Libs refuse to learn from disasters

by KEVIN ANDREWS – THE spate of recent elections should be a wake-up call to the State divisions of the Liberal Party across Australia. 

The result in Tasmania – where the Party is endeavouring to form a minority government – is but one sign that the state Liberal brand is tarnished. 

Factionalism and internal warfare have replaced the Liberal’s drive to win government in most State divisions of the Liberals.
Kevin Andrews
Former Federal Liberal Party Minister

More telling was the result of a by-election in South Australia for the State seat of Dunstan.

For the first time in 116 years, a sitting premier has appeared to win a by-election while in government.


Where opposition Parties usually perform well against sitting governments, the opposite occurred in Adelaide.

The result should not have come as a complete shock to the Party. In 2020, then-Premier Steven Marshall only held the seat by 260 votes.

Mr Marshall had been a member for some 14 years. The Liberals lost government in 2022 after just one term, handing the reins to Labor leader Peter Malinauskus.

Like NSW Premier Chris Minns, Mr Malinauskus presents as a middle-of-the-road leader. Labor attracted voters in well-to-do suburbs that historically voted for the Liberal Party.

The other feature of the result was the high vote for the Left-wing Greens, increasing from about 14 to 22 per cent.

The results paint a dire picture for the Liberals at the State and territory levels.

The Party has been reduced to a rump in Western Australia and is currently unelectable in Victoria.

The only encouraging State for conservatives currently is Queensland, where the Liberal National Party is performing well and the Labor Government is under intense scrutiny.

It is also a State where results can swing sharply from election to election, possibly because of the unicameral parliamentary system.

Factionalism and internal warfare have replaced the drive and compromise to win government in most State divisions of the Liberals.

The faceless men and women who run the Party have become entangled in a spiral of defeat.

Voters are deserting alternatives like the Greens, the Teals or independents.

At a time when Australians are desperately seeking leadership and solutions to the many challenges, they are met with infighting and a lack of vision.

Some observers were quick to conclude that the result in the Dunstan by-election would have federal consequences.

The State seat falls within the national seat of Sturt, held for many years by Christopher Pyne, which is now held for the Liberals by James Stevens with a margin of just 0.45 per cent – just a few hundred votes.


As expected, political opponents of the Liberals were quick to claim that the Dunstan result was a reflection of the state of the Party.

The Greens proclaimed it had a “woman problem” even though the Liberal candidate was a woman!

These post-election comments are usually self-serving.

The more obvious reasons for defeat include the failure to proclaim a clear set of alternative, credible policies and instead campaigning became overly focussed on personalities.

The current danger is that many voters are unimpressed by the failure of both major Parties to advocate for solutions.

Despite claims otherwise, the Dunstan result does not necessarily flow onto the next federal election.

First, the federal Liberal/National Coalition vote has been trending upwards in the polls. While it is still not high enough to win a majority, the direction is positive.

Secondly, Peter Dutton and the Opposition have suffered no loss by advocating for policies vastly different to the Labor Government.

The result of the Voice referendum was a case in point.


The advocacy for the use of nuclear power has also been a plus for the Coalition.

If the Coalition is prepared to advance other policies in the next year to meet Australia’s challenges it may win enough votes to displace Labor.


There is much fertile ground: a cost-of-living policy that addresses the challenges of housing and immigration is critical. Raising national productivity is an imperative, as is reducing crippling taxes and costs on business.

The Coalition’s primary vote has improved, although historically Oppositions have tended to lead in the polls midterm.

More work is necessary if they are to have a shot at winning government at the next federal election.

Australians have generally distinguished between State and national elections.

They understand the different responsibilities and are prepared to vote for different Parties.PC

Kevin Andrews

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH: Former Federal Liberal Minister Kevin Andrews. (courtesy The Canberra Times)
RE-PUBLISHED: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on March 25, 2024. Re-used with permission.

4 thoughts on “Libs refuse to learn from disasters

  1. Wells said Kevin, as is normal for you and so on the crux of the problem! It is a shame that in NSW we cant have a division as we had in Victoria in 1998 into the 2000’s. How I have missed the principles and ethics of that Division then!! Those politicians were so what is needed in Govt of a state or nation. Best regards Melanie

  2. After 60 years a member & LP voter When we had genuine Conservative politicians, gave the party a miss following the backstabbing of Tony Abbott a 14 seat majority winner by Malcolm & his socialist & moderate cronies,even today moderates are being endorsed as future candidates,love to know how many of my long standing conservative followers have dejectedly deserted the party,no different even @ state level & local government.

    1. Hardly a reply, John, just an agreement.
      It’s difficult if not impossible to define a Liberal these days.
      There needs to be a national manifesto for the Liberal Party.
      Problem is there are so many useful idiots shuffling around the dark recesses of Party rooms, it makes that nigh impossible.
      We saw with Tony Abbott what can be achieved.
      I hope Peter Dutton is talking to him and learning.
      He is our only hope – what a mess this country is in.
      Just opened the Oz this morning – dreadful.

  3. Conservative hard-working sensible liberals convert marginal seats into safe seats, apropos Andrew Hastie in Canning and Phil Thompson in Townsville. The average bloke wants to put a roof over his family’s head, bread on the table, and to ensure that his kids get a decent education rather than having to learn about how homosexuals have sex and continuously having to pay homage to the aboriginals with welcome to country and like nonsense.

    Labour premiers like Chris Minns and Peter Malinauskas are a huge improvement on their woke liberal predecessors, and until the liberals are prepared to have done with the moderates control of their party they have nothing to offer the populace at all except a slightly slower road down the Argentinian path to poverty.

    That said, liberals did allow these dreadful people to gain control of their party so have much to answer for. A literate Conservative government of either liberal or labor persuasion would turn a potentially rich country like Australia around in no time. Albo’s sheltered workshop show bears no resemblance to the Hawke/Keating administration.

    Keating put it best when commenting about the Whitlam government. He said the first thing that they did after election was to go down to the city to reassure the business community that The Beverly Hillbillies weren’t back in town.


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