Liberal brand on the nose

EDITORIAL: Labor’s Daniel Andrews has pulled off a stunning victory and all credit to him.

Labor ran an almost faultless election campaign and came up with a slogan  “You’re on your own with the Liberals” that clearly penetrated the psyche of an increasing number of Victorians who are worried about their future.

Saturday’s result is a worrying sign for the Liberal brand around the nation and, although Denis Napthine has too much dignity to say so, Prime Minister Tony Abbott must shoulder much of the blame for his defeat.

Mr Abbott’s first year in power has been a squandered opportunity to pick up the pieces after the disastrous Rudd-Gillard era and working-class voters have paid the Coalition back for walking away from the car industry and a cruel budget that targeted low-income groups by proposing to make people pay to see the doctor, pay more for petrol and more for university.

The fact is the Liberals should have won this election. As it is, Dr Napthine and his ineffectual predecessor Ted Baillieu have presided over the first one-term Victorian government since 1955.

Dr Napthine, an honest, integrity-driven and hard-working politician deserved better but in the end his fate was sealed by a combination of inept government in Canberra and a tactically brilliant push for power from Mr Andrews and his team that has ushered in a generational change for Victorian politics.

The member for South West Coast has stepped down as leader but will stay on the opposition benches for the time being and that is good news for his electorate.

From Labor’s perspective, Mr Andrews is already a hero. Just four short years ago Labor was in pieces in Victoria after the Coalition’s surprise victory over John Brumby but now it is back with a clear majority and strong mandate.

Locally, Labor has not promised much, which is not a good sign. So while we thank Denis Napthine for his service to this area, we also congratulate Daniel Andrews and the Labor party and respectfully request that he not ignore the people of south-west Victoria.

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