Anger grows among Liberal Party members over Michael O’Brien for failing to effectively hold Premier Daniel Andrews to account over the COVID-19 response.
Anger grows among Liberal Party members over Michael O’Brien for failing to effectively hold Premier Daniel Andrews to account over the COVID-19 response.

Senior Liberals deny plan to topple Opposition Leader

Senior state Liberals have denied moves are under way to topple opposition leader ­Michael O'Brien.

But several MPs have told the Herald Sun there is anger among some members about Mr O'Brien's recent performances. They say he has failed to land a blow on Premier Daniel Andrews despite repeated criticisms of the government's COVID-19 response.

Former Liberal leader Jeff Kennett has twice this week criticised the party leadership, saying it was failing to effectively hold the government to account.

On Thursday he hit out at outspoken MP Tim Smith, who has made no secret about his ambitions to run the party, saying he was yet to learn the ropes. It is understood Mr Smith, who refused to respond to the comments, has been privately spoken to by Mr Kennett on a number of occasions about his performances.

Liberal insiders say Mr Smith wouldn't have the numbers to contest the leadership, but former leader Matthew Guy could, if interested, make a return to the top job despite his crushing defeat at the 2018 election.

"No one is in the mood for change given the current circumstances," one senior figure said.

Michael O'Brien said his sole focus was on the coronavirus pandemic. "Everyone in the party is focused on getting Victoria through this. We are going to hold Labor to account, that's our job," he said.

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shannon.deery@news.com.au

Originally published as Senior Liberals deny plan to topple O'Brien


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