Former Victorian Premier considers political comeback

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Thursday, May 4, 2006

Former Victorian Premier, Jeff Kennett said that he will consider returning to politics over the next 48 hours following the resignation of Liberal party leader, Robert Doyle. Mr Kennett was premier of Victoria from 1992 until 1999, when the Steve Bracks Labor government narrowly defeated him.

Mr Doyle has resigned following his approval rating sinking to a low of 15 percent.

There have been rumours of Mr Kennett returning to politics after the liberal party lost its second election in 2002 election. These have now been heightened by Mr Doyle's resignation. Mr Kennett said numerous people have approached him over the past few months about a return to politics. "I have received over the last few months significant numbers of approaches from both political and non-political people" he said.

It is expected that transport spokesman, Terry Mulder and planning spokesman Ted Baillieu may also run for the position of Victorian Liberal party leader. The new leader will be decided at a party meeting on Monday, when Mr Doyle will formally resign from the position.

If the party selects Mr Kennett as its leader there may be a number of interesting scenarios played out as Mr Kennett is not currently a member of parliament. He may be endorsed as leader immediately (in which case he would be an "outsider"), an acting leader may be elected until Mr Kennett returns to parliament at either the November 25 election or by winning a by-election. If the party decides to endorse Mr Kennett immediately, it would be the first time since 1993 that a party has had a leader who has not been a sitting member of parliament.

Mr Kennett has the support of John Howard, Australia's Prime Minister and most senior liberal party figure. A spokesperson for Mr Howard said that Mr Howard would welcome Mr Kennet's return to politics.