Bruised Victorian Liberals need to stop pandering to inner-city elites

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Contenders for the Victorian Liberal leadership have begun making their case as Matt Guy prepares to stand down after Saturday’s crushing election loss.

Guy announced Sunday that he would ask the party to elect a new leader in the wake of the weekend’s devastating result.

Four potential contenders have already emerged as blame starts to be appointed for the Liberal’s inability to capitalise on widespread anger against the Andrews’ government.

Warrandyte MP and former Baillieu-Napthine government minister Ryan Smith is expected to challenge, as is Berwick’s Brad Battin, and Hawthorn MP John Pesutto.

Upper house MP Matt Bach is likely to put his hand up for the leadership if he can switch seats.

Guy – who has twice failed to win elections as leader – said he would not contest the leadership ballot.

“As soon as it is clearer which Liberal Party candidates will form the next parliamentary party room, I will call them together to elect their new leadership team,” he said.

Smith, who has been in parliament more than 16 years, told the Herald Sun the Liberals needed to appeal to faith communities as well as to working-class and suburban voters.

He said the election result demonstrated that Liberals needed to stop worrying about appealing to inner-city elites.

They needed, instead, to represent “faith communities and the working people who just want to get government out of their lives and get on with things”.

Smith promised that upper house MP Renee Heath would sit in the party room if he was leader. Guy created controversy before the election when he said she would be excluded because of her Christian faith.

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