Come back Jeff?

I well remember the night Jeff Kennett lost office in 1999 – that was on the day Carlton beat the Bombers in a semi-final by a single point. A double whammy.

More importantly it was 15 years ago.

Since that time there have been a number of calls for Kennett to return to politics and lead the Victorian Liberal Party. In the past few days we’ve heard them again. The AFR this morning had a story pooh-poohing the whole thing:

One of the perennials of Victorian state politics is the quite rational desire to get Jeff Kennett to return.

While the urge is understandable, it’s not going to happen – which is what we think state Planning Minister Matthew Guy meant when he told ABC radio on Tuesday that a return to politics by the former premier was like a comeback by the Spice Girls. (Minister, where were you on their 2007-08 reunion tour? Honestly.)

So everyone is having a bit of a laugh – but there is a deeper problem.

The Victorian Liberals haven’t managed to renew themselves in 15 years; 11 of those in opposition and 4 in government. For the coming November election Labor are $1.22 to win and the Coalition $4.15.

This entry was posted in State Politics. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Come back Jeff?

  1. Badjack

    If Kennett made the comeback so would the Libs, but somehow I think there is too much money outside of politics available to him. Plus his family may wish to have a say.

  2. Rabz

    Is Henry Bolte still around? Perhaps the Victorian Liberals could resurrect him.

  3. Steve D

    Jeff would get a 10% swing to the Libs just for turning up. Except, perhaps, in Geelong.

    Way back before he was premier the first time he was depicted as a bull in a china shop (by Geoff Hook) and the electorate rejected him in favour of more John Cain.

    He was indeed a bull in a China shop once he got in, but that was generally a good thing. If he kept his ego in check, he would probably be premier for a longer time than his first stint.

    Whether it would happen would be another question entirely.

  4. Sinc, are the poll figures at all surprising? Victoria is also one of the states that voted Labor in for a second (memorably dysfunctional) term in government. The one Green MP in the Lower House, Adam Bandt, has heaps of enthusiasts in Melbourne. Basically, Victoria is no longer the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ for the Federal Liberals; indeed, it has not been for a long time.

  5. RMR

    Yet another statement of the capability of our elected officials. Mind you, none of my friends in senior corporate roles would consider becoming a politician. Too hard to make a difference, and too little reward for the stress and time commitment. But Bravo to those who make the change, like Julie Bishop and Malcolm Turnbull.

  6. Notafan

    If Jeff comes back I will vote for him.
    I didn’t last time but I finally figured the council amalgamations were the best thing since sliced bread.
    If he could get rid of them altogether this time, please.

  7. Baldrick

    Memo to FLC (Tony Abbott): The Victorian Liberals don’t deserve to win after a pathetic performance.
    Take note.

  8. stackja

    The present Victorian ALP will do what to Victoria that is different to what Cain/Kirner did?

  9. Sinclair Davidson

    The one Green MP in the Lower House, Adam Bandt, has heaps of enthusiasts in Melbourne.

    People tell me that he is a hard-working member in his constituency. If that’s the case no wonder they vote for him.

  10. Andrew

    Around rubbishes the Liberal government in the Peoples Republic of Victoria. How bad were they really by government standards? I know they disappointed by not doing a whole heap of stuff, but in terms of monumental blunders and catastrophic loss of public money are there any major Gillard like incidents against them?

  11. David

    Is Henry Bolte still around? Perhaps the Victorian Liberals could resurrect him

    Rabz from the way Henry drank he is probably well preserved – revival may be a different thing. The Ballarat Hospital are still looking for his blood alcohol sample from the bingle he was in.

    For all his faults he got things done. Jeff was a shadow of Henry but still a lot better than the incompetents we have had here in the Soviet Socialist Republic of Victoriastan.

  12. Rabz

    Victorian ALP will do what to Victoria that is different to what Cain/Kirner did?

    More desalination plants, hopefully. Victoriastan is crying out for them.

  13. Charles

    that was on the day Carlton beat the Bombers in a semi-final by a single point………….and that was a bad thing??

  14. Tom

    The day of reckoning draws nearer. If you don’t defend and champion liberalism, you defend and champion creeping big government socialism. Napthine (and Baillieu before him) are ashamed of the principles in their party’s constitution. And there is no one in the ranks prepared to defend and champion the strong intellectual ideas therein like a Dan Hannan or Mark Steyn. Napthine and his girlymen are creeping around hoping that no-one notices they’re not Labor. Napthine is better than Red Ted, but he is still a weak leader who won’t trumpet the good work done in the past three years to balance the books because Free Stuff. The electorate responds to strong leaders, which is why they pine for Kennett (and Howard federally). And why the Laborlite Liberals will be massacred in November and the state will be bankrupted because the Liars have figured out they can successfully sell spiralling debt put on the never never, eventually having to be paid by the net taxpaying minority. In the meantime, another decade of FREE STUFF!!! YAAAAAAAAY!!!

