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Victorian Liberals Plot To Remove Poggioli and Howley

Victorian Liberals stunned by yesterday’s loss of the blue-ribbon seat of Burwood are planning a move against State Director Peter Poggioli and Party President Joy Howley.

A source close to the party hierarchy at 104 Exhibition Street has told VCEpolitics.com that senior Liberals are furious over the result of the September 18 election, the Frankston East by-election, and now the Burwood by-election.

A senior member of the Liberal Party’s private polling team has already been dispatched to work for South Australian Premier, John Olsen, in an attempt to find a scapegoat for the recent poor performance of the party machine.

Many senior Liberals are appalled at the choice of Lana McLean over Helen Kroger in the Burwood preselection. Prominent senior Liberals such as former State President Ted Bailleau backed the ex-wife of former state president Michael Kroger, but McLean was a surprise winner at the preselection convention. McLean’s campaign never got off the ground due to a series of allegations about her personal affairs.


A.L.P. Wins Burwood By-Election With 10% Swing

8.30pmIn one last final nail in the coffin of the Kennett era, the Labor Party’s Bob Stensholt has won the former Premier’s seat of Burwood in today’s by-election.

Bob Stensholt, ALP Member for BurwoodWith counting proceeding, the ALP appears to have secured around 55% of the two-party-preferred vote, and has won 10 of the 13 booths in the electorate.

Jeff Kennett held the seat for the Liberals continuously since its formation in 1976. Following his defeat in the September 18 State election, Kennett resigned from the seat on the day the new Parliament was opened.

The result is an important boost to the ALP, giving it 43 seats to 42 for the Opposition. Whilst the government still needs to rely on the support of at least 2 of the 3 independents, the extra seat will make management of the Legislative Assembly slightly easier, as well as giving the government the absolute majority of 45 votes that it needs to pass constitutional change.

The result partly illustrates the “honeymoon” period being experienced by the Premier, Steve Bracks, but is also a disaster for new Liberal leader, Denis Napthine.

The Liberal candidate, Lana McLean, was dogged by controversy throughout the campaign. After winning preselection against the party machine’s preferred candidate, Helen Kroger, Mrs. McLean was accused in Parliament of making a false statutory declaration in a dispute with a neighbour over a driveway. It was revealed she had also lobbied the then Planning Minister, Rob Maclellan. Later, there were revelations about a dispute with the Commonwealth Bank and reports that she had been ejected from an underage sporting event for using the “f word”, presumably “fuck”, to an umpire.

The Labor candidate, Bob Stensholt, a Monash University academic, was also under attack for spelling mistakes in his election literature: “tought” for “taught”, “elecion” for “election”, etc. He was also accused of hiding his time spent training for the priesthood in the 1970s.


ALP Candidate For Burwood By-Election Distributes Video Throughout Electorate

The ALP candidate for the Burwood by-election in Victoria, Bob Stensholt, distributed a 5-minute videotape to the electorate, as part of his campaign.

Stensholt ran as the ALP candidate at the general election, but was defeated by the Liberal Party leader and Premier, Jeff Kennett, who has held the seat since 1976.

The by-election was caused by Kennett’s resignation from Burwood following his defeat in the election. Burwood is a traditionally Liberal-voting area that falls predominantly within the federal electorate of Kooyong. [Read more…]


Five Candidates To Contest Burwood By-Election

Five candidates have nominated for the Burwood by-election caused by the resignation of the former Premier, Jeff Kennett.

The Labor candidate, Bob Stensholt, has drawn the top position on the ballot paper, followed by the Liberals’ Lana McLean.

The Greens have nominated Philip Crohn, the Democratic Labor Party has nominated perennial candidate Dr. Peter Ferweda, and Stephen Mayne is running as an independent.

Mayne continues to operate a web site called Jeffed.com, styling it as “real news”.


Liberals Reject Kroger In Burwood

Liberal PartyThe Liberal Party has chosen Lana McLean as its candidate for the Burwood by-election on December 11, rejecting the public front-runner, Helen Kroger.

It is reported today that McLean performed better at the preselection convention last night than Kroger. Liberal Party preselection conventions are made up of 60% branch delegates (local party members in Burwood) and 40% Victoria-wide delegates.

McLean’s victory is a blow to the Liberal establishment which supported Kroger. McLean was the Liberal candidate for Melbourne in the September 18 election, where she polled 36.24% of the two-party-preferred vote, a swing of 2.15% over the 1996 result.

Jeff Kennett won Burwood on September 18 with 56.79% of the two-party vote. This represented a swing of 1.79% to the ALP.

A victory for the ALP would help it maintain its tenuous grip on government, but Burwood has always been a Liberal seat and will be hard for the new government to win.

Nominations for the by-election close on Monday 22 November.


Kennett Set To Quit Parliament: By-Election Battle Looms

Shot himself in the foot?Former Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett, is set to quit parliament.

The Australian reports today that Kennett has decided not to stay in Parliament since his defeat last week.

The resignation could come as early as today, ensuring that Kennett will not sit in the new Parliament when it meets for the first time next Wednesday.

The Liberal Party holds Kennett’s seat of Burwood with a margin of 6.79% and the new Labor government will be keen to consolidate its precarious hold on government with a by-election victory. Expect a big-name, high-profile candidate to be preselected.

Meanwhile, Kennett and his supporters, including party president Joy Howley, have already annointed Helen Kroger, the ex-wife of former Victorian party president, Michael Kroger, as the Liberal Party’s candidate for Burwood.

In a deliciously mischievous move, the attempt to propel Ms. Kroger into Burwood seems designed to pre-empt moves by the Kroger-Costello faction to find their own candidate. Ms. Kroger apparently remains close to Costello.