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”

Comments Page 3 of 6
1 2 3 4 6
  1. Paul Murray on Sky demanding Napthine does another presser, because if the ‘good people of Victoria wake up to that presser they will have no faith in him’.

    Herald Sun headline tomoz is Napthine: The Accidental Premier.

  2. The state Libs have nowhere to turn. Anyone who appears to want the position is tainted by corruption, more of which is being revealed every day. Or is just bizarrely inappropriate for the role in Napthine’s case. Talk about uninspiring.

    The only thing that’s going to save them is the absolutely piss-weak powers of IBAC – by Liberal design of course. Not to mention the fixed term provisions.

    Honest, open and transparent government my ass! Even if I was brain dead enough to vote these idiots in I would be mightily pissed off.

    Can’t wait to see the back of the lot. Shouldn’t have to wait too long either.:D

  3. Surely electing Napthine is accepting that the Libs have no hope for the future.

    Why not go for someone new to add some sparkle instead of someone with the charisma of a beetroot.

  4. Paul Murray has basically just said that if Napthine doesn’t come out and do a detailed press conference tonight to clear up his rookie first effort then he will be slammed by all and sundry.

  5. alias@95

    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.

    abbott has declared the need to throw out such dysfunctional rotten governments.

    abbott talks about illegitimate governments needing to go to an election now – and that is what is required in Victoria.

  6. A Little Victorian History Lesson post 1935..
    Gather around boys and girls while I tell you a true story of a strange fairytale kingdom called Victoria …in the olden days
    Once Upoin a Time(1935 to be exact) a strange group of political dwarfs called The Country Party fell out with their old shipmates the UAP(say Libs)and a cunning Labor Leader called John Cain Senior had a brainwave.

    He offered to give power to the Country Party…as the three groups each held about the same number of seats…and they accepted
    The CP leader …a rural populist called ..Dunstan(nothing to do with Donny from Adelaide)…accepted much to the fury of the Libs…and Labor got many concessions from Dunstan..whom they kept in office for a DECADE and from whom they extracted many concessions…until a Labor Govt was elected in 1945(albeit a minority one..).and as a bonus Labor got a state in which the two conservative parties hated each other with a manic fury for years

    …so in Victoria we saw a new model…anything’s possible!!
    …and it damaged the Federal conservative efforts at the time of Curtin..all a Labor bonus !

  7. [I doubt the drama is over yet.]

    You ain’t whistling dixie, bucko! There’s still the little matter of Peter Ryan’s role in bringing down Simon Overland.

    But as usual I think we should wait until we get an update from Latika on the big story.

  8. Denis Napthine ‏@PremierNapthine

    Just called Tony Nutt, he has pledged to help find Ted a job, he knows Gina Rinehart #springst

  9. [ruawake
    Posted Wednesday, March 6, 2013 at 9:13 pm | PERMALINK
    Surely electing Napthine is accepting that the Libs have no hope for the future.

    Why not go for someone new to add some sparkle instead of someone with the charisma of a beetroot.]

    That post is a disgrace, and an affront to the good name of beetroot.

  10. Denis Napthine ‏@PremierNapthine
    Just called Tony Nutt, he has pledged to help find Ted a job, he knows Gina Rinehart #springst

  11. Only 7/10 on your history essay, deblonay.

    John Cain was still only deputy leader in 1935; the Labor leader who made the deal with the Country Party’s Albert Dunstan in that year was Thomas Tunnecliffe. Labor’s support for the Dunstan government only lasted seven years, until 1942 (in the meantime Tunnecliffe had accepted the Speakership in 1937 and Cain had succeeded him as leader). When Labor withdrew support from Dunstan’s government in 1942, he carried on with UAP support until that was withdrawn in 1943, upon which Dunstan was forced to resign, and Cain became Premier–for five days. Then the CP and the UAP patched up their differences (more or less) and Dunstan returned to the Premiership heading a coalition government for another two years.

