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Feuding Liberals show zero interest in learning lesson of Andrews win

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25.11.2018

It was shortly after 7pm when the texts started flying and the battle for the soul of the Liberal Party reignited.

Catastrophic early results in the Victorian state election sent federal Coalition MPs scrambling for their phones. One message sent to several MPs contained just four words: "Guys, we are f----d." Hopes of a respectable showing for the Liberal Party soon gave way to reality of a crushing defeat and the blame game quickly commenced.

Replay

MPs contemplating federal lessons from the disaster are split between three camps: those who believe the removal of Malcolm Turnbull deeply angered progressive voters who also don't care much for his successor Scott Morrison, those who believe the leadership turmoil in Canberra was a factor but only one factor, and those who have buried their heads in the sand to insist the leadership chaos and the Liberal Party's policy agenda played no role at all.

Turnbull supporters can barely contain their glee that some of the chief insurgents behind the plot to make Peter Dutton prime minister – Health Minister Greg Hunt, Human Services Minister Alan Tudge and backbencher Michael Sukkar – now face losing their own seats at next year's federal election if Saturday's disaster is any guide.

Overlaying state swings to federal seats can be fraught but the shift to Labor in Sukkar's seat of Deakin was so strong in some suburbs that his future is now in real doubt. In the state seat of Nepean – which overlaps Hunt's blue ribbon seat of Flinders on the Mornington Peninsula – the Liberal primary vote plunged 10 points.

Hunt (who voted against Turnbull in August, told Parliament the next day he........

© Canberra Times