What will happen if treasurer Josh Frydenberg loses his seat?

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·News Reporter
·3-min read
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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is facing the very real threat of losing his seat of Kooyong today, with polls suggesting the heir apparent to the Liberal leadership will fall to challenging independent candidate Monique Ryan.

Liberal candidate for Kooyong Josh Frydenberg speaks to voters at a pre-polling centre in Hawthorn.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg speaks to voters at a pre-polling centre in Hawthorn. Source: Getty.

The loss of Frydenberg would be a huge blow to the Liberal party, damaging both its recovery from a predicted Coalition election loss and its pride.

Frydenberg himself seems aware of the danger he is in after he was seen campaigning at an early voting booth in Kooyong recently.

If the Coalition loses the election

Frydenberg, who heads the Victorian ‘ambition faction’ of the Liberals, is the firming favourite to take over the leadership from Scott Morrison should the Coalition lose the election, over other likely candidate and current defence minister Peter Dutton.

If Frydenberg goes then Dutton, the assumed leader of the conservative faction within the party, would likely assume the leadership in the event of a Coalition election loss.

While Dutton has factional support within the Liberal party, his previous unsuccessful attempt at the leadership in 2018 when Malcolm Turnbull was leader shows that he has opposition within the ranks.

He is also a deeply unpopular leadership choice with the electorate after a series of public gaffes and controversies, including the au pairs controversy and comments about the Pacific islands and global warming (insert link to Everything you need to know about Peter Dutton).

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg speaks to Minister for Defence Peter Dutton.
Minister for Defence Peter Dutton (right) looks set to become the next Liberal leader should Treasurer Josh Frydenberg (left) lose his seat of Kooyong. Source: Getty.

If Frydenberg bombs in Kooyong, a traditionally blue-ribbon seat once held by former Liberal PM Robert Menzies and former leader Andrew Peacock, then it will also be a slap in the face for the Liberals and an indication of how far they have fallen from favour with voters.

If the Coalition wins the election

Another possible scenario to result from a Frydenberg loss is if the Coalition wins the election.

His absence would leave the coveted Treasurer portfolio open. As the Treasurer is often the right-hand man of the PM and considered a position that prepares one for leadership, many assume that Dutton would slide into the role.

Even if the Coalition does win, then the plummeting confidence in PM Scott Morrison would make him vulnerable to challenges from within the party. Dutton would no doubt seize on this and we would likely have a new PM shortly after the election anyway.

Other potential contenders for Treasurer include Assistant Treasurer and Housing Minister Michael Sukkar, Trade Minister Dan Tehan and Communications Minister Paul Fletcher. But with the tide turning against the Coalition in recent months, many contenders for the Treasury and the leadership may also lose their seats, creating a huge power vacuum within the party.

Any outcome that doesn’t include Frydenberg after today’s election is likely to see a divergence in the future of the Liberal party that seemed destined to be in his hands.

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