Georgiou, Frydenberg and the Senate option

Frydenberg vs Georgiou for Kooyong is an exciting battle to watch. Both are fine intellects, both would make good ministers if given the chance, and both are representatives of very different strands of the Liberal tradition. It's also a battle of talent that the ALP should be salivating over.

I have a personal connection to both Josh and Petro. Josh Frydenberg and I are both alumni of Bialik College, and have come across each other where Judaism intersects with politics. We were on a panel together last year for a discussion on that very topic. Josh is one of those tremendously talented young people who inspires admiration and jealousy in equal quantities. There's no doubt, though, that he would make a fine member of parliament. Now, or maybe later.

The incumbent is Petro Georgiou, the posterchild of moderate liberalism (well, Liberalism, really). In 2001 I ran as the Democrat candidate against Georgiou and came to admire and respect him. Whilst not a particularly vigourous campaigner, Petro was a man who cared about his electorate and had respect for people he came into contact with. There's more of my gushing admiration here.

Though some might attack Georgiou and Frydenberg, really this contest is an embarrasment of riches. The fact the Frydenberg can attract endorsements from so many movers and shakers despite spending most of his life as a ministerial staffer is a testament to his talent.

Ultimately, it seems likely that Georgiou will win the battle. With the notable exception of Turnbull in Wentworth, Liberals are generally highly reluctant to back challengers to incumbents. Georgiou also deserves his place in the parliamentary team - he adds vigour and depth and is one of few Liberal voices who is not a Howard sycophant.

Watch out for Frydenberg in the near future. From what I've seen, he is not one who readily embraces grass roots campaigning. Like Georgiou, he's highly intelligent, a little aloof and not terribly suited to the pressing of flesh. The Senate would be an ideal place for him, where he can influence policy and be a potential minister without the drudgery of holding down a seat.

Liberal Senate preselections won't be happening for a little while yet, but things look promising. Up for election are Senator Mitch Fifield (a stayer), Senator Kay Patterson (retirement already announced) and Senator Rod Kemp (on the way out). So there'll be two juicy Senate spots available, and surely if Kooyong doesn't work out, Frydenberg would be in the box seat to claim one of them.


Anonymous said…
Frydenberg has a lot of support with one faction, but Georgiou has the Davis camp support, and they seem to have control of the area.

In the senate, Fifield won't lose, and neither will Kemp unless he retires.

Frydenberg may just have to bide his time.

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