Victorian State Liberal leader Robert Doyle is to quit parliament, saying his best was not enough to lead the party to victory in a state election just six months away.
Mr Doyle’s resignation as both Opposition Leader and MP for Malvern has already set off a frantic round of speculation on who will accept the leadership and take on a heavily favoured Steve Bracks-led ALP at the November 25 poll.
Leadership contenders Terry Mulder, current deputy Louise Asher and former leader Denis Napthine have so far refused to comment. Ted Baillieu has reportedly ruled himself out. Former premier Jeff Kennett, at the centre of speculation about a comeback, was this morning locked in a meeting with AFL commissioners.
Mr Doyle’s resignation follows reports he had lost the support of party heavyweights, including Federal Treasurer Peter Costello and long-time power-brokers Michael and Helen Kroger. Mr Costello this morning appeared to back a leadership change, saying the party in Victoria was “disunited”.
But Mr Doyle told reporters: “This was my decision, and my decision alone.”
Former State Premier Jeff Kennett has revealed he is thinking about contesting for his former job. I personally would like him to return.