Australia news LIVE: Scott Morrison’s ally launches broadside ahead of parliamentary rebuke; Nationals to oppose Indigenous Voice to parliament

Key posts

  • State Liberals need more diversity, well-oiled party machine: candidate
  • ‘Addicted to power’: Morrison attacked by close ally
  • Nationals slam Voice and vow to oppose it
  • This morning’s headlines at a glance
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State Liberals need more diversity, well-oiled party machine: candidate

Former Victorian state Liberal MP John Pesutto – who is fighting to re-enter parliament as part of a close race with a teal candidate in Melbourne’s inner east – says he hopes to become opposition leader because he is the best person to “reconnect” the party with a broader base.

During an appearance on the ABC’s RN Breakfast, Pesutto (who is currently ahead in the count in the seat of Hawthorn by a couple of hundred votes) said the Liberals have to do several things to be competitive against Daniel Andrews and Labor in four years’ time.

John Pesutto campaigning on Saturday. The seat of Hawthorn is yet to be called. Credit:Eddie Jim

Just organisationally … we just weren’t able to mount a ground game that came anywhere close to what the Labor Party was able to do. And there’s a huge skills vacuum, I think, in the organisational side of the party, and that that needs to be addressed and that can be done in the short term, medium term in the longer term.

I do want the party to think about how we connect … more with young people in particular, and multicultural communities. I’ve got a multicultural background. So it comes easily to me, because I’ve been involved for so long, but I think we have to work even harder to make sure that, when it comes to elections, we have a strong message.

Our membership is starting to reflect that and many of the candidates we’re choosing are reflecting that diversity. but, somehow, when you look at the electorates we’re representing in parliament… that’s just not reflected there.

In case you missed it, Matthew Guy has resigned as Victoria’s opposition leader following the Coalition’s election loss over the weekend.

A handful of seats are still too close to call. We’ll bring you the major updates as they occur.

‘Addicted to power’: Morrison attacked by close ally

One of Scott Morrison’s closest political allies has launched an extraordinary broadside against the former prime minister, accusing him of becoming addicted to power and declaring he should have quit politics almost immediately after his election loss.

Morrison is set to suffer an embarrassing parliamentary rebuke this week for assuming five additional ministries without informing the public, becoming the first former prime minister in Australian history to be officially censured by the House of Representatives.

Alex Hawke and Scott Morrison sit next to each other in parliament, reflecting their longstanding political friendship.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Liberal MP Alex Hawke, a key lieutenant of the former prime minister, said Morrison’s decision to travel to Hawaii for a family holiday during the 2019 bushfires was so disastrous he would have been removed as party leader by his colleagues if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Niki Savva, a columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, writes in her new book Bulldozed that Hawke is one of several colleagues who believe Morrison treated people badly after his 2019 victory.

“He got addicted to executive authority,” Hawke said.

More on those comments here.

Nationals slam Voice and vow to oppose it

The Nationals will formally oppose an Indigenous Voice to parliament, in a significant blow to the referendum campaign that opens the door to the Liberal Party to follow suit.

Announcing the decision with Country Liberal Party senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price yesterday, Nationals leader David Littleproud said the party wanted to empower Aboriginal people at a local level, “not create another layer of bureaucracy here in Canberra”.

Nationals leader David Littleproud and Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price on Monday.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

“This is not a Voice for regional, rural and remote Australians. This is one for those who live in Redfern – they’ll be OK,” Littleproud said.

The Nationals’ decision significantly increases the chances that at least some members of the Liberal party room will also campaign publicly for a “no” vote in the referendum, and the risk of it failing.

Read the full story here.

This morning’s headlines at a glance

Good morning and thanks for your company.

It’s Tuesday, November 29. I’m Broede Carmody and I’ll be anchoring our live coverage for the first half of the day.

Here’s what you need to know before we get started:

  • One of Scott Morrison’s closest political allies has accused him of becoming addicted to power. It comes ahead of an expected parliamentary rebuke for the former prime minister. Matthew Knott and James Massola have the full story.
  • Rental affordability is becoming more of an issue across Australia. Shane Wright reports that it’s due to low vacancy rates, stagnant wages and climbing interest rates.
  • Australia’s power generators say there are no “preferable solutions” to address soaring electricity prices. Nick Toscano and Mike Foley have more detail.
  • And in case you missed it yesterday, Nationals leader David Littleproud says his party will formally oppose an Indigenous Voice to parliament.
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