamentary party leaders. PvO should know that and should've been smart enough to seek it out.
In NSW, the Liberals had a net gain of only one seat from their 2007 performance, despite the unpopularity of the state Labor government and concerns in western Sydney about Labor's policies on refugees.
Victorian Liberals are also disappointed with their performance, losing the seats of McEwen and La Trobe to Labor. Liberals thought Labor had reached a "high-water mark" in Victoria at the 2007 election, yet it won two more seats this time around and almost picked up a further two (Dunkley and Aston) ... The poor showing by Liberals is being put down to a home state advantage for Gillard, the unpopularity of Liberal state leader Ted Baillieu and the internal warfare that has broken out since the once-dominant Costello and Kroger faction split.LaTrobe was lost because Mitch Fifield went and euthanased Jason Wood. The Victorian Liberals is comprised of clowns almost entirely. Their Senate representation would embarrass a suburban council. Tony Smith, Josh Frydenberg and Sophie Mirabella hold safe seats, and are liabilities. Kelly O'Dwyer is the only Federal Liberal MP worth the price of her food. They need another 1989-style cleanout but there's no-one there to do it. No wonder Tony Abbott cites Labor 'civil war' in pitch to independents. He must do this to hope that fissures in his own side - which the KOWs know well - don't swallow him whole and suffer in comparison with Gillard Labor.
In protecting his sources, PvO fails to make the case that the disappointment experienced by the Liberals is down to their failure to get rid of legends-in-their-own-lunchtime who are largely responsible for the party's post-Latham decline. This level of self-delusion among the Liberals needs serious examination, which will yield far bigger stories than is possible by traditional journosphere nonsense like quoting anonymous sources.
Update 25 August: It's worse than anyone could have imagined. If David Clarke really stood between the Liberals and Federal Government, David Clarke must go. Barry O'Farrell has isolated this malevolent scum but Abbott can't confront Clarke except as an act of patricide, not even if everything depended on it.