Frydenberg calls for ‘power of dark blue’ to prevail over teal wave

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.

Josh Frydenberg shares a moment onstage with his family as he began his campaign for re-election in the seat of Kooyong before 1000 local constituents.Credit:Chris Hopkins

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.

Josh Frydenberg swamped at his campaign launch.Credit:Chris Hopkins

The treasurer also told supporters that he ran into a woman at a local cafe who said she was voting for him and that she was Ryan’s mother-in-law. When he asked why she was voting for him, Frydenberg claimed the woman said: “Because you know what you’re doing and you’re a nice person.”

Frydenberg also thanked former Victorian premier Ted Baillieu, who was in the crowd, for his support during the campaign. Baillieu’s son, aged in his 20s, holds a senior campaign role in Ryan’s team.

“It’s alright Ted. I know families don’t always see eye to eye,” Frydenberg joked.

Approximately 1000 people attended the launch at the Leonda by the Yarra function centre in Hawthorn.

Tennis player turned state Liberal candidate Sam Groth was the emcee at the event and opened proceedings by welcoming the room of “real Liberals” – another dig at Ryan.

All happy and clappy. Josh Frydenberg at his campaign launch.Credit:Chris Hopkins

The room was full of federal and state Liberal MPs. The federal MPs include Katie Allen, Michael Sukkar, Sarah Henderson, David Van and James Paterson. The state MPs include David Southwick, David Davis and Wendy Lovell.

Absent, though, was John Howard – a former PM who knows more than most about losing his own formerly safe seat. Groth read a message from Howard saying he would have been there but was attending the baptism of his youngest grandchild.

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