Thursday, June 13, 2024

Liberal frontbencher accuses Angus Taylor of treachery, incompetence

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Dutton backed Hughes, exposing a division between the leader and a senior shadow minister considered a possible leadership alternative.

Hughes noted her term ran out in July 2025, meaning she would remain a voting member of the party room in the case of a ballot for a new leader after the election.

Hinting at how she would vote if Taylor were to run for leader, Hughes said: “I look forward to still being in the party room post-election.”

Liberal sources believe Dutton could remain leader next term if Labor drops seats and loses its narrow majority in the House of Representatives.

Hughes added: “As [veteran press gallery journalist] Dennis Shanahan said in The Australian, it’s time the shadow treasurer show some maturity and get across the detail on his policy areas.”


The Coalition’s effectiveness in prosecuting Labor’s economic management has been questioned this term, including by Scott Morrison’s former media chief Andrew Carswell, who said in April that the opposition needed sharper messaging on the cost of living.

However, this masthead’s Resolve Political Monitor survey in May shows Labor has lost its leads over the Coalition from last year when voters are asked which party they think is better at managing the economy, keeping living costs down and handling national finances.

The opposition is ahead of Labor by between 6 and 11 percentage points on these questions.

Hughes’ defeat was a loss for the centre-right faction of the NSW division, in which feuding over party positions has hampered election campaigns. Collins’ win boosted the conservative faction of which Taylor is a key leader.

Taylor had another internal win recently when his preferred candidate, Simon Kennedy, replaced Scott Morrison in the seat of Cook, upsetting the moderate-backed candidate, Carmelo Pesce, who had been in line for the seat for years.

Hughes’ critics argue she did not do enough substantive work on policy and party advancement to solidify her Senate position, claiming she was too focused on appearing on Sky News’ late-night talk shows and appealing to rusted-on, right-wing Liberals.

Others say she was one of the more well-liked members of the party room, excelled in fundraising and had strong connections with corporate Australia.

In his written endorsement for Collins, Taylor said: “The Liberal Party needs senators that will help the party engage with the electorate as we fight to win the next election.”

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