Former Victorian Liberal leader Dr Denis Napthine has defended federal MP Dan Tehan after the party recorded its worst result in Wannon for 73 years.
Mr Tehan has suffered a 6.4 per cent swing against him with three quarters of votes counted, but Dr Napthine said Mr Tehan had campaigned well and it was Labor that should be looking in the mirror.
"Given the overall results across the country that's a good result for Dan," Dr Napthine said.
"His primary vote held up reasonably well and that's a testament to his efforts in the electorate."
He singled out Mr Tehan's campaigning for road funding and saving the Portland aluminium smelter as key benefits the Wannon MP had brought to the area.
"He also delivered significant direct benefits to our region, particularly to the agricultural, fishing and forestry industries through his work as trade minister," Dr Napthine said.
The swing against Mr Tehan has been greater than the overall swing against the Liberal Party in Victoria, which stands at 5.55 per cent.
Dr Napthine conceded both major parties had plenty to think about, but argued Labor "should be very concerned about their vote".
"Even though they won overall they won with the lowest primary vote of a new government since WWII," he said.
The Liberal Party primary vote sat four points behind Labor in Victoria and five points behind in NSW as the Liberal vote crashed below 30 in Australia's two major states.
But Dr Napthine said Labor's decision to essentially give up on certain seats in a bid to focus resources on key marginal electorates was especially dangerous.
"I know the Labor Party strategists are trying to play political games in traditionally Liberal seats. That might have short term benefits but will have long-term effects," he said.
"The danger is it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy if you don't support your local branches and supporters. It hollows out your base."
Dr Napthine said he wasn't suggesting Labor had tanked in the Wannon election, saying Labor candidate Gilbert Wilson was a serious and well-known Portland figure.
The Standard revealed last week that Labor only committed $390,000 in election promises to Wannon in the 2022 race, compared to $175 million in neighbouring Corangamite.
"If I was giving advice to the Labor party I'd say there's long term harm to the party and to our democracy in playing these games," Dr Napthine said.
The former state member for South West Coast also reserved criticism for independent candidate Alex Dyson, calling him a "populist" who knew he "never had to deliver" on his promises.
"When he was put under scrutiny at the forums on issues like housing he was found deficient," Dr Napthine said. "I think its incumbent on people who are serious contenders in the future to put through detailed, concrete proposals and show how they're actually going to pay for them."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.