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Why Lawder should be deputy if Coe leads Libs

By Charlotte Harper - 22 October 2016 13

Nicole Lawder at home during the election campaign. Photo: Charlotte Harper

Having survived a week of waiting to learn whether she will be re-elected, moderate Canberra Liberals MLA Nicole Lawder is shaping up as a contender for the party’s deputy leadership.

‘What?!’ I hear you asking. ‘Wasn’t it on the RiotACT that we read recently that Giulia Jones should be the Liberals’ deputy?’

Yes, and you can read that piece here, but the terrain has shifted dramatically since then.

While we don’t know yet whether Jeremy Hanson will choose to stay on, or at least attempt to stay on, as the Liberals’ leader following last Saturday’s election loss, we understand that his deputy, Alistair Coe, is actively pushing to be installed as leader at the spill for both positions to be held by convention next week.

I suspect many of his colleagues will want to see Mr Hanson step down to avoid ongoing speculation about the Liberals’ leadership. Given Mr Hanson has anointed Mr Coe as his successor whether now or in the future, the speculation will be rife until a handover occurs or Mr Coe leaves the Assembly.

Why would Mr Coe leave the Assembly, you ask? Why, to run for Zed Seselja’s ACT senate seat, of course. Not that it’s currently vacant nor likely to become so, but that didn’t stop Mr Coe from assisting to orchestrate the ousting of Gary Humphries for Senator Seselja in 2013. I note Senator Seselja has come out publicly to support Mr Coe becoming leader, a circumstance that would insure against a Coe challenge for the senate slot.

My guess is Mr Hanson will succumb to pressures from within the party to quit the leadership but stay on in the Assembly, initially at least. If he does so, Mr Coe will be elected leader. His election should, in my view, be on the agreement that his deputy will be a woman and a moderate, probably Ms Lawder. Not because that’s what Mr Coe wants. He’d likely prefer for fellow conservative Andrew Wall to have his back.

But the numbers in the party room have changed since my Giulia for deputy piece. There are a few more progressives among the elected Liberals post-election, and they will to want to see a moderate in the mix. Surely even the conservatives can see that a leadership team consisting of two blokes who are anti-marriage equality isn’t going to win them many hearts in this city.

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The only other returning women MLAs, Giulia Jones and Vicki Dunne, are from the conservative side. If Mr Hanson were staying on and Mr Coe’s position were up for grabs, Mrs Jones would be the pick to make it a male-female, left-right combination. In the event of a Coe coup, Ms Lawder is the only choice at this point. That’s assuming she can be persuaded to run. Down the track, Elizabeth Lee would no doubt be a contender, but not while she remains a rookie MLA.

Mark Parton, another moderate, is sure to want to shake things up in the Assembly, too. It will be fascinating to see how he fits into all of this in coming months.

The moderate MLAs among the elected Liberals will be hoping Mr Hanson stays on in the Assembly, because while he would no doubt be personally pleased to see his Murrumbidgee running mate Peter Hosking come in on a countback as could potentially occur, Mr Hosking is from the conservative side. The numbers in the party room would swing back in their favour if Mr Hosking replaced Mr Hanson in the seat.

Who would you like to see as Leader and Deputy Leader of the Canberra Liberals in the ACT Legislative Assembly?

Let us know what you think in the comments and by voting in our poll.

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13 Responses to
Why Lawder should be deputy if Coe leads Libs
1
dungfungus 4:25 pm
22 Oct 16
#

Good call, Charlotte.

2
Garfield 9:46 pm
22 Oct 16
#

I selected Hanson and Coe, not because I want or expect them to take the Libs to the next election, but because it would be better if there was only one leadership change between now and then. Give the new arrivals some time to settle in and make a decision in a years time, still leaving 3 years for the new team to settle in. If that’s what happens and Coe doesn’t go for the leadership, my advice to Zed is to grow eyes in the back of his head to watch out for knives.

