Australia

Federal Liberals not to blame for Victoria loss: Frydenberg

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The federal Liberal party has been quick to separate itself from a resounding election loss in Victoria as it prepares for a 2019 general election.

The federal Liberal party has wiped its hands of responsibility for a trouncing at the Victorian state poll.

With a strong swing to Labor across the state, the conservatives were left licking their wounds on Saturday.

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was quick to say the result couldn't be blamed on Canberra.

"From a federal perspective, we also note that we won the last two state elections in South Australia and Tasmania," Mr Frydenberg told ABC TV.

"Scott Morrison and I and other federal colleagues didn't play an active role in this campaign, and it was fought on state (issues)."

The prime minister didn't appear beside Victorian Liberal leader Matthew Guy until the third week of the election campaign, when Mr Morrison visited Melbourne to pay respect to the victim of a deadly terror attack.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison (centre) and State Opposition leader Matthew Guy (left) greet locals outside Pellegrini's Espresso Bar as it re-opens to the public in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, November 13, 2018. (AAP Image/Daniel Pockett) NO ARCHIVING
Prime Minister Scott Morrison did not appear alongside state opposition leader Matthew Guy until the third week of the campaign.
AAP

At the time, many said it was to Mr Guy's advantage not to be seen beside Mr Morrison, who has been battling poor polling since the party ousted Malcolm Turnbull as prime minister.

"The noise didn't help but it didn't determine the result of this election," Mr Frydenberg said of federal party issues impacting on Victoria.

The focus will now turn to what Labor's resounding victory in Victoria means for the federal election due by next May.

Liberal party supporters start to arrive and watch the results coming in during the Liberal Party reception on Victorian State election night in Melbourne, Saturday, November 24, 2018. (AAP Image/David Crosling) NO ARCHIVING
It was a tough night for Liberal supporters.

"We have a lot of work to do here in Victoria and across the country," Mr Frydenberg said.

"But at the same time the Australian economy is strong, we've got a good agenda we're prosecuting.

"And we know that the coalition has a very strong track record and we'll be presenting to the people at the next election, very strong policies."

The treasurer tried to highlight that all political parties have their problems.

"If (Opposition Leader) Bill Shorten wants to get ahead of himself and thinks he can measure up the drapes in the lodge he'll be as wrong next time around as he was in 2016 when he did his famous victory lap around the country saying he'd won."

Mr Shorten congratulated Labor's return to power in Victoria but did not make any link to the impact on federal politics.

"Today's result is also a fundamental rejection of the Liberals' cuts to schools, TAFE and hospitals, and their failure to invest in renewables and take action on climate change," he said.

Matthew Guy's future unclear

Mr Guy, with his wife Renae by his side, called for unity in the party as it faces another four years in opposition and demands for an overhaul of the party.

"Can I say for the next parliament, as a party, we need to stick together. We need to stay united and we need to stay focused on our opponents and the game ahead, not on ourselves," he said.

Matthew Guy's future unclear

Mr Guy, with his wife Renae by his side, called for unity in the party as it faces another four years in opposition and demands for an overhaul of the party.

"Can I say for the next parliament, as a party, we need to stick together. We need to stay united and we need to stay focused on our opponents and the game ahead, not on ourselves," he said.

Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy, with his wife Renae, after conceding defeat.
Victorian opposition leader Matthew Guy, with his wife Renae, after conceding defeat.
AAP

Mr Guy acknowledged a lot of MPs had lost their seats, but held out hope not all of them would be lost once all votes are counted.

He also thanked his staff, candidates, campaign volunteers and his family. And he thanked for Liberal voters for keeping the faith.

"Every day in opposition is a day closer to government and while tonight is not our night, we know that, we acknowledge that, we accept that, our time in the sun will come again."

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