Liberals’ election review to probe loss of seats to teals, NSW pre-selection mess

Federal election 2022

The loss of blue-ribbon Liberal seats to “teal” independents, the late pre-selection of candidates in NSW and the party’s appeal to different voter segments will go under the microscope in a wide-ranging review of its 2022 election loss.

The party’s internal analysis, announced on Thursday afternoon, will be undertaken by Liberal elder statesman Brian Loughnane, who was federal director for more than a decade, and senator Jane Hume.

Liberal senator Jane Hume will undertake the review with party elder statesman Brian Loughnane.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

The review, after Scott Morrison led the Coalition to a devastating defeat on Saturday with at least 17 seats lost to the Labor Party, the Greens and teal independents across the country, comes as Liberal MPs prepare to return to Canberra on Monday to choose a new leader and deputy.

Former defence minister Peter Dutton has confirmed he will stand as opposition leader and at this stage, it appears likely he will be unopposed for the position.

The role of deputy leader is tipped to go to Sussan Ley. While there has been speculation in party ranks that Anne Ruston or Hume could stand, Hume’s participation in the review process suggests she will not be a candidate.

In a statement, Loughnane and Hume said they would “consult widely across all parts of the party. We welcome input from all party members and encourage submissions from all involved in the campaign”, with submissions due by June 30.

The review will look at the election result, the running of the campaign and how each division of the party performed on a state-by-state basis.

But it is the examination of the losses of six seats to independents – all professional women – and the pre-selection machinations in NSW that will probably be the most contentious issues for the party.

The last-minute imposition of candidates in a swag of Liberal seats across NSW triggered a challenge that went all the way to the High Court and left party members fuming with Morrison and his right-hand man, Alex Hawke.

In a statement, Loughnane and Hume said they would “consult widely across all parts of the party”.Credit: Louise Kennerley 

Similarly, Morrison’s decision to focus the party’s campaign and policy offerings on outer suburban and regional seats – including Corangamite and McEwen in Victoria, Parramatta and Gilmore in NSW, Cowan in Western Australia and Lingiari in the Northern Territory – came at a significant cost.

After being held by the Liberals for decades and providing a conveyer belt of prime ministers and senior ministers, the party lost Kooyong, held by former treasurer Josh Frydenberg, Goldstein, North Sydney, Mackellar, Wentworth and Curtin to teal independents, while Higgins, Reid, Boothby and Bennelong went to Labor along with a clutch of West Australian seats.

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