  12. Convention that Crown only installs a ministry led by lower house MP isn’t pure – last British PM from Lords was only 110 years ago. And Guy as an MLC at least is elected unlike Lord/Marquess/Viscount Salisbury…

    But whatever advice Guy received is worth zilch compared to the advice the Governor would receive. Which I trust would be that the convention in Aust is now solid.

    It would have risked hige embarrassment and circusdom for Libs to elect Guy, have him trot up to Governor and in all likelihood be rejected.

  13. Hahahahahaha

    liberal party hack on ABC 24 just reminded us that Napthine is a Country member – how could we forget?

  14. Hmmm, I usually like Faine, but I doubt the Liberals are looking at McEwen. It has a much larger margin now. It wasn’t even really “winnable” before it was redistributed.

  15. Everyone assumed it would be an Abbott stuff-up that will cause them to lose the election, but on current form it seems more likely that the rest of the party will just spontaneously combust.

  16. [‘Baillieu just quit because he’d had enough’ – Peter Reith.

    Haha you idiot.]

    Nobody is gonna believe it, but they did it smart so Reith could say it.

  17. [I think the plan was to install Matthew Guy, until he got tainted with this planning scandal on Tuesday.]

    Yep. Although it wasnt a very good plan unless they had a safe Lib MLA seat for him in a bye-election.

    Which only makes it plainer this was rushed by events, and by Shaw.

  18. From Napthine’s inaugural speech —

    [We also want to look after those who have special needs and that is why we are proud to deliver an extension of concessions to a wide group of pensioners for 12 months of the years. A 50 per cent cut in ambulance subscriptions while we are a champion of the NDIS system, and while we continue to be proud of our investment pensions for 12 months of the years, a 5-0 per cent cut in ambulance subscriptions. why we are a champion of the NDIS system, and why we continue to be proud of our record of investing in schools for students with special needs.]

    Oh dear.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/transcript-denis-napthines-full-statement-20130306-2flxi.html#ixzz2MkwezaSb

  19. Craig Emerson MP ‏@CraigEmersonMP

    Fed Libs at odds with each other over Labor’s trebling of tax-free threshold. VIC, NT, QLD, SA Libs at odds with each other over each other.

  20. I believe Peter Reith. I don’t think the numbers were there to depose him outright. Why he quit may have multiple reasons, but I think just being over it was a big one. I don’t think he really wanted the job in the end.

  21. Napthine has seen the glory of lying to our of schools.
    No more doctors, no more nurses as he closes hospitals.
    The Public Transport system failing as it slowly falls apart,
    As the gridlock stretches on.
    Glory, glory Denis Napthine..

  22. Labor should be able to point out the fact that the federal libs can’t get their stories straight – “They are either bad liars, or they are at each-other’s throats – and we see in Victoria, NT, Qld and SA where that leads” could be the line. I think there’s much worse to come out in Vic re: the level of corruption and political influence over supposedly independent statutory authorities and agencies – Ryan should be toast, as should Guy. In Qld and the NT the incoming NLP/CLP sacked all senior public servants and replaced them with political appointments without any job application process – they just put ‘their’ people in. Labor needs to run hard on this. If Abbott gets in he will do the same and move to silence all dissent. Tony Fitzgerald from the QlD Fitzgerald inquiry could be part of Labor campaign ads reminding us why this sort of government is BAD! Labor and the Greens also need to run hard on how much mining, polluters and tobacco companies/lobbies and ‘trusts/think tanks’ backed by these are donating to the Libs.

  23. So can anyone tell me why Napthine in particular? Was it simply a case of outgoing captain’s pick? Can any of this be explained in terms of the old Kroger-Kennett factional faultline?

  24. My tip – no early Victorian election no matter what. Next scheduled one is Nov 2014, and it has to be held even if there is a mid term election in between due to no confidence!

    That’s why ALP won’t try to force one (not that they can right now anyway). It would not be worth it for the abbreviated term in office.

Comments Page 3 of 6
1 2 3 4 6

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *