Jeff Kennett’s bid to become Victorian Liberal Party president will be decided next week.
Jeff Kennett’s bid to become Victorian Liberal Party president will be decided next week.

Jeff Kennett poised for a political comeback

Jeff Kennett's bid to become president of the Victorian Liberal Party will be decided at a meeting next week with the current president Robert Clark.

The two men go back a long way: the former MP for Box Hill was a parliamentary secretary in Kennett's second term.

But while they're very different types, they share one trait in common.

Clark is a socially conservative churchgoer, while Jeff is, well we all know about Jeff.

But both of them are impervious to external pressure.

Running a campaign in the media to get Clark to stand aside is to fundamentally misunderstand the man.

Which isn't to say Clark won't step aside for Kennett. He might. But it will be his decision entirely.

And if decides he wants another term it will be hard to stop him.

The view around the Liberal Party is his allies have done very well at this year's general meetings of electorate councils.

When the party's next state council is eventually called the chances of him being re-elected are very good.

Kennett might prevail in a head-to-head contest but it would be a messy drawn-out affair.

By making it clear he will be guided by Clark's decision Kennett is signalling he has no appetite for that fight.

Will current Victoria Liberal Party president Robert Clark step aside for Kennett? Time will tell. Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith.
Will current Victoria Liberal Party president Robert Clark step aside for Kennett? Time will tell. Picture: AAP Image/Julian Smith.

If you ask people in the Liberal Party what they think Jeff Kennett will do, the most honest answer is "who knows?"

He's threatened to come back to politics before. Indeed he was close to agreeing to return to parliament in 2006 when Robert Doyle quit as Liberal Leader.

He decided against it when Ted Baillieu made it clear he was going to run.

Will this time be different? That's up to Robert Clark.

Originally published as Kennett poised for a political comeback


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