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‘Not rushing back’: Frydenberg scotches reports of political reboot

Jason Falinksi on potential return of Josh Frydenberg

Source: Sky News Australia

Former federal treasurer Josh Frydenberg has scotched reports he is looking to renew his political career, in a move that has split the Liberals.

There were multiple reports at the weekend that Frydenberg was mulling a return to politics after draft redistribution changes shifted the margins of his old electorate, potentially making Kooyong more winnable for the Liberals.

Frydenberg lost the the plum inner-Melbourne seat to teal MP Monique Ryan in the 2022 election.

Once considered a contender for the Liberal leadership, he is now an adviser at investment firm Goldman Sachs, and had ruled out a return to politics.

In late March, the Liberals chose 31-year-old Amelia Hamer as their candidate for the seat.

At the time, the fintech company executive and grand-niece of former Victorian premier Rupert ‘Dick’ Hamer was hailed as an outstanding candidate by Liberal leader Peter Dutton.

The Liberal Party is already under scrutiny for its lack of female parliamentarians and a push to reopen preselections to allow for the return Frydenberg was considered likely to fuel further criticism.

At the weekend, former Liberal MP Jason Falinksi – who also lost his Sydney seat to a teal MP in 2022 – said Hamer should consider standing aside for Frydenberg.

“I think that Amelia is a team player and she would understand that we want to put our best people on the field and there are other seats, especially in state parliament, that need to be filled,” he told Sky News Australia.

“Amelia might see some other seats that she might want to look at. But ultimately these are discussions that Josh and Amelia need to have.”

Former cabinet colleague Karen Andrews, who will leave politics at the next federal election, offered strong support for a Frydenberg resurrection.

“He would be an absolute asset to the team we take forward to the next election,” she told ABC radio on Monday.

“I have a lot of confidence in Josh Frydenberg’s ability.

“[The Liberal Party] should do all they can to attract him back into our parliament and clearly if that means reopening preselections then that has to be considered.”

But the former treasurer shut it all down with his first public comments on the speculation on Monday afternoon.

“I am not rushing back to politics; my position on contesting the next election remains unchanged. I will continue to support the Liberal Party and our local candidate Amelia Hamer,” he tweeted.

Hamer also appeared to refer to the speculation in a social media post on Sunday.

“Here in Kooyong, the community loves to support strong women,” she wrote on an Instagram post congratulating a local weightlifter.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Amelia Hamer (@ameliahamer)

 

Speculation about a Frydenberg return had exposed cracks in the Liberals.

On Monday, opposition finance spokeswoman Jane Hume talked down rumours of reopening preselections based on draft boundary changes.

“It would be a crazy thing to do,” she told Sky News on Monday.

“I know that there’s lots of people out there that would love to see Josh’s return, but Josh is a great supporter of women in Parliament, always has been, and I know he’s doing right by Amelia Hamer.”

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie warned the ex-treasurer’s return might not be well received.

“We’ve already heard enough about the Liberal Party and the way they don’t have enough females,” she told Nine’s Today on Monday.

“What I’m hearing is they have a fairly good one on the ground there – they’ve been through the preselection process, they’ve won that fair and square.

“For him to come in and that be given back to Josh, I don’t think that’s going to go down well and that’s not going to help you win your seat back.”

Cabinet minister Amanda Rishworth said the speculation showed the Liberals were searching for a new leader.

“They’re obviously desperately trying to find someone else other than Peter Dutton,” she said.

“Maybe [Frydenberg] is more likely to get elected … but it’s certainly not going to help the Liberal Party get more women into Parliament.”

No date has yet been confirmed for the federal election.

But Australians must go to the polls by May 2025.

-with AAP

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