As the Liberal party moves to position itself to save any further embarrassment and to start modelling itself as the credible, viable political party in the state to hold the government to account, the first step was taken by the parliamentary party to select their new leader – John Pesutto.
John Pesutto is seen as more moderate than Brad Battin who was defeated in the race to lead the party.
After his election as the new leader of the Liberal party, Mr Pesutto said he is “humbled” by the support of his colleagues.
But the detractors of the Liberal party whisper the winning margin was just one vote (not verified by Bharat Times) and thus point to the downright division in the party which will demand a complete of resolve by Mr Pesutto’s parliamentary colleagues to back him and not backstab him overtime.
John Pesutto returns to parliament after four years away from politics having lost his safe seat of Hawthorn at the 2018 election by only 330 votes.
Pesutto grew up in Traralgon as one of five children of Italian immigrants. His father was an electrician and mother a machinist in a shoe factory. He studied law and commerce degrees at Melbourne University to become an industrial lawyer.
John Pesutto grew up in the Latrobe Valley as one of five children of Italian immigrants.
“I’m one of five kids who was born in Traralgon. My father was a sparky on the power stations among other things. My mum was a machinist, at McArthur’s shoe factory in Traralgon,” Pesutto told The Age last week.
John Pesutto advised former Liberal Premiers Denis Napthine and Ted Baillieu on industrial relations. He was also chief of staff to the Liberal MP David Davis.
He entered state parliament in 2014 as the Liberal party MP for the electorate of Hawthorn but lost in 2018. John Pesutto has regained the seat at the 2022 election and holds it by a thin 1.74 per cent.
It was humbling to attend today’s declaration of the Hawthorn poll. I’m grateful to the people of Hawthorn for the honour of representing them in Parliament. It was also a pleasure to exchange gifts with my friend and colleague, @JohnKennedyMP. JP pic.twitter.com/fGuPJlOgQo
— John Pesutto (@JohnPesutto) December 6, 2022
His critics have dug up some dirt on him already, less than 24 hours in the job, which will neither stick nor do him much harm. He is being attacked by the left media on two fronts – first for naming the Sudanese gangs when they were being blamed by the state police in no uncertain terms and second – for deciding not to run with the decision Matthew Guy announced in the middle of election campaign last month – to not allow Upper House Liberal MP Renee Heath sit in the parliamentary party room.
Both points of attack will prove to be inconsequential and carry hardly any electoral poison for 2026. Renee Heath, her position on various things and the potential resultant damage to the party will have all but neutralized by the time Victorians go to polls on November 28, 2026.
What Mr Pesutto has to ensure is his own side does not turn on him. He also has to win back the Liberal disgruntled voters as well the swinging voters who find others/teals attractive which Matthew Guy / the 2022 election campaign failed to achieve.
His job starts now and he has to make people feel, he is one of them who would like to take them with him when he goes to work for them.
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