Liberals to probe ‘long-term challenge’ of independent rivals as party announces post mortem

The Liberal Party will examine where its campaign went wrong in a probe after a significant loss to several independent rivals following the election loss on Saturday.
The review, announced on Thursday, will be overseen by Senator Jane Hume and the party’s former federal director Brian Loughnane.
The campaign review will focus on the “long-term challenge” for the party presented by independents, after many seats were lost to so-called “teal” candidates.
The Coalition lost six seats across the country to independents, many of them considered to be areas of Liberal heartland.
The party’s performance among different voting groups as well as the candidate selection process will also be put under the spotlight.

In a statement, both Mr Loughnane and Senator Hume said the review would be broad.


“In undertaking this important review, we will consult widely across all parts of the party,” the statement said.
“We welcome input from all party members and encourage submissions from all involved in the campaign.”
While there have been suggestions the Coalition would need to become more moderate, , said the Liberals had to return to their roots.
“We can’t be Labor light, and we won’t be if I’m elected leader of the Liberal Party,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB on Thursday.
“We need to make sure that we have points of difference, that we stand true to our values, that we understand our heritage and those that support us.”
Outgoing employment minister Stuart Robert says the Liberal Party will also review its policies after being deserted by women at the federal election.

Research from the Australian National University showed women had little confidence in the Liberal Party on gender equity issues ahead of Saturday’s election.

Labor closes in on majority government

Labor is currently one seat short of securing majority government with Julian Simmonds becoming the latest Liberal candidate to concede defeat following the federal election.


A file photo of then-Opposition leader Anthony Albanese. Source: AAP / LUKAS COCH/AAPIMAGE

The former member for the seat of Ryan in Brisbane made the concession on his Facebook page, with the winner expected to be confirmed as Greens candidate Elizabeth Watson-Brown.

As of Thursday morning, the Australian Electoral Commission has Labor with 75 seats to the Coalition’s 60, the Greens with three seats, and 12 on the crossbench.

At least 76 seats are required for a government to have a majority in the 151-seat House of Representatives.

The AEC is conducting new postal vote counts for the lower house and Senate as well as the rolling process of “mandatory secondary counts” involving fresh scrutiny of ballots cast.
In the tightest race, Liberal candidate Andrew Constance is 114 votes ahead of sitting Labor MP Fiona Phillips in the NSW south coast electorate of Gilmore.
Labor MP Brian Mitchell’s margin has dropped to 535 votes ahead of Liberal candidate Susie Bower for the Tasmanian seat of Lyons.
Outgoing minister Michael Sukkar is in a more comfortable position, 890 votes ahead of Labor rival Matt Gregg for the Victorian seat of Deakin.
In Brisbane, Labor’s Madonna Jarrett is holding on to her primary vote lead over the Greens, which will put her in a strong position to take the seat from Liberal MP Trevor Evans. She is 528 votes ahead of the Greens’ Stephen Bates.

In the Senate, the Coalition is on track to hold 31 seats, with 26 for Labor in the 76-seat chamber. The Greens are expected to hold 12 Senate spots, with One Nation likely to hold two seats.

Scott Morrison back to being a ‘quiet Australian’

In his first interview since the Coalition’s loss in the federal election on Saturday, the former prime minister has reflected on the business of politics, insisting he has always given equal weight to the good and the bad.

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seen speaking.

Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison has given his first interview since the election. Source: AAP / Richard Wainwright

“That’s the nature of our democracy,” Mr Morrison told Sydney radio 2GB on Thursday.

“I’ve never been one to get terribly flattered in victory nor pessimistic in defeat and I think you’ve got to look both of those things in the same way.”

Mr Morrison said spending more time with his family and in his southern Sydney electorate are his top priorities at the moment.

“[I’m] going back to being a quiet Australian in the [Sutherland] Shire,” he said.
He said he had also resumed doing everyday tasks he had missed during his tenure, including the school run.
“I’m looking forward to being a dad again … it’s been a while since I’ve been able to spend as much time as I would like with the family.”
Mr Morrison said he is humbled by the opportunities given to him while prime minister rather than dwelling on the election loss.
“You take every opportunity you can to try and achieve what you’re looking to achieve for the country and that’s what I’ve done,” he said.

