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Monday, May 10, 2021

Coe coy on Liberals’ leadership after election defeat

Following the Canberra Liberals loss in the ACT election over the weekend, incumbent party leader Alistair Coe has refused to say whether he will or won’t remain opposition leader.

“That will be resolved in the coming days; obviously there is going to be a need for change with regard to the campaign we are running in the future,” Mr Coe said.

“There’s no need to rush into any decisions at this point … What we’ve got to do is make changes but make sure we don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, because the results across Canberra are actually quite complex.”

Speaking to the weekend’s result, Mr Coe congratulated ACT Labor leader Andrew Barr and ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury for their “relative success” before going on to say the Canberra Liberals will hold the Labor-Greens “coalition” government to account.

“The ACT needs a strong opposition, as I said many times throughout the campaign there are a lot of Canberrans who are doing it tough,” he said, touching on the cost of living debate he mounted during the campaign.

“Tens of thousands living in poverty, tens of thousands more struggling with rent, rates, the cost of living, people are doing it tough in this city … I look forward to seeing what the Labor-Greens government have in store to resolve this crisis.”

While conceding defeat and expressing “great disappointment” with the Canberra Liberals’ result – as it appears, they could lose up to three seats which would drop them from 11 to eight MLAs – Mr Coe said the “final makeup of the Assembly is far from settled”.

“What’s clear in the scrutiny sheets for the count is that people’s voting habits are far more complex than a lot of people would like to think, and that’s why the fifth seat is still in play … even in seats like Brindabella.

“There’s still votes to be counted right across Canberra … there’s still a lot of water to go under the bridge and I think there’s still quite a few nervous candidates in the ACT.”

Facing criticism that the Canberra Liberals campaign was heavy on stunts and slogans while light on detail and costings, Mr Coe defended their tilt, describing it as “very professional” and “very slick”.

“The campaign team did a superb job,” he said.

Post a comment on this story to let us know your thoughts about the Canberra Liberals’ campaign.

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