  15. Ant

    It really is remarkable how a ‘steady as she goes’ government such as we have in Victoria is polling so badly.

    While they haven’t done much ‘wrong’ , the clear perception is that they haven’t done much full stop even though structurally I expect that they have beavered away and improved the condition of the state.

    Their messaging, however, is truly appalling in its ineptness. They haven’t the first clue – even after more than a decade of bells, baubles and whistles from Bracks and Brumby – most of which have been such spectacularly costly failures, such as the north-south pipeline, MYKI and my personal favourite – the Wonthaggi Desalination Plant.

    That last one should have been enough to guarantee that the Labor Party never even get a sniff at forming government again for a entire generation.

    Yet, there Labor sits poised to retake power and rub Napthine’s nose in it while his team lies back and takes it.

    Labor’s failures seem to be largely forgotten, although things like the desal continues to hoover up hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year and funnels them straight into the coffers of the big union super funds – despite not a single drop of water ever having been needed.

    It’s forgotten because the media class are not interested in highlighting the spectacular failures of the former Labor government. They’re too busy highlighting any miniscule negative issue of the current Coalition government.

    But, most of all, it’s forgotten because the Libs have no idea on what Labor understands and generally does relatively well: Understanding their audience, marketing and targeting.

    They should be in the public’s faces, in the media and door to door with basically the words “Labor’s desal plant” injected into every sentence they utter.

    They have a ton of low hanging fruit ripe for the picking and hurling into the putrid faces of their opponents – Labor’s ties to corrupt mafia-like unions being another.

    But, instead, they’re bloody hopeless at politics.

  16. Hendrix

    that was on the day Carlton beat the Bombers in a semi-final by a single point………….and that was a bad thing??

    I remember that day! (Vaguely). I watched the game at the beefsteak and bourbon in the cross getting absolutely shit-faced on a footy trip.

  17. feelthebern

    My comment on the open thread this morn.

    http://catallaxyfiles.com/2014/08/27/wednesday-forum-august-27-2014/comment-page-1/#comment-1430864

    I would have thought the Roskam comment would have been of more interest.

  18. Craig Mc

    that was on the day Carlton beat the Bombers in a semi-final by a single point.

    It was magnificent viewing from the top deck of the Northern Stand. The following week still hurts though.

  19. Hendrix

    It really is remarkable how a ‘steady as she goes’ government such as we have in Victoria is polling so badly.

    While they haven’t done much ‘wrong’ , the clear perception is that they haven’t done much full stop even though structurally I expect that they have beavered away and improved the condition of the state.

    Having moved to Melbourne 12 months ago, I can say listening to Napthine on the morning brekky shows is like listening to fingernails running down a chalkboard. Why does he feel the need to shout everything? That said, I believe that a liberal government that does nothing is better than a labor government that does Anything.

  20. Notafan

    Desal plant, north to somewhere pipeline, myki
    We want more of those, please.

  21. .

    I believe that a liberal government that does nothing

    If only they did!

  22. Hendrix

    I believe that a liberal government that does nothing

    If only they did!

    That’s true.

  23. H B Bear

    People largely get the governments they deserve.

    Victoriastan is about to get theirs.

  24. Walter Plinge

    One thing going for Kennett is that he won’t need introducing to Victorian voters. He’s maintained a high profile since leaving politics – and in a good way.

    I can’t recall anything Napthine’s done other than kick-start East-West Link. I hope contracts are signed before the election.

  25. tomix

    Helluva nidea. No chance of the ALP bringing up Cheryl Kernot. The ABC? Maybe.

  26. Andrew

    Wake up, Jeff! Victoria needs you!

  27. Tom

    One of the modern settings for a political campaign strategist that the lunatic left controls the media messaging. If you don’t understand that, you can’t run a successful campaign. Who are the dregs that the Vic Libs swept up off the floor to run this one?

  28. Tom

    Wake up, Jeff! Victoria needs you!

    If he was actually drafted to, say, Red Ted’s seat of Hawthorn, that would actually work and the Libs would win the election in a canter. But, given his Fraserian ramblings of recent times, I fear the Clown Prince would saddle the state with as much debt as the next Liars rabble.

  29. Andrew

    If he was actually drafted to, say, Red Ted’s seat of Hawthorn, that would actually work and the Libs would win the election in a canter. But, given his Fraserian ramblings of recent times, I fear the Clown Prince would saddle the state with as much debt as the next Liars rabble.

    I could handle a bit of Kennett’s whacky ideas on some issues if we just had his descisive, reformist minded attitude to government. Kennett and Stockdale really set the standard for state Liberal Governments around the country which has not been surpassed imo.

  30. Tom

    Make it happen, Andrew. I believe you can.

  31. Token

    What is funny is that Kennett was the hope of the Vic Liberals throughout the 80s, the face of the party in the 90s, the benefactor to the hapless spin heavy Labor in the 00s and shadow which shows up how useless the Labor Lites are in the 10s.

