Liberals’ ex-leader John Hewson: To win back voters we need to be more like Labor, especially on the Voice

Former Liberal leader John Hewson has called on his party to get with the progressive spirit of the times. <i>Photo: AAP</i>.

Former Liberal leader John Hewson has called on his party to get with the progressive spirit of the times. Photo: AAP.

The federal Liberal Party is out of step with the times and at odds with  an increasingly progressive electorate, says ex-leader John Hewson, who cited opposition to the Voice as a prime example.

Speaking on ABC’s Weekend Breakfast, Dr Hewson said recent frontbench and party resignations over its stance on the Indigenous Voice to parliament highlighted a disconnect with voters.

“They’re not facing the reality of their position in terms of the electorate,” he said.

“And on this issue, they’re on the wrong side of history.

Last week Liberal MP Julian Leeser quit the frontbench over the party’s stance on the voice while former minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt quit the party altogether.

Dr Hewson said it had been clear for for months that Liberal leader Peter Dutton had been positioning to oppose the Voice.

‘A wrecking role’

The former Liberal leader said national and state polls showed widespread support for the voice, and most people felt the opposition should be playing a more constructive role.

“He hasn’t been playing a constructive role but more a wrecking role,” Dr Hewson said.

“If he wasn’t happy with the process, why wasn’t he prepared to make some suggestions to change the form of the question or the overall strategy?”

Dr Hewson said the Liberal Party had taken seats for granted and its recent election losses indicated it had missed a slight progressive shift in the electorate.

“In politics these days, you have to win every vote, every election,” he said.

“When you’re not listening to the community, you are going to suffer electoral consequences.”



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