“I’d forget these people, the elites of the inner city because they’re never going to support us, that’s over. We have to aim our charge specifically at the great mass of people in suburbia who are really struggling,” he said.
The Victorian Liberal Party voted to expel Mr Finn on Tuesday. Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said it was Finn’s behaviour, not his beliefs, which forced his expulsion.
“I expect people to uphold respectful discourse, whatever their issues may be … it needs to be respectful,” Mr Guy said.
“It is not about the Liberal Party, not navel-gazing from a federal election or other issues, it is about moving on and being a sensible alternative.”
In addition to Mr Finn’s abortion comments, Mr Guy cited a Facebook post, in which he compared Daniel Andrews to Hitler: “I think we’ve seen enough examples over the last few weeks but also months before it, referring to Hitler … I just think the debate needs to be respectful.”
Upper house MP Bernie Finn did not attend the vote but appeared on the steps of state parliament after the decision where he declared the Liberal Party he joined as “dead”.
“Just as I will not be bullied by Daniel Andrews, I will not be bullied by Matthew Guy,” he said.
“I will continue to fight, not just in this parliament but in the next parliament as well,” he said. “I have done nothing wrong. What do they do to someone who does something wrong? Can we expect a lynching, a lynching on the steps here?”
Premier Mr Andrews responded on Tuesday that: “I’ll leave them to be bitterly divided”.
Senior Andrews government minister Martin Pakula said on Monday that former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg was in “denial” if he did not think his criticism of Mr Andrews had impacted his vote. “All I’d say is that denial ain’t just a river in Egypt,” Mr Pakula said.
But one of the last Liberals left standing in Melbourne, Alan Tudge said that voters turned against the Liberals in part due to “Dan Andrews lockdowns”. “People were blaming us in Melbourne, in part for the Dan Andrews’ lockdowns, and not being strong enough to take it up to him,” he said.
Pollster and former Victorian Labor campaigner Kos Samaras warns that if Peter Dutton becomes the new federal Liberal leader, the Coalition will struggle to recapture seats in Melbourne. “Victorians hate him, you think they hated Morrison, oh boy,” he said.
Long-time former Victorian public servant and company director Ms Proust said it was “crazy” to talk about the Liberals moving further to the right to secure rural and country seats.
“A few Liberals commented they lost because they had a leftist agenda which is ridiculous. They weren’t even remotely centrist, let alone to the left,” she said. “It’s crazy land. If they don’t learn the lessons about the need for candidates which reflect their electorates, the lessons on climate change and better treatment of women, they are in really significant difficulty.”
Ms Proust said because Victoria is the “most progressive state in the country”, Victorian Liberals needed candidates and policies which resonated with voters.
“There has to be some soul-searching and a change of direction and if there isn’t we will only see more independents,” she said. Business has adapted much better than the Coalition to modern Australia, she said. “When you sit around a board table, talking about sustainability, it’s a given you have to deal with it, it’s a question of how you do it. Years ago business went past government,” she said.
It comes as Victorian Nationals leader Peter Walsh on Tuesday reaffirmed the Party’s position to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. “The Victorian Nationals do not support any watering down of our nation’s climate change targets and remain committed to implementing measures to achieve net zero by 2050,” he said.