No need for major shift left for Liberals, Dutton says

Labor to form majority government

While Opposition Leader Peter Dutton attempts to unite his party after its bruising election loss, he denies any need for a major shift in Liberal values.

A large chunk of the Liberals’ lost seats came at the hands of inner-city teal independents, while the party also lost ground to the Greens in Brisbane.

But Mr Dutton said the party did not need to swing too far towards progressive politics to win back those inner-city constituencies at the 2025 election.

“The Liberal Party is not the conservative party, it’s not the moderate party, it’s not the conservative moderate party – it’s the Liberal Party,” he told the ABC on Tuesday.

“We’re a party that will stand up for our country on many issues, including national security, including the economy, including sensible climate change policy.”

Analysis showed that while 200,000 Australians shifted towards teal candidates, 700,000 abandoned the Liberals in favour of minor right-wing parties, Mr Dutton said.

“Frankly, there was a ‘pox on both your houses’ in this election,” he said.

“When you look at many of the seats where Labor’s primary vote went backwards, they lost a seat to the Greens here in Queensland.

“So plenty of lessons to learn. We’ve got to have significant policies and we’ll have that in the run-up to the election in 2025.”

Newly elected deputy Liberals leader Sussan Ley said the rebuilding process included bringing Australians back towards the major parties in three years’ time.

“It’s part of the reconnecting and restoring trust, trust in our leadership and what we have to offer, and that our core values are still there and relevant to the aspirations of Australians,” she told Sky News.

Mr Dutton, the former defence minister, again tried to show off his softer side across breakfast television on Tuesday morning, saying his ministerial portfolios had led to the perception he was too serious.

Deporting criminals who had committed sex offences and making tough decisions on refugees while home affairs minister had shaped his public persona, he said.

“I made tough decisions and when you’re up talking about those decisions, it’s pretty hard to crack into a smile or a joke,” he said.

“People see you through the grabs on television, in the nightly news, as a serious character.

“I want people to make judgments on what they see, not what they believe from some of the media interpretation or some of the online trolling and commentary.”

Ms Ley said the party needed to restore the faith and trust of the disaffected female voters who abandoned the party.

“I want to talk to women … seat by seat on the ground,” she told the ABC.

But she also defended the Liberals’ record on women’s economic security and safety, adding women “didn’t hear what we were doing” through the campaign.

“I know many women abandoned us at the last election, [but] many didn’t. Many would be comfortable with the offerings and pleased,” she told Sky News.

“We need to win back their trust.”

While commentators had thoughts about what went wrong and what the “women problem” was, Ms Ley said she would form her views from what she heard from the Australian public.

“I want to spend as little time as possible in this Canberra bubble and as much time as possible out there in the community,” she said.

Families, small business, local jobs and manufacturing will be key focuses for the opposition under Mr Dutton, while the party will look to implement “sensible” and “sustainable” climate policy.


Topics: Peter Dutton
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