My view is that neither Hanson or Coe are likely to win if they take the Libs to the 2020 election. Although Hanson calls himself a moderate, I think Barr’s description of him as hostage to the right may be close to the mark, and from what I’ve seen post the election he doesn’t seem to recognise the need for anything to change. Coe is from the far right of the party and unlikely to connect with enough voters as leader.

Of the other returning MLA’s, Wall was the best performer, well ahead of both Parton and Lawder in Brindabella. Dunne & Doszpot were both underwhelming as the only sitting Liberal MLA’s in their electorates, as well as being close to the end of their careers. Jones won only just enough votes to stay in front of the young 3rd placed Lib, which is not a leadership performance. Similarly Lawder has had a nervous wait to see if she scraped in ahead of the Sex Party. The article describes Wall as conservative, but I’m not sure that’s entirely correct. Wherever he sits, he’s certainly nowhere near as far right as Coe.

Of the new MLA’s, Elizabeth Lee looks to be the standout by a long way, and if you look at electoral success she did better than incumbent MLA’s Dunne, Doszpot, Jones & Lawder. The drawback is she is brand new, and pushing her into leadership too quickly could kill off her career prematurely. Parton certainly has a lot of experience talking to people on the radio but there’s something that just says to me wait and see and I’m not sure that he’s a leader. Milligan and Kikkert don’t seem to be attracting any attention, and that suggests they’re probably not in the mix at all as far as leadership goes.

Mixing one male, one female, one conservative and one moderate and leaving out the leaders who failed this time round could see a Wall-Lee team as an interesting combination for 2020. Maybe Wall as leader seeing he’ll have 8 years in the Assembly come 2020, as much experience as Hanson & Coe had this time around. Of course if Lee does really well quickly, maybe a Lee-Wall team could be a winner with Lee emulating Carnell’s rise to Chief Minister.

Whatever the leadership combination now, or later if it changes before 2020, they’ll need to realise there have to be some significant changes if they want to win government.

3
dloudon 10:59 pm
22 Oct 16
#

Why stop at Deputy?

4
chewy14 8:11 am
23 Oct 16
#

Selection criteria : XX chromosomes

Well done.

5
CRC 11:28 am
23 Oct 16
#

What a crock. Firstly, a little embarrassing that not a word is spent on whether Lawder is even qualified for the job (and I am not sure either way) . Better that she gets the nod based on what? Some rubbish and irrelvant analysis of factional splits that swing voters neither understand or care about? Please.

Secondly, and accepting a broader premise that some diversity at the top is a good thing (which I do agree with) – why not Lee?

Stanhope was opposition leader on his first day. The idea that Lee can’t lead and learn at the same time is silly.

Once you pass through any legitimate political imperatives, the leadership jobs are ultimately communications gigs. And if that is the test I reckon Lee over Lawder.

6
Nilrem 4:59 am
24 Oct 16
#

Good analysis. It’s kind of tragic how the right-wing cheer squad in the Liberal Party don’t realise how their dominance makes them unelectable in an electorate like Canberra.

7
dungfungus 9:12 am
24 Oct 16
#

Nilrem said :

Good analysis. It’s kind of tragic how the right-wing cheer squad in the Liberal Party don’t realise how their dominance makes them unelectable in an electorate like Canberra.

Why is that “tragic” for a non-Liberal voter such as you?

8
dungfungus 9:17 am
24 Oct 16
#

CRC said :

What a crock. Firstly, a little embarrassing that not a word is spent on whether Lawder is even qualified for the job (and I am not sure either way) . Better that she gets the nod based on what? Some rubbish and irrelvant analysis of factional splits that swing voters neither understand or care about? Please.

Secondly, and accepting a broader premise that some diversity at the top is a good thing (which I do agree with) – why not Lee?

Stanhope was opposition leader on his first day. The idea that Lee can’t lead and learn at the same time is silly.

Once you pass through any legitimate political imperatives, the leadership jobs are ultimately communications gigs. And if that is the test I reckon Lee over Lawder.

