Victorian Liberal MP Tim Smith says party is ‘teetering’, should forget ‘woke elites’

Toorak is part of the state seat of Malvern, held by former opposition leader and Liberal MP Michael O’Brien. Katie Allen lost the federal seat of Higgins to Labor’s Michelle Ananda-Rajah in last week’s election.

Smith said the federal Liberal Party had stood for nothing at the election.

His state seat of Kew falls in the federal seat of Kooyong, one of a swathe of electorates in Liberal territory flipped by independent challengers who campaigned for climate action and a national integrity watchdog.

Former treasurer Josh Frydenberg was the highest-profile Liberal MP cast out at the federal election, after a successful challenge from teal independent Monique Ryan.

The federal seats of Goldstein, North Sydney, Mackellar, Wentworth and Curtin were also former Liberal seats picked up by the independents backed by Climate 200.

The wipeout sparked an identity crisis for Victorian Liberals, with Jason Wood the only Liberal to improve his margin in the state.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy distanced himself from Tim Smith after the drunk-driving incident last year.

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy distanced himself from Tim Smith after the drunk-driving incident last year.Credit:Joe Armao

A number of right-wing commentators and Liberals have urged the party to shift further to the right and look away from its traditional heartland seats in the inner cities to win favor from voters in the outer suburbs, calls that Smith now appears to be echoing.

The opposition declined to respond to Smith’s comments on Sunday, pointing to recent comments from Opposition Leader Matthew Guy, who acknowledged the party faced an uphill battle in inner-Melbourne.

“Yes, we have clear issues in the inner-city areas,” Guy told The Age last week. “That’s true. But that’s not the whole state. Victoria is a segmented market, and I think what you’re seeing here is that playing out.”

Guy quickly moved against Smith, his former ally with leadership aspirations, after his drink-driving crash last year.

Asked on Sunday how he felt he was handled by the leader in the fallout, Smith said: “My mother always taught me, ‘if you’ve got nothing nice to say, say nothing at all’.”

He apologised at the time and acknowledged he’d made a “serious error of judgment”.

loading

Jess Wilson, a former staffer to Frydenberg, has been preselected to represent the party in Kew at the November poll. She will be defending the margin of 4.8 percent.

The Morning Edition newsletter is our guide to the day’s most important and interesting stories, analysis and insights. sign up here.

Leave a Comment