Roshena Campbell loses Aston

Aston by-election a historic win for Labor, Albo

The Aston byelection came as a shock to many, particularly to those in the Liberal party. On Saturday April 1, the Indian community Liberal candidate – Roshena Campbell in Aston lost to Labor’s Mary Doyle in the previously blue-ribbon, unlosable seat of Aston. It was the first time in 103 years that the government of the day registered a byelection win, that too in such a seat where the Liberal party loss would send shivers down the spines of its head honchos.

What on earth is going on, is what they should be asking themselves pulling their hair out and no less.

All commentators, without exception are calling the result a real disaster for the Liberal party, particularly the Victorian branch.

Voters in Melbourne’s outer-east seem to have shown no faith in the party they have been voting for since 1990. This is the first time in over a century, since 1920, a sitting government has won a seat from the opposition in a federal by-election.

Discussing the Aston byelection, 9News Political Editor Charles Croucher said the Liberals’ “brand problem” will take some time to repair.

“You turn on to Melbourne, Melbourne will turn on to you, that’s the message for the Coalition,” Croucher said on Weekend Today.

“This is bigger than Peter Dutton. It is a brand Liberal problem.

“Peter Dutton wasn’t leader when the WA Liberals were wiped out by Mark McGowan.

“He is leader now and he has to confront this problem in the months and years ahead -this will not take weeks or months to turn around.”

Is Dutton the problem?

An elated Prime Minister Anthony Albanese welcomed Mary Doyle as the new member for Aston and could not help himself having a go at Peter Dutton saying the historic win spells more bad news for Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.

He said “after 10 years of being part of the problem” Dutton now “fails to be a part of the solution”.

“Yesterday when I watched last night Peter Dutton’s press conference after Mary’s victory speech, I thought it was a moment of honesty, when he said out loud what we have seen played out over the one year since he became leader of the Liberal party,” Albanese said.

“He said that his priority was just keeping the Liberal party together.

“Well, Australians don’t want any major party that’s focused on themselves and their internals… what they want is a government that’s focused on their needs and their lives.”

Neither the Libs nor the Labor expected this result.

In her victory speech, Mary Doyle was not only gracious but also completely honest.

“What we were trying to do hadn’t been done for 100 years,” Mary Doyle said.

“And Aston has been Liberal since Sinead O’Connor’s nothing compares to US top of the charts way in 1990, when I was just a slip of a girl at 19.

“We were the underdogs but boy, have we shown that we have a big bite.”

Also read: Roshena Campbell – Should Aston byelection be a test for Peter Dutton’s leadership

Roshena Campbell, the City of Melbourne Councillor and barrister used her concession speech to thank Liberal leader Peter Dutton and former prime minister John Howard before praising the democratic process.

Campbell said she felt “incredibly lucky to live in this country where we have a strong democracy”.

“I will always be proud to be a Liberal and I will always be proud to be Australian because we live in the greatest county in the world.

“We will fight on,” Campbell added.

After the Aston byelection, of the 22 federal seats that exist in Melbourne, the Liberals now only hold two – Menzies and Deakin, seventeen are held by Labor and one by the Greens.

To say that this represents a big challenge ahead for Peter Dutton and the Liberal party will be just an understatement.

In the environment where politicians are unable to define what a woman is, the Liberal party, once known for its conservative views faces no less than an existential crisis.

As Roshena Campbell, the talent she is, it should not be long before another opportunity comes knocking at the door.

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