Kennett slams 'far from good enough' Baillieu
Former Liberal premier Jeff Kennett has launched a blistering critique of Premier Ted Baillieu's communication skills and his Government's media strategy.
Mr Kennett, one of Mr Baillieu's closest political allies, said the Government's ability to sell its message was "far from good enough".
"I don't think they are good communicators," Mr Kennett told 3AW. "I never get the impression he is comfortable enough with the media, I never get the impression that he wants to be with you."
In a candid assessment likely to cause further angst within Government ranks, Mr Kennett accused Mr Baillieu's senior team of advisers of being reactive rather than proactive, highlighting an inability to explain the Government's major projects agenda or why the industrial dispute with teachers could not be resolved.
"As a leader of a party and a government you've got to be able to communicate your message. Go back to the teachers, I don't know what the hiccup is. I wish someone would explain to me why it can't be resolved."
Mr Kennett also raised concerns about the handling of news that a parliamentary superannuation fund would no longer be managed by a parliamentary committee that benefits.
He said the move should have been positive, but had instead resulted in "a shocking headline".
The comments follow two opinion polls placing the Government on 45 per cent compared to Labor's 55 per cent in two-party preferred terms. Mr Baillieu has come under political pressure from within his own party.
Asked to respond to Mr Kennett's criticism, Mr Baillieu, who was in Kilmore, said his message was that bushfires were dangerous, highlighting the death this week of two Department of Sustainability and Environment firefighters.
"I've only got that message for today," he said. "That is the message for today."
Mr Kennett said the Government's media strategy was "very poor, simple as that". "They need to give Victorians buzz and excitement about what's happening currently in our state."