Exit Ted Baillieu

In the culmination of a fast-moving crisis that appeared on the radar less than 48 hours ago, Ted Baillieu has stepped down as Victorian Premier.

In the culmination of a fast-moving crisis that appeared on the radar less than 48 hours ago, Ted Baillieu has stepped down as Victorian Premier. More on that to follow, but for the time being here’s a thread to discuss it.

UPDATE (30 SECONDS LATER): Denis Napthine?!

UPDATE 2: Lacking any substantial understanding of my own concerning Victorian Liberal factional politics, I await further explanation as to why Denis Napthine in particular was left holding the parcel when the music stopped. As Lefty E relates in comments, Barrie Cassidy has apparently told Lateline that Baillieu threatened he “wouldn’t go quietly” if it was anyone but Napthine. Leadership talk had been primarily focused on Planning Minister Matthew Guy, but this was presumably predicated on some scheme to move him to the lower house, which events have moved far too quickly to accommodate (on which note, PB’s resident legal authority Graeme Orr argues in comments that while it’s purely a convention that leaders come from the lower house, it’s sufficiently entrenched a convention that a Governor faced with swearing in a leader from the upper house would likely be advised not to proceed).

Also yet to be explained are the substantial reasons why Baillieu felt resignation the best course of action available to him, and what exactly Geoff Shaw had to with it. For the time being, we are left to suspect that it may have involved Shaw flexing the muscle he has fortuitously acquired as a result of the delicate parliamentary balance. John Ferguson of The Australian offers the following exhaustive list of Shaw’s accomplishments in public life:

Police late last year launched a criminal investigation into Mr Shaw after he was allegedly found to have rorted his taxpayer entitlements over the use of his parliamentary car. In other controversies, Mr Shaw made lewd gestures at the opposition during a question time; likened legalising homosexuality to legalising child molestation, speed driving and murder; was involved in a roadside punch-up with a young motorist in 2011; was fined and put on a good behaviour bond after being charged over a 1992 assault at a Frankston nightclub; and allegedly called Labor MP James Merlino a “midget” in question time.

Having been supported through all this by the leadership of the government, Shaw announced today he could “no longer support the leadership of the government”, taking it upon himself to diagnose a “general loss of confidence Victorians are feeling”.

The situation raises thorny questions about the circumstances in which one should advocate an early election. Although I criticised Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott for overlooking the wishes of their constituents when they cut their deal with the Prime Minister, I have been of the view that their transparent arrangement provided a workable basis for the government to go about its business and answer to its constituents in due course. It seems quite a different matter for a government to be at the fickle mercy of a single opportunist with all manner of question marks surrounding his probity.

That’s not to say an election is realistically in prospect, at least for now. Presumably Shaw will need to stand by the government if he wants to see out his term, and a government that badly needs to right its ship will be entirely content to tolerate the arrangement.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

272 comments on “Exit Ted Baillieu”

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  1. Compact Crank@37


    @30 – Dave – I know he hasn’t resigned from Parliament – I’m telling him he should.

    Exactly how is that wrong again?

    Translate this bit again –

    [ This is about as close to losing an ALP Premier as it gets for a Lib Governent. ]

  2. Tabloid Crank@46


    @32 – this might actually work well for Federal Liberals – Red Tedd was virtually an ALP Premier as it was so losing him, especially in the laggard state of Vic so reliant on Federal largess – I just don’t see much downside – a few more polls will tell.

    Michelle! Is that you?

  3. By the way, we just witnessed the last rites on the final remnant of Victorian wet liberalism: the last of the Fraserian types.

    Not that Ted was progressive in any way – but he was a palatable front for the nasties that now dominate the LNP. He was old landed money, and gave the air of being interested in the arts etc.

    Now its just the hard right ‘new money’ types, a la WA, NSW etc. The front has gone.

  4. Player One@53


    Tabloid Crank@46


    @32 – this might actually work well for Federal Liberals – Red Tedd was virtually an ALP Premier as it was so losing him, especially in the laggard state of Vic so reliant on Federal largess – I just don’t see much downside – a few more polls will tell.


    Michelle! Is that you?

    Player – Its only a flesh wound 🙂

  5. [Is there any mechanism in Victoria for an early election given that we have fixed four year terms I wonder?]

    Its not that easy. A clear no confidence vote could do it but the ALP do not have the numbers. The Speaker could resign and vote with the Libs.

    If there is no Speaker then there is nothing to say how the deadlock is resolved.

  6. ruawake@59


    Is there any mechanism in Victoria for an early election given that we have fixed four year terms I wonder?


    Its not that easy. A clear no confidence vote could do it but the ALP do not have the numbers. The Speaker could resign and vote with the Libs.

    If there is no Speaker then there is nothing to say how the deadlock is resolved.

    Ru – who wants it resolved ?

    Let it bubble for about 6 months or so?

  7. IF tedd doesn’t quit now then he must at the next election. Ex-Premiers/PM’s hanging around is pretty fucking ridiculous.

    Even after they lose an election having promised not go the full next term, resigning is the best for everyone unless one is a sociopath.

  8. Stuck on the Bruce Hwy for 90 minutes and this happens. Victorians don’t mess around.

    I guess things couldn’t get much worse … Could they?

  9. @vanOnselenP: Too funny! RT @Wil_Anderson: The man who runs Victoria resigned? Which one: Neil Mitchell or the editor of the Herald-Sun?

  10. Compact Crank@63


    IF tedd doesn’t quit now then he must at the next election. Ex-Premiers/PM’s hanging around is pretty fucking ridiculous.

