Daniel Andrews has been accused of running the “worst government in modern Australian history” by former prime minister Tony Abbott.
The Victorian Premier is on track to become the state‘s longest serving premier with the latest Newspoll, published in the Australian, showing the party is steaming towards a third election victory.
But Mr Abbott is adamant the Liberals still have a chance at forming government despite the monster gap.
“No one thought we had a chance in 2010 and we did extremely well against the first term because we had a strong sense of what we stood for,” he told Sky News.
“The fact is, the Andrews government has been a seriously bad government. It’s been ethically challenged.”
He pointed to the government’s failures in hotel quarantine during the emergence of the pandemic in 2020 as key indicator of their “incompetence”.
“(It) was one the most inept programs in contemporary Australian history,” Mr Abbott said.
“This is the government which plainly has broken lots of rules, effectively a party state here in Victoria.”
But a number of so-called teal candidates are popping up across the state in traditional Liberal-held seats, in a move that mirrors the wave that occurred at the federal level.
Asked if their appearance at a state level could hold back the Liberals, Mr Abbott stuck to the line Scott Morrison failed to prosecute in May – that a vote for the teals was a vote for Labor.
“A vote for anyone other than your Liberal candidate helps perpetuate the Andrews government, which has been seriously the worst government in Australia’s modern history,” the former prime minister said.
Despite controversies in recent months, Mr Abbott said he backed Liberal leader Matthew Guy but conceded he doesn’t talk to him regularly.
“I’m a former federal politician and the issues are sometimes a little bit different. But I back the elected leader of the party,” he added.