Wider Support for Defence Minister Peter Dutton to Become Opposition Leader

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Several Liberal MPs have backed the former Minister of Defence Peter Dutton as the front runner to lead the centre-right party after the federal election saw the centre-left Labor party secure a victory over the coalition.

The call comes after the moderate faction of the Liberal party suffered major losses, with some of the Liberals including Treasurer Josh Frydenberg losing seats to Climate 200-backed “teal” independents, making Dutton the most potential candidate left.

Victorian MP Alan Tudge described Dutton, who was considered by some as the leader of the Liberal’s conservative faction, as “a person of immense character, experience” with “very deep values in the Liberal Party,” adding that he thought “we need to go back to those values.”

“I think he’ll be a very effective Liberal leader at holding the Labor Party to account,” he told Sky News on Monday.

“That party has talked up a big game on inflation, talked up a big game on the interest rate. Let’s see how that’s delivered on some of their policies. Let’s see how that’s delivered on climate change without making electricity prices go through the roof.”

While Dutton is widely endorsed as the opposition leader, other names have also been considered, including ex-home affairs minister Karen Andrews and former trade minister and Victorian Dan Tehan.

Liberal senator James Patterson said he trust Dutton’s ability to handle the budget, slash taxes and build up the economy. He added that there is “a very strong consensus forming” that the former Minister of Home Affairs is “the right choice to lead us through these times.”

Patterson further noted that parts of Liberal’s loss came from the lack of trust of voters who felt the party doesn’t demonstrate their Liberal values “clearly enough” in the past few years.

“If we are able to re-earn the trust of voters to manage the economy, to manage our national security and defence, then we have a very good prospect of returning to government,” he told The Australian.

Despite declining trust in the Liberal party, Liberal frontbencher Simon Birmingham and some Labor MPs are calling for the traditionally centre-right party to adopt progressive policies on climate change and gender equality to recover from its losses.

But Employment Minister Stuart Robert rejected the suggestions that the Liberal party should go further to the left to attract more votes.

“The key thing for the Liberal-Nationals parties is to represent aspiration,” he told Nine Network on Monday. “We have always been a sensible centre-right party and that is where which we should stay.”

He also noted that Dutton would make an “excellent leader in terms of bringing everyone together.”

Meanwhile, Liberal Senator for South Australia Alex Antic says many candidates who lost their seats were, in many cases, people who were “trying to appease the climate crowd.”

“We are not the party of capitulation to net zero, we should not be the party of vaccine mandates although I accept they weren’t a Commonwealth issue, but across the country, Liberal state governments like mine here effectively endorsed those, we are the party of individual choice, freedom of speech and so forth,” he told Sky News on Sunday.

“The time is now to understand that, the Liberal Party’s experiment with the poison of leftism and progressivism must be over.”

Nina Nguyen

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Nina Nguyen is a reporter based in Sydney. She covers Australian news with a focus on social, cultural, and identity issues. She is fluent in Vietnamese. Contact her at nina.nguyen@epochtimes.com.au.



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