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22 August, 2023 | 03:20 AM

Victorian Liberal president to step down for Senate run

Victorian Liberal president to step down for Senate run
Former senator Greg Mirabella will step down as Victorian Liberal Party president in a bid to make a return to federal parliament. Mr Mirabella confirmed he won't renominate for the post at the party's annual general meeting next month ahead of making a run for third spot on the Liberals' Victorian Senate ticket at the next federal election. The ticket will be decided at a preselection convention in November, with third spot widely viewed as its final winnable spot. The senior Liberal figure lost his Senate seat last year after United Australia Party's Ralph Babet secured the sixth and final spot. Mr Mirabella, who is the husband of former Howard government minister Sophie Mirabella, was only sworn into the Senate in February 2022 after filling a casual vacancy left by former president Scott Ryan. He succeeded Robert Clark as state president before the Liberals suffered a state election drubbing in November, leading to the resignation of the party's state director Sam McQuestin. In an informal election review, Mr Mirabella cited dislike for opposition leader Matthew Guy and the party's negative campaign as reasons for the loss. But Mr Guy blamed Mr Mirabella and called for him to resign. "He's been a woeful state president and he should go," Mr Guy told 3AW host Neil Mitchell in a long interview this year. "He was not a help to the campaign, he was a hindrance to the campaign." In May, Mr Mirabella called for an end to internal factional warfare during the Moira Deeming scandal and estimated the controversy had generated $58,000 worth of negative column inches in newspapers. "There is a cancer in the Liberal Party. It has been there for a long time," he said at the state party conference in Bendigo. "It is the propensity with which Liberals take their disputes, their grievances, their dislikes to the media." Victorians from the state seat of Warrandyte in Melbourne's outer northeast will return to the polls on Saturday for a by-election triggered by the resignation of veteran MP Ryan Smith. The Liberals have preselected former Box Hill candidate and youth pastor Nicole Ta-Ei Werner and are expected to retain the seat, with Labor opting not to run a candidate. Sign up for our emails