Josh Frydenberg opts out of seeking Kooyong preselection

Former Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has made a definitive decision not to challenge Amelia Hamer as the Liberal candidate for Kooyong. This announcement follows significant public backlash over the potential displacement of an already preselected female candidate. Additionally, the recently revealed draft boundaries for Kooyong by the Australian Electoral Commission indicate that the anticipated boost in the Liberal vote may not materialize as expected, especially with Monique Ryan currently holding the seat.

The proposed Victorian draft boundaries involve the abolition of Higgins, a Labor-held seat, leading to a redistribution of voters into Kooyong and Chisholm. This change is likely to benefit the Liberals in Chisholm, currently under Labor control. Frydenberg took to X (formerly Twitter) to confirm on Monday that he has no immediate plans to return to politics and reiterated his support for the Liberal Party and their chosen candidate, Amelia Hamer.

Speculation surrounding Frydenberg’s potential candidacy had caused division within the Liberal Party, with some expressing concerns about the optics of removing a female candidate and others highlighting the potential value of Frydenberg’s return to parliament in terms of talent. Despite support from former minister Karen Andrews to facilitate his return, Frydenberg has stood by his decision.

The Coalition currently holds 55 seats in the House of Representatives, with 11 of them occupied by women. In the Senate, the Coalition holds 31 seats, with 14 being held by women, resulting in an overall female representation of 28.7%, as depicted in an infographic by Hilma’s Network. Charlotte Mortlock, founder of Hilma’s Network, criticized Frydenberg for not pursuing leadership roles within the party and emphasized that women should not be overlooked in political decisions.

With the Kooyong matter settled, the Victorian Liberal Party faces the decision of whether to reconsider nominations for Chisholm, where Theo Zographos currently stands unopposed. There is a growing push to have Katie Allen, the Liberal candidate for Higgins, transferred to Chisholm, adding a new layer of complexity to the party’s internal dynamics.