“I leave not with regrets but with a great sense of gratitude to the people of Australia.”

‘Respect’ key to re-engaging with Pacific, Anthony Albanese says

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese wants Australia to be the main security partner for Pacific nations, amid revelations China is seeking to broker deals that would see it train local law enforcement agencies across the region.
Foreign aid will also be part of Australia’s step up in the Pacific region to improve relations, the prime minister said.
“It’s not just about funding it’s also about respect,” Mr Albanese told ABC News on Thursday.
“We need to re-engage with the region, they are sovereign nations of course and we need to respect that, but we need to be offering more support.”

New Foreign Minister Penny Wong has flown to Fiji to help solidify the government’s relationship with Australia’s Pacific neighbour.


A day after she returned to Australia following a visit to Tokyo for the Quad leaders’ summit, Senator Wong will meet with Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, along with the country’s foreign minister and senior leaders.
The visit comes amid heightened focus on the Indo-Pacific region following China and the Solomon Islands signing a new security pact.
China is also seeking security arrangements with other Pacific nations that resemble the controversial pact.

The details of the new arrangements are contained in pre-written joint statements Beijing officials plan to release after meetings with 10 island nations on Monday, documents obtained by AAP show.


Anthony Albanese ‘will respond appropriately’ to message from China

Mr Albanese addressed Australia’s relationship with China after confirming Chinese Premier Li Keqiang offered a congratulatory message following Labor’s election victory on Saturday.
After returning from the Quad summit in Tokyo on Wednesday, the prime minister appeared on ABC News Breakfast on Thursday morning where host Lisa Millar asked whether the message was “an olive branch”.
“I will respond appropriately. I welcome all of the congratulations that I have received from around the world,” Mr Albanese said.
“We will act diplomatically and appropriately in all our dealings with other nations. You need not use a loudhailer. What you need to do is to be firm, we will stand up for Australia’s values.”

Mr Albanese said the sanctions that have been placed on Australian exports going to China “need to be withdrawn”


“There is no justification for these sanctions which have hurt the Australian economy and hurt Australian jobs but I will respond appropriately. I welcome the congratulations which were received in a cable,” he said.

Mr Albanese also confirmed he had had a “very positive” exchange with French President Emmanuel Macron, but did not share details of what was said.

Tanya Plibersek apologises for Voldemort comments

Labor MP for Sydney Tanya Plibersek has apologised after comparing Mr Dutton to the villain from Harry Potter.
Ms Plibersek made the comments while appearing on Brisbane radio 4BC on Wednesday, where she was asked about Mr Dutton potentially taking up leadership of the Liberal party.
“I think there will be a lot of children who have watched a lot of Harry Potter films who will be very frightened of what they are seeing on TV at night, that’s for sure,” Ms Plibersek said.

“I am saying he looks a bit like Voldemort and we will see whether he can do what he promised he would do when he was last running for leader which is smile more.”

Close up of Tanya Plibersek in Parliament

Tanya Plibersek apologised after comparing Peter Dutton to Voldemort (AAP). Source: SBS / AAP

On Thursday morning, 2GB reported that Ms Plibersek had apologised for the comments.

“She said she’s contacted Peter Dutton already, she’s apologised unreservedly and acknowledges she shouldn’t have said it,” host Ben Fordham said.
Mr Albanese told ABC News Breakfast Ms Plibersek had done the right thing.
“It was a mistake. It shouldn’t have been said, we all make mistakes from time to time,” Mr Albanese said.
“What we need to do is to move on from them and it is how we respond to them. Tanya Plibersek responded appropriately.”

The prime minister also confirmed Ms Plibersek would “certainly” be on his front bench.


Mr Dutton, who has confirmed he will run for leadership of the Liberal Party, described the comments as “water off a duck’s back”.
“You read that sort of stuff online and it’s sort of the sewer of Twitter … I just don’t think you need to be nasty and mean,” he told Nine Radio.
“I’m not bald by choice, I was diagnosed with a skin condition a couple of years ago, it’s all just the reality of getting older.”

“I’m not the prettiest bloke on the block but I’m hopeful I’ll be pretty effective.”

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