7 DECEMBER 2018
BY MONIQUE HORE,
MATT JOHNSTON AND
VICTORIA'S Liberal Party will shift back to "the centre of the ground", former treasurer Michael O'Brien promised yesterday, after being elected to lead a demoralised state Opposition.Mr O'Brien was yesterday voted in as Liberal Party leader.
Eildon MP Cindy McLeish will serve as his deputy.He will take the reins from Matthew Guy, who resigned after last month's electoral drubbing. Mr Guy yesterday refused to confirm whether he would remain in parliament.
Mr O'Brien said the landslide election loss would force the Liberal Party "to be better", and return to the centre of politics. The Coalition was accused of lurching too far to the Right.Mr O'Brien said the state Liberals would stand for individual freedom, reward for effort, support for vulnerable Victorians, and "environmental stewardship".
"A majority of scientists say climate change is happening and a majority of scientists say that humans are contributing to it," he said."So let's not have an argument over whether it's happening. Let's have a debate about how we can best address it.
"This is a new day for the Liberal Party. This is a fresh start for the Liberal Party."We want to make sure that on all those issues Victorians care about, the Liberal Party will be there," he said.
The Liberals have just 20 MPs in the Legislative Assembly, compared with Labor's 57, leading Mr O'Brien to joke: "What we lack in quantity, we make up for in quality." He dismissed suggestions that quotas for female representation be introduced, despite the Liberals having just six women in parliament.Ms McLeish would not be drawn on whether she supported quotas, saying it was a debate for the party room.
"I'd like to see a lot more women in parliament."I'd like to see a lot more Liberals in parliament, to be truthful. We've taken a bit of a hit and we've got to re-establish ourselves," she said.
David Davis and Georgie Crozier will replace Mary Wooldridge and Gordon RichPhillips as the Liberals' leader and deputy leader in the Legislative Council.
Caption Text: New Victorian Liberal Party leader Michael O'Brien and his deputy, Cindy McLeish. Picture: AAP
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