    Even after they lose an election having promised not go the full next term, resigning is the best for everyone unless one is a sociopath.

    NT – next cab off the rank.

    Then Campbell.

    tories = unstable administrations, corruption, running economies into the ground. Sacking people crushing communities.

  11. Rossmore@68


    @vanOnselenP: Too funny! RT @Wil_Anderson: The man who runs Victoria resigned? Which one: Neil Mitchell or the editor of the Herald-Sun?

    No its murdoch. He still runs the place!

  12. A Vic academic from Monash Nic Apolostulu said a while ago that there is a constitutional crisis waiting to happen in Vic in view of the requirement for a majoroty non-confidence vote to dismiss the Govt …when the house is evenly divided…and when there is a mandatory 4 year term

    Napthine BTW was opposition leader after Kennett’s demise and was a colourless nothing…and he lives in the far west at Portland…a long way from Melbourne,and that posed problems then…and now too ?

  13. [Mod Lib
    Posted Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    So, is this right?

    45 Lib
    43 ALP

    minus Shaw
    44 Lib
    43 ALP
    1 LIB indie

    so on the floor 43 to 43 with Shaw casting?]

    Yep and CC wants Tedd to resign. 43 to 42 with Shaw casting. Oops.

  14. Napthine is a vet. Apparently his practice specialises in castrating donkeys. The Lib backbench should be worried.

  15. Mod Lib,

    Which is probably why he moved now.

    You must remember that Jeff Shaw has a number of corruption investigations hanging over his head. Google him and even you will be outraged at the rorts he’s been involved with.

    This is why Jeff Shaw as Kingmaker is not going to be a good look for the Libs.

    I doubt the drama is over yet.

  16. Lefty e,

    My facebook feed is usually almost completely apolitical. It’s gone feral. They can’t decide if its good or bad, as most of us can’t remember Napthine, not being old enough. The Australian Labor Party, Victorian Labor Party and Daniel Andrews pages are gaining “likes” at an escalating pace. It may be nothing, as my friends aren’t really in positions to like the Liberal party, but its gained traction in a way I haven’t seen since I joined Facebook last year. It’ll probably clog up most media for a week or two here.

  17. One of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen in my life was a video of a disabled activist stripping in protest at an event with Napthine (then Community Services Minister). Denis did not look like he had the first clue about how to get an idea of how to even try to cope with the situation – he just fell into a million pieces and ran from the room. Piss funny.

  18. dave@69

    [ tories = unstable administrations, corruption, running economies into the ground. Sacking people crushing communities. ]

    Aha! Finally we get to see the LNP’s policies! I just hope their costings add up this time.

  19. To anyone who knows about these things:

    Is it fair to assume that Matthew Guy would be premier right now were it not for The Age’s scoop on Tuesday about the lunches he attended with developers who paid $10,000 a head – and later required his approval for various projects?

  20. Good riddance. So tired of so-called “moderate” Liberals in leadership positions renouncing pretty much anything close to a principle they previously held.

    At least now we have HONEST, dyed in the wool right wing nutjobs driving our state down the economic rabbit hole.

    So what do you say, Tones? Election now?;)

  21. alias@86


    To anyone who knows about these things:

    Is it fair to assume that Matthew Guy would be premier right now were it not for The Age’s scoop on Tuesday about the lunches he attended with developers who paid $10,000 a head – and later required his approval for various projects?

    Not sure.

    But what about another version of your post –

    Is it fair to assume that Matthew Guy would be premier right now were it not for lunches he attended with developers who paid $10,000 a head – and later required his approval for various projects?

  22. Re Vic and state of the seats
    ________

    Holding’s resignation is bad luck for Labor at this time
    as the by-election won’t be till late April

    It raises the point re politicians who work like crazy to get elected then when their party loses power they throw in their cards …and a seat that would have killed for..to”spend more time with their families”as they seek even better jobs
    Opportunists all !

    So much for the party loyalists who spend time money and their efforts to get their man elected only to see him go off with a very fat pension…giving the electors the finger

  23. [absolutetwaddle
    Posted Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    ..

    At least now we have HONEST, dyed in the wool right wing nutjobs driving our state down the economic rabbit hole.

    So what do you say, Tones? Election now?;)
    ]

    Compared to Tones, Napthine is even in the starter blocks.

  24. Is this just a tad desperate:

    @LiberalVictoria: Denis Napthine will be a strong leader with a clear plan and solutions for Victoria.The Party welcomes his appointment as Premier #springst

  25. How long for the coverage?

    This has all the hallmarks of a looming very public and
    very drawn-out slow death of this current government.

  26. zoidlord@93


    How long do you think the coverage will last? I bet a week.

    No, surely not! Surely every twist and turn of this “chaotic minority government” who have “lost their mandate” will be forensically dissected by our valiant and intrepid media watchdogs! All the corruption and lies will be relentlessly pursued without fear of favor until all the bad apples in this “do nothing” government are rooted out

    … oh, pardon me. I seem to have slipped into an alternate reality there for a minute.

  27. zoidlord@93


    How long do you think the coverage will last? I bet a week.

    Then NT.

    But the real damage is the big, tory government states who have crashed their economies by following the ‘Costello Rules’ – sack em and cut services to the bone while selling everything you can.

    Now this mob are unstable, stabbing a first term, blue blood lib premier in the back.

    Corruption in the likes of Qld, deals with white shoe brigade, its on for all….

    Voters have clear demonstrated choice.

  28. @michellegrattan
    Yes, it’s a long bow but reckon this could add to the federal destabilisation

    Michelle Grattan, once again reminding us how lucky we were when she left Fairfax.

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