Australia: Matthew Guy returns as Victorian Liberal leader

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Monday, September 6, 2021

File:Matthew Guy.jpg
Matthew Guy in 2006.
Image: State of Victoria.

Matthew Guy has been elected as leader of the Victorian Liberal Party today, unseating incumbent leader Michael O'Brien.

A motion moved by Tim Smith to vacate the leadership of the Victorian Liberals (often referred to as a spill motion) was approved by Liberal MPs, of which 20 voted in favour and 11 against. Incumbent leader O'Brien chose not to contest the leadership ballot, resulting in Guy being elected as leader unopposed. The resulting vacancy in the deputy leadership also saw David Southwick elected as deputy leader.

The successful spill motion came after both Guy and Smith resigned from their roles in the shadow cabinet yesterday. Guy previously served as leader of the Victorian Liberals from 2014 to 2018, resigning after the party's loss in the 2018 Victorian state election.

Speaking after assuming the party leadership, Guy said "my thoughts immediately on this day are with all of those people frontline working to manage our COVID response here in Victoria, people like my wife and all those other people like myself who yesterday were home schooling and all the kids who were home schooling. All those small business people who can't open and are doing it very, very tough today, our thoughts still with them."

After his loss of the leadership, Michael O'Brien affirmed that he would contest his Malvern electorate in the next state election, and urged people to support Guy, stating "I think that every Liberal leader deserves support and Matthew deserves it no less than anyone else".

O'Brien also expressed appreciation for being able to serve as Victorian Liberal leader, saying "I love this state, I love the people in it and to be able to do that for three years, to walk into any shop in any town and have a chat and talk about the issues that matter to Victorians, it's been so important and it's been such a privilege."