    The man truly is a giant. He even made car phones famous!

  32. Tom

    By the way, the simple thing that Kennett did that connected with voters was to stand up for principles. How hard is that, you dumbass losers?

  33. Bern1

    Jeff was in Malaya with Peter Cosgrove.One night the wives were looking at old photos and one asked why Jeff always seemed to be wearing his Sam Brown.Short answer is he was always the Duty Officer.Other Subalterns were most appreciative.

    Cosgrove was Senior Subaltern at the time and it was his job to keep the Subbies in line and impart the words of wisdom from above. Kennet kept interjecting until Cosgrove snapped and leapt the table.Kennet wisely decamped the scene.Cosgrove was more a sprinter than a long distance man.That is why Kennet still breathes.

  34. daggers

    Poor Dennis Napthine is a vet by profession. Such people should steer clear of professional politics. They just haven’t got the nous for it. I saw Dennis recently beating out the message: he was embarrassingly dreadful. He was like a kid standing for class captain. He talks down to us as if we are idiots unable to understand or as if we’re all old grandmas who are going to turn to the person next to us on the sofa and say ‘Well, he seems like a nice man. Another lamington, dear. ?’ Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucccckkkkkkk.

  35. Piett
    The one Green MP in the Lower House, Adam Bandt, has heaps of enthusiasts in Melbourne.

    People tell me that he is a hard-working member in his constituency.

    One could make a bad joke about Adam Bandt’s hard-working member, but I’m not going to touch it.

  36. Piett

    Poor Dennis Napthine is a vet by profession. Such people should steer clear of professional politics. They just haven’t got the nous for it.

    But David Leyonhjelm is a vet also, isn’t he? Oh, hmm, I see what you mean.

  37. .

    I saw Dennis recently beating out the message: he was embarrassingly dreadful. He was like a kid standing for class captain. He talks down to us as if we are idiots unable to understand or as if we’re all old grandmas who are going to turn to the person next to us on the sofa and say ‘Well, he seems like a nice man. Another lamington, dear. ?’ Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucccckkkkkkk.

    Damn son, that’s a funny.

  38. JohnA

    Ant #1431217, posted on August 27, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    But, most of all, it’s forgotten because the Libs have no idea on what Labor understands and generally does relatively well: Understanding their audience, marketing and targeting.

    Yes, they are currently running an internal campaign to make themselves look like Labor-Lite. They are removing all vestiges of candidates and policy that look like a “non-vote-winner.”

    That sounds plausible, but the trouble with it is that in Victoriastan, the pinkest state in the Federation, the voters prefer Labor policies because the ALP puts “sugar on the table,” to use a phrase we haven’t heard much recently.

    And as many comment here about Mr Abbott federally, the Vic party is trying to appeal to the wrong voters, and will lose a lot of its own voter base, without picking up any Labor voters.

    Why vote Lib/Labor-Lite when you can have the real version? Or, who’d buy Carlton Light, when you could have VB?

  39. Leigh Lowe

    Confucius say soufflé not rise twice.

  40. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    In the weeks leading to the 1992 election someone had rented a full sized billboard on Punt Road down below the MCG and the Hilton. The word “Going …” appeared first, then a week later it was “Going, going …” and so on as the date neared.

    On the Monday after Kennett dispatched that utterly awful woman Kirner the billboard message was completed to show “Going, going, going, going … Gone!”

    In the couple of years before the mood in that city was as if one had entered a mausoleum, commerce was awful and business people wandered aimlessly north for extended winter breaks.

    Jeff Kennett certainly was right for the time – he had political youth, charisma, energy and public support but it didn’t take long for them to go all Greek on him, to sit down sniffling into their handkerchiefs about the hurt, sticking their hand out for relief. That was the beginning of the end for the corporate heart muscle of the country.

    He didn’t salt the earth up in Lygon Street, as he could and should have, and Trades Hall rebuilt to come back stronger and smarter than ever before.

    The final phase of occupation of the institutions was sponsored by Bracks (that campaign commenced with the flight from Sydney of the Labor camp followers after Nifty stood down) and there will be no return to the sense one had that there was a special strength, sure footedness and sophistication about business at the Paris end of Collins Street.

    Kennett has done good work since with Hawthorn and the AFL but he’s been around people on the skids for so long with Beyond Blue that he’s lost touch with anything to do with dynamic business. I fear he’d capitulate readily, like Liberal leaders everywhere, on the vital issues of blokes marrying blokes, muslim hugginess and ending racial discrimination against the wymminses culture.

    Further, its not as if he’d be entering the fray as Joe Lefors with his posse of dedicated Pinkertons detectives. The Victorian Liberal team is weak, incompetent and plain stupid.

    For Jeff I think the best advice is that which Sheriff Bledsoe offered Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid “It’s over, don’t you get that? Your times is over …”

  41. JakartaJaap

    As one with all the Carlton fans above – thanks for the memories!

Comments are closed.