Modia Minotaur

Trawling the airwaves to spare you the agony!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Lazarus to Emerge From Triple Bypass?

Rumours are rife that former Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett may be set for a shock return to politics following today's resignation of Victorian Opposition Leader Robert Doyle, who is also quitting as the Member for Malvern. The Victorian Liberals have fallen deeper and deeper into disarray since Kennett's sensational 1999 defeat by the then-underdog Steve Bracks, and it looks like the state branch universally regarded as the national embarrasment may finally have smashed the glass on the `In Case Of Emergency Box'. Given that rumours have been circulating for several weeks that Kennett was considering a move to Federal politics, I wonder if the prodding had not already begun some time before Doyle's announcement, which seems to have come as a genuine surprise.

Will he do it? And if so, what chance would it have of pulling the Victorian Libs out of their quagmire?

Kennett famously used his resignation speech to admit that he realised many of his constitiuents thought he `didn't have any heart at all', but his years as chairman of the depression advocacy group Beyond Blue have contributed to both a softening of his image and a raising of his post-politics profile. However, Kennett would have to pick up an almighty swing if he's to win the next election - due in only six months - or even the one after that, as Bracks has consolidated a virtually insurmountable lead since 1999, and is widely regarded to be doing pretty well.

One former Kennett adversary, a certain John Howard, is now vocally backing a return by Kennett - but this is hardly surprising. For one, Howard would back anyone that gave the Victorian Liberals a snowball's chance in Hades of getting their act together. Secondly, a return by Kennett would be the surest way to annoy Peter Costello, who, as the biggest fish in the Victorian Lib pond, has been notably tight lipped on the idea of being re-Jeffed.

Kennett is expected to confer with family and colleagues and announce his decision within 48 hours.

Crikey, eh?