‘Sudanese gang’ fears mocked as locals call Lib's bluff
Former federal Labor MP Craig Emerson has mocked the Liberals' failed pitch to voters on law-and-order issues, saying Victorians "braved the Sudanese gangs and turned out to vote" in Saturday's state election.
"Personally I hope the Victorian election is a rejection of Peter Dutton's Liberals' efforts to vilify the Sudanese community for votes. Playing on fear & using the race card is sickening & it looks like #vicvotes agree," he tweeted on Saturday.
He later added, "Plaudits to those Victorians who braved the Sudanese gangs and turned out to vote against the Liberals' socially reckless Matthew Guy and Peter Dutton."
The federal Home Affairs Minister sparked ridicule earlier this year for saying Melburnians were "scared to go out at restaurants" at night because of African street gangs.
A TALE OF TWO PARTIES
Daniel Andrews has hit the ground running on day one of his second term as Victorian premier as both state and federal Liberals try to work out how to recover from the disastrous state election.
Labor experienced a big swing of around six per cent and could end up with a majority of 16 in the 88-seat parliament following Saturday's ballot. It was a result that shocked even the winners.
Mr Andrews has put the Labor victory down to a progressive and positive agenda and a bold infrastructure plan that delivers for future generations.
He expects voters will see the same thing in federal Labor leader Bill Shorten when he fights new Prime Minister Scott Morrison at next year's general election due by May.
"(Federal Labor will) campaign hard right across the country to get that precious gift, the opportunity not just to defeat our opponent, but to have the responsibility and the opportunity to make our nation better," he told ABC TV.
Pressure is building for change in the state Liberal party at both the parliamentary and organisational levels. Opposition Leader Matthew Guy's future is under a cloud after he led the Liberals to a traumatic defeat where it lost some of its traditional strongholds.
The Liberals could end up with just 22 seats, while the Nationals will have six. The coalition went into the election with 37 seats.
Mr Guy called for unity while conceding defeat on Saturday, but he gave no indication on whether he would stay on as opposition leader, or even remain in parliament.
Former Liberal premier Jeff Kennett called for heads to roll, including that of Victorian party president Michael Kroger.
Two Liberal enemies clashed during Seven's election broadcast, with Mr Kroger refusing to stand down.
At least two senior Victorian federal Liberal MPs - Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Health Minister Greg Hunt - have refused to dump on Mr Kroger and have called for unity as the next federal election looms.
"I think we should that level of finger pointing now," Mr Frydenberg told 3AW on Sunday.
Senior politicians are saying federal factors, especially the controversial rolling of Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister in August, had little impact on the Victorian election.
But Mr Andrews said there were lessons to be learned, especially on delivering on promises and not cutting essential services.
"They want politicians who say what they are going to do, and then get on and do it. Where that leaves (Prime Minister Scott) Morrison I leave it for you to judge," he told the Nine Network.
The Greens, who fancied a balance of power role, also failed to win more seats, and lost Northcote after less than a term, leaving it with just two wins at the close of counting on Saturday.
While the conservatives are left to consider the future, Mr Andrews has been quick to get back to work.
His second term Labor government is promising to deliver more road and rail and plans to borrow $25 billion for it, doubling net debt to 12 per cent of gross state product.
Before the election, he said his first order of business once re-elected would be to kickstart work on Monday on Melbourne's $15.8 billion North East Link toll road.
The Victorian Electoral Commission will continue counting votes on Sunday. Some results aren't expected to be known for days.
DAN'S BRUTAL SLEDGE TO RIVAL
Mr Andrews spent the morning after Saturday's election landslide doing a victory lap of breakfast TV.
Mr Kroger had rebuffed Mr Kennett's spectacular call for him to resign on live TV after the party's state election obliteration - but Mr Andrews called for him to stay on.
Speaking on ABC's Insiders program on Sunday, Mr Andrews took a pointed swipe at his political opponents.
"Swanning around the suburbs that you've never been to in your Burberry trench coat lecturing people about the cost of living - people pick fakes and they pick nasty fakes from a long way off," Mr Andrews said.
"I hope that he's the Liberal Party president for life."
The blame game within the Victorian Liberals started soon after counting started to reveal the level of damage.
The party, which campaigned on "Get Back In Control", saw a spiralling decline in their vote, with safe seats falling to Labor or becoming marginal.
Shadow Attorney-General John Pesutto, who won his seat of Hawthorn by 8.6 per cent in 2014 and is now watching it balance on a knife's edge, told the ABC on Saturday night the party needed to regroup.
"We clearly have to do a root and branch review. We shouldn't be in this position," he said "We did a lot of things right but obviously something has gone horribly wrong."
Mr Guy conceded the election at Bulleen's Veneto Club, in his own electorate which has also had a chunk taken out of his vote, where he called on the party to remain united.
LESSONS FOR MORRISON IN LABOR WIN
Mr Andrews said the emphatic victory for his Labor team showed voters want governments that deliver, a warning for the troubled Morrison government as a federal election looms.
"I am certain that Victorians have just about had enough of a federal government that cuts hospitals, cans schools, and refuses to admit they have done it. That is what really makes people angry," Mr Andrews told the Nine Network on Sunday.
"They want politicians who say what they are going to do, and then get on and do it. Where that leaves (Prime Minister Scott) Morrison I leave it for you to judge."
Mr Frydenberg was quick to say the result couldn't be blamed on Canberra. "From a federal perspective, we also note that we won the last two state elections in South Australia and Tasmania," Mr Frydenberg told ABC TV on Saturday.
"Scott Morrison and I and other federal colleagues didn't play an active role in this campaign, and it was fought on state (issues)."
But federal Labor MP Richard Marles said in a recent effort to "speak conservative", the federal Liberals have lost the ability to "speak Victorian".
"To think that there are no federal implications here - I hear Liberals desperately trying to say it's got nothing to do with us - is patently ridiculous," he told Sky News on Sunday.
The results show there will be more seats in play at the federal election, due by May, than the Liberals would have expected, Mr Marles said.
Mr Andrews expects federal Labor leader Bill Shorten will follow his government's tactic of campaigning on a positive and optimistic plan as the election nears.
"I'll be out there campaigning very hard to see Bill Shorten as Australia's next prime minister," he told ABC TV.
TURNBULL DRAMA 'DIDN'T SWAY VOTE'
Mr Hunt said the election bears lessons for the federal Liberal Party but stressed it was fought on state issues and believes the ousting of Malcolm Turnbull didn't sway the result.
The Health Minister said the federal government needs to listen to the Victorian electorate and understand the messages and vision it wants.
That comes as the Liberal Party have lost five out of six of the past Victorian elections, but won four out of six of the past federal elections.
"We need to look at what has been successfully federally and why there's been a gap here in Victoria," Mr Hunt told reporters in Melbourne.
"For me, now we should reflect carefully, we should look at what all of the lessons are. That means we have to look at how we are presenting our vision to the Victorian people, to build that common bond with the Victorian people."
Mr Hunt backed Mr Guy's claim that federal matters weren't significant to the state vote. "Overwhelmingly the state campaign was fought on state issues," he said.