Libs far right blamed for election disaster
THE "noise" from the Liberal hard right minority and media camp followers today is being blamed for the party's collapse this weekend in the Victorian state election.
President of the Senate and Victorian Liberal Senator Scott Ryan led the backlash against what he said were attempts by the far right to ram ideological views down the throats of voters.
He said, for example, "religious freedom" took up much of the Liberal state campaign but was not a priority for voters.
"Our voters sent us a message that some of the noise that comes out of this place (Parliament House) and some of the noise that comes out of commentators about what it means to be a Liberal (had angered Liberal voters)."
The anger towards the disrupters was clear as Prime Minister Scott Morrison and ranking Victorian Liberal, Deputy Leader and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, headed a grim post mortem on the election this morning.
If the state votes were reflected federally, the Government could lose Liberal "cradle" seats in Melbourne such as Menzies, Goldstein, Higgins and Kooyong.
Mr Ryan linked the "noise" to the hard-line comments made after the Wentworth by-election when the East Sydney seat slipped from Liberal hands for the first time.
"Some people said after Wentworth, they tried to dismiss those voters as not part of real Australia," he told ABC radio today.
"Labelling people, dismissing them, that's not the Liberal way.
"I want to cast the net wide in the Menzies and Howard tradition to give people a reason to be Liberals."
He condemned false "litmus tests" set by the hard right.
"If you don't hold this view on a social issue and you don't hold this particular view on climate change or renewable energy, somehow you're not a real Liberal."
Mr Ryan, a mainstream conservative, did not name MPs or their media camp followers.
But his target was an outspoken group which includes former prime minister Tony Abbott and former ministers Kevin Andrews and Eric Abetz.
However, the Victorian result is being seen as a signal this approach has left voters in other states unimpressed.
Further, the dumping of former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull in a failed bid to replace him with Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton - a plot launched by Mr Abbott and others in his group - didn't help the Victorian Liberals.
"Some of the noise that comes out of this place (Parliament House) and some of the noise that comes out of commentators" harmed the party, Mr Ryan said.
His comments match the analysis of victorious Labor Premier Daniel Andrews who accused the state liberals of following a "playbook of division and scare campaigns" and of using "nasty stuff".
Mr Ryan had a special mention for media figures who relayed the hard right message.
"I am sick of being lectured to by people who aren't members of the party, by people who have never stood on polling booths, about what it means to be a real Liberal," he said.