BREAKING: Ted Baillieu Resigns As Premier Of Victoria

SKY NEWS is reporting — and other sources confirming — that as I write, Ted Baillieu is resigning as Premier of Victoria; the move follows the resignation of errant MP for Frankston, Geoff Shaw, earlier today.

We will obviously track this as it develops later tonight and during the week, but it seems the reports of Baillieu’s resignation are correct.

This situation is very fluid (and may have even superseded this article by the time I publish it, but we’ll see).

I’m reluctant to provide too much comment at this stage until the picture becomes clearer, but for now it seems — as I said — that Baillieu is gone.

But I will say that given the precarious numbers in the Legislative Assembly, any move to bring Planning minister Matthew Guy down from the upper house to serve as Premier would seem fraught with danger; the name of Tourism and Small Business Minister Louise Asher — my local MP, and a favourite of this column — will, hopefully, be in the mix for the replacement leadership team.

I’ll be back a little later…

Louise Asher Fell Asleep…

Big deal.

I mean, really…

After an 18 hour day in State Parliament, the deputy leader of the Liberal Party fell asleep in her office prior to a division being called.

This sort of thing has happened for years; it made the headlines today for no other reason than the numbers on the floor of the House are split 44-43 (remembering that the 45th Coalition member, Ken Smith, sits in the Speaker’s chair).

Hard politics is hard politics, and especially when the numbers are close, as they are in Victoria at present.

But Parliament is populated by human beings, and as much as Joe Public likes to knock politicians, the politician is every bit as human as Joe Public is.

I know Louise reasonably well, and as a member of Parliament in Victoria she is one of the best. She is professional and forthright, and not given to intrigues or the sort of silly games that a stereotype of a politician might entertain.

It would be different if the vote Louise missed took place at 2pm or even 9pm; but sitting in her office at midnight, waiting, after a day twice the length of the standard working day, I don’t think it’s right or fair to crucify her.

Yes, as a member — especially as deputy leader of the Party — she should have been in the chamber for the vote.

The predictable reaction from the Labor Party (musings about the Liberal Party being asleep on the job, jabs about casual attitudes toward responsibilities and so forth) reflects solely on those occupying the opposition benches in Victoria at present.

The facts are: Louise made an inadvertent mistake; the intended vote occurred half an hour after it was meant to; the outcome was identical to what would have happened had the vote occurred as scheduled; and Louise — deeply contrite — has repeatedly apologised in all relevant quarters today.

This issue is a storm in a teacup. Perhaps the ALP might better spend its time working out how to counter the past ministerial records of several of its frontbenchers, rather than getting into the gutter at every available opportunity.