Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has implored a thousand of his supporters to harness the “power of the dark blue” to overcome a contest from his teal-coloured independent challenger.
In a 15-minute speech, the treasurer said a vote for former paediatric neurologist Monique Ryan would be a vote for a “chaotic” hung parliament that would make it more difficult for future governments to pursue big policies like JobKeeper or the AUKUS security pact.
Frydenberg claimed Labor leader Anthony Albanese was “in bed” with independents challenging inner-city Liberals, as he invoked Robert Menzies’ “forgotten people”, John Howard’s “battlers” and Scott Morrison’s “quiet Australians”.
“If they vote for a so-called independent, they will get Anthony Albanese and the Labor Party,” the treasurer said. “This is the choice. And we know the Liberal Party represents the values and ideals of the quiet Australians.”
The treasurer’s electorate of Kooyong has been the seat of Liberal royalty. Former prime minister Robert Menzies held the electorate – in Melbourne’s inner east – for 32 years. Former opposition leader Andrew Peacock was also a member for Kooyong.
Yet at this election, the seat is under serious threat for the first time from “teal” independent Monique Ryan.
Frydenberg, who spoke with no notes, repeated his regular attacks on the climate-focused fundraising body Climate 200 – which has provided about half of Ryan’s funding.
The treasurer called the group a “political party” and argued Ryan, who was a Labor Party member between 2007 and 2010, would deliver a Labor government in the event of a hung Parliament. He added that this was against the interests of Kooyong voters, who have never elected a Labor MP.