What has she been smoking?

The Liberal Party Deputy Leader, Sussan Ley, is a woman of strong and forthright views. Sadly, they don’t always seem to be well-considered, coherent or even close to being rational.

For instance, immediately after Albanese announced he would re-jig the Stage Three tax cuts she announced an incoming Liberal Government would repeal his changes.

Given that this would involve removing tax cuts for the majority of working Australians and opening up a Labor campaign about Liberals depriving most Australians of tax cuts to fund those for the wealthy it didn’t seem to be smart politics.

Then there was her intervention in the Dunkley by-election claiming that: “If you live in Frankston and you’ve got a problem with Victorian women being assaulted by foreign criminals, vote against Labor. If do not want to see Australian women being assaulted by foreign criminals, vote against Labor. Send Labor a message.”

Her evidence for the claim – the arrest of a former immigration detainee which turned out to be a mistaken arrest. No apology, needless to say, was forthcoming.

Obviously, she had also forgotten – or never noticed – the derision Peter Dutton’s African crime gangs ploy received in Victoria before the last election. Nor had she apparently noticed that Victoria was no longer the Liberal crowning jewel it was during the Menzies years.

It should be said, however, that she was probably pipped by the Liberal candidate, Nathan Conroy, whose contribution to the election campaign debate was: “People are sleeping with weapons next to themselves.”

Then, when the by-election results emerged, she trumpeted that they signalled that Labor would lose the next Federal election if the swing was replicated. As the swing was typical of average by-election swings, the Labor vote increased marginally and the Liberal increased vote came from the absence of Palmer and One Nation voters who, while coming back to the Liberals in preferences, would have made no difference to the Saturday result.

Ley also claimed that “If this result was repeated across the nation in an election, Labor would lose 11 seats and we would be in government.” Up to a point Lord Copper is one response. What has she been smoking is another and questions about her numerical competence would be yet another.

Indeed, the whole atmosphere in the local Liberal function after results were announced was surreally optimistic.  It was hailed as a great result – not quite Agincourt – but pretty good nevertheless.

This narrative was echoed by the Murdoch media reminding us of its reporting on the 2020 Eden-Monaro by-election when they trumpeted a great Liberal win only for the result to actually be the opposite.

The fundamental reality for the Liberals is that there is a reason for the small number of seats they hold in the State. They are simply out of step with Victorian demographics, culture and attitudes. The implosion of the State Liberal Party – now headed for yet another leadership squabble – is not going to help either.

Meanwhile, every time Sussan Ley or Peter Dutton visit Victoria it is good news for Labor.