And what are the “qualifications for the job”?

Have you ever researched anything about Lawder? No.

The experience of living in her electorate proves that she is a great communicator and she has been a long time supporter for several social issues that Labor have gone to sleep on.

9
A_Cog 1:11 pm
24 Oct 16
#

CRC said :

What a crock. Firstly, a little embarrassing that not a word is spent on whether Lawder is even qualified for the job (and I am not sure either way) …

Well, I am sure. Lawder is the worst choice out of the bad decisions drawer. Coe vs Hanson, men vs women, moderates vs conservatives, quotas vs chaos, pirates vs ninjas.

The real story here is that any way you slice it, you are left with clowns. MAYBE the next Lib CM will be Elizabeth Lee, but the fact that the only half-prospect is an unknown newbie shows the depth of emptiness in shadow cabinet, added to the other fact that Libs look back to the halcyon days when they had an “effective” leader in Zed (ha!)

How do you LOSE votes against all the background issues going on for years? By being locked in by a sophie’s choice like this one: Lawder over Jones or Dunne.

Similar to the nail-biter choice Barr currently has of who’s gunna be the AG. Surrounded by pollies, but “water, water every where, nor any drop to drink…”

10
Garfield 11:40 am
25 Oct 16
#

Now it’s official that the new leadership team is Coe & Lawder. I struggle to see how Coe will connect with enough people to win the Libs the votes they’ll need in 2020 and while Lawder is definitely a moderate, she has less electoral appeal than Wall & Parton in Brindabella and Lee in Kurrajong. I wonder how long it will be before the media gets around to asking the difficult questions of Mr Coe regarding his social conservatism. The Libs better hope its sooner rather than later. If he can’t make the connection and win the votes they need to get rid of him quickly rather than wait for another election loss.

11
Acton 5:42 pm
25 Oct 16
#

How will the next four years play out? More of the same scandals, rate rises, arrogant governance, budget blow-outs and wastage of public money. The tram goes ahead, causes traffic disruptions, is under patronised and runs at a loss. But we are stuck with it. Coe attacks with vigour and logic but doesn’t resonate. Closer to the election in 2020 and remembering the lack of charisma from the local 2016 Liberal leadership, a new leader is elected. Someone in tune with the electorate. Affable and empathetic. Good with PR and having a common touch. Someone the electorate can trust and like. A Bob Hawke/Kim Beazley type. I predict the slow rise of Mark Parton.

12
rommeldog56 6:45 pm
25 Oct 16
#

Acton said :

How will the next four years play out? More of the same scandals, rate rises, arrogant governance, budget blow-outs and wastage of public money. The tram goes ahead, causes traffic disruptions, is under patronised and runs at a loss. But we are stuck with it. Coe attacks with vigour and logic but doesn’t resonate.

Its not the next 4 years. This place has gone so far to the left and is so “progressive”, personally I can not see an alternative Govt being voted in here for at least the next decade+. Wonder what my Annual Rates will be then ? Avg 10% increase pa over the 10 years. Oh, double what they are now. Nice.

13
dungfungus 10:15 pm
25 Oct 16
#

Acton said :

How will the next four years play out? More of the same scandals, rate rises, arrogant governance, budget blow-outs and wastage of public money. The tram goes ahead, causes traffic disruptions, is under patronised and runs at a loss. But we are stuck with it. Coe attacks with vigour and logic but doesn’t resonate. Closer to the election in 2020 and remembering the lack of charisma from the local 2016 Liberal leadership, a new leader is elected. Someone in tune with the electorate. Affable and empathetic. Good with PR and having a common touch. Someone the electorate can trust and like. A Bob Hawke/Kim Beazley type.

I predict the slow rise of Mark Parton.

I am probably wrong but the only ex-mass media personality to make it to the top in Australian state/territory politics was Labor’s Brian Burke in Western Australia in 1983.

That lasted 5 years and I think everybody knows the rest.

Being “trusted” didn’t help Beazley either.

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