The former Victorian Liberal leader, Denis Napthine, has been re-elected tonight and will become Premier following the resignation of Ted Baillieu.
Liberal MPs were given ten minutes notice of a party-room meeting to be held at 7pm tonight. Baillieu offered his resignation to the partyroom and Denis Napthine was elected in his place.
Baillieu spoke to the media just before 8pm. He offered no reason for his resignation other than the need for new leadership. He said he would remain in parliament.
Napthine’s media conference ended abruptly with the ringing of the division bells in the Legislative Assembly. He spoke emotionally of his regard for Baillieu but seemed otherwise unprepared for his elevation to the premiership.
The political drama follows several days of upheaval over the publication of tape recorded conversations involving Baillieu’s Chief of Staff, Tony Nutt, a former Liberal candidate, Tristan Weston, and the Liberal Party State Director, Damien Mantach.
Earlier today, the Liberal member for Frankston, Geoff Shaw, resigned from the Liberal Party to sit as an independent. He cited lack of confidence in the government’s leadership as his reason. His resignation reduced the government’s two-seat majority to one. Some reports suggest Shaw may have delivered an ultimatum to the Liberal Party.
Napthine was leader of the Liberal Party following its surprise defeat in the 1999 election. He was replaced by Robert Doyle just months before the 2002 election. Doyle was replaced by Ted Baillieu in 2006. Baillieu led the Liberals to defeat in the 2006 election before narrowly winning the 2010 election.
Ted Baillieu saw the Governor, Alex Chernov, at approximately 9.50pm tonight and tendered his resignation. Denis Napthine was sworn in at 10.20pm. He is Victoria’s 47th Premier since 1855.
Baillieu has held a press conference confirming his resignation.
- Listen to Baillieu’s press conference (6m)
- Watch Baillieu (4m)
- Listen to Napthine’s press conference (4m)
- Listen to Napthine sworn in and first remarks as Premier (1m)
Statement from Geoff Shaw, Liberal MP for Frankston.
Released from his electorate office at 6.23pm.
This morning I advised the Premier of Victoria of my resignation from the Parliamentary Liberal Party, effective immediately.
As always my focus is on how I can best represent the people of Frankston and at the moment I believe that is from the cross bench.
Labor left Victoria in a mess and Victorian’s elected a Coalition Government to fix the problems and build for the future. While the government has made significant progress in that direction, I believe my actions reflect the general loss of confidence Victorians are feeling in the leadership of the government.
Statement from Ted Baillieu, following the Liberal Party meeting of MPs.
This evening I have tendered my resignation as leader of the parliamentary Liberal party for Victoria and I will shortly visit the governor to tender my resignation as the premier for Victoria.
Can I say, I love this state, I love the Liberal party and I love this role that I have had the honour to enjoy over the last 2 and a bit years. I have appreciated immensely the honour of being the leader of parliamentary Liberal party but it is apparent to me that a change of leadership is in the best interest of the government and hence I have made that decision.
I want to put my full support behind the new leader of the parliamentary Liberal party. Denis Napthine, and to indicate that I will be staying on in parliament to support him. I want to thank the deputy premier Peter Ryan in particular, members of the national party and the Coalition team. I want to thank members of the cabinet and our respective organisations.
I want to thank my staff, in particular my chief of staff and many other senior members of staff, they know who they are, I’m not going to go through them all. They have my deepest thanks and affection. I know what they have contributed, enormous hours.
I want to thank also my electorate staff who have endured while I have been on other duties and also my very special friends, timeless friends who shall remain nameless. I want to of course thank my wife Robyn and our three children. I love them dearly. I also want to thank my extended family and I come form a large family.
I am sure I will be having a good close cuddle with many of them later this evening. I just want to say what is important in this state, to me, it is the great legacy of this state, Victorians enjoy a legacy I believe unmatched upon this country, unmatched upon this world, and it’s an honour to stand in this room and understand this parliament has not just represented a beacon of democracy but also an icon of what is possible.
The core character of Victorians is one of aspiration and ambition and Victorians have since settlement days, when the first settlers blended with indigenous communities here, demonstrated that core character over and over again and it is character to raise families, to build for the future, grow business in a very special way. It is also about reaching out to the world.
We have a multicultural base here which I think is unprecedented in the world, it is our strength, it’s our character, it’s what brings us together and it is what will ensure that Victoria meets the challenges ahead. I simply say what is important in all of this is the people of Victoria and above all I want to thank the people of Victoria for the trust they placed in me over several years particularly those who were good enough to afford us the opportunity to be in government in 2010.
That trust is a trust so much attached to the core character of Victoria. I wish Denis Napthine all the best. He has my full support and is an outstanding individual and I know he will give the the job ahead his all.
And also, I want to take this opportunity to thank all those in the arts and culutre community. I have had the joy of also being Minister for the Arts and it is an enormous role for the arts and culture in Victoria along with everything else that makes this the most liveable state, the most liveable city. And we saw it on parade just a few nights ago in Melbourne and the hundreds of thousands who came to the city, with smiles on their faces, with their family, for me, that said so much about Victoria. Thank you very much.
The last group I want to thank is you guys, the media. You do your gig, we do ours and I wish you well in the future.
Statement by incoming Premier Denis Napthine.
Thank-you very much for coming tonight. Just recently my parliamentary colleagues gave me the great honour and privilege of electing me as the leader of the Victorian parliamentary Liberal party. This is a great honour, a great privilege and a great challenge.
Firstly let me say about my friend and colleague Ted Baillieu, Ted has put his heart and soul into the Victorian Liberal party and he worked with the people of Victoria for the best part of three decades. He is an outstanding individual and an enormous contributor to the Liberal party and to Victoria.
I am proud to call him my friend. I am very proud to have served in his government and I am enormously proud that I was part of the Baillieu led coalition team that won the 2010 election.
Ted Baillieu certainly has served the state very well. He has served the Liberal party extraordinarily well and he can be very, very proud of his achievements. I am honoured and proud to say that he is not just a colleague, he is a great friend. And I want to pay tribute to Ted, Robin and his family.
As I was saying it is my task to build on the great work and the great foundation that Ted Baillieu and his team provided for this government — to build on the task where we have delivered a sound economic management, a triple A status and it is one of the only states and territories that has triple A status and maintained that status.
That is a great strength for Victoria and a great tribute to the Liberal National team but we want to deliver as we have on infrastructure and in the last budget we had a $5.8 billion record spend in infrastructure. Key infrastructure like the regional rail link, key infrastructure like the $1.6 billion Port of Melbourne expansion project, key infrastructure like the Bendigo Regional Hospital — the largest investment in health services in regional Australia.
Key infrastructure like the Comprehensive Cancer Centre. Like the development of the Port of Hastings. But at the same time we also want to build on the good work in the areas of fundamental basic services like law and order, community safety where we have delivered additional police, PSOs on our railway stations. Improved law and order. Better systems to deliver a safer environment in our homes, on our streets, in our communities. We also want to look after those who have special needs and that is why we are proud to deliver an extension of concessions to a wide group of pensioners for 12 months of the years. A 50 per cent cut in ambulance subscriptions while we are a champion of the NDIS system, and while we continue to be proud of our investment pensions for 12 months of the years, a 5-0 per cent cut in ambulance subscriptions. why we are a champion of the NDIS system, and why we continue to be proud of our record of investing in schools for students with special needs.
We are a government that is about caring for those who need assistance, making our community safer and creating the infrastructure and economic opportunities to grow and develop this state and that is what we want to build on as we look to the future and look forward to making Victoria stronger and better for all Victorians.