Prime Minister pledges to help Victorian Liberals in state campaign
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Prime Minister pledges to help Victorian Liberals in state campaign

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reportedly pledged to work closely with the Victorian Liberals to win the November election, raising hopes among state MPs that some star power will help limit the Andrews government to one term.

The new PM gave a private pep talk to Victorian Liberal MPs and candidates late on Friday, suggesting he would be more visible in Victoria during the election campaign.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Credit:AAP

He spoke to the state team after visiting the ultra-marginal Labor seat of Frankston in his first public appearance in Melbourne as Prime Minister.

Victorian Liberals hope Mr Morrison will bring gravitas and a high-profile presence to their campaign, which has suffered from federal infighting at the top of their party in recent weeks.

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Former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull maintained a relatively low profile in Victoria, with Premier Daniel Andrews often deriding him as the “prime minister for Sydney”.

It is understood Mr Morrison also gave his strong backing to Opposition Leader Matthew Guy.

One Liberal source who attended the brief meeting said the talk was short but well received by MPs and candidates who are keen to move on from the leadership instability that resulted in Mr Morrison being installed as Prime Minister.

The source said Mr Morrison would be a valuable addition on the campaign trail in Victoria.

“I think he would be welcome,” the Liberal said. “He will resonate in the suburbs.”

Mr Morrison also reportedly paid tribute to staff working at the Liberals’ campaign headquarters.

“Those little touches show that he’s bringing everybody in,” the source said.

It is understood Mr Morrison, a former NSW state director, also spoke of the importance of different sections of the party machine working in unison, including professional staff, volunteers, MPs and candidates.

The latest ReachTel poll taken for The Age in July had Labor leading the Coalition by 51 to 49 per cent.

Mr Morrison defeated former foreign minister Julie Bishop and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton in a leadership ballot to become Prime Minister late last month.

The prospect of Mr Dutton taking over as prime minister had alarmed some state Liberals who feared his ultra-conservative views would jar with many voters in Victoria, which is considered the most progressive state in Australia.

Mr Morrison has nominated urban issues, including tackling congestion in places like Melbourne’s growing outer suburbs, as a focus.

One Labor strategist said the Andrews government would be happy for the Liberals to use the Prime Minister on the campaign trail, saying Mr Turnbull was far more popular with Victorian voters.

“Turnbull was definitely a positive for them,” the strategist said. “The more Scott Morrison is down here the better.”

He said Mr Morrison's conservative credentials would not appeal to Victorian voters who preferred more moderate Liberal leaders.