Kroger stays on as Vic Liberal president

Despite ongoing infighting, Michael Kroger will serve another term as Victorian Liberal Party president.


He was re-elected unopposed on Saturday at the party’s state council meeting after his only challenger Peter Reith withdrew.

A former Howard government minister, Mr Reith pulled out of the race after suffering a stroke in March.

Addressing the meeting, Mr Kroger defended his stoush with the party’s fundraising arm the Cormack Foundation.

The party has been under a financial strain since former state director Damien Mantach used fake invoices to steal more than $1.5 million from its coffers.

Cormack is withholding sorely-needed funds until there are governance changes.

“Unfortunately we don’t accept grants that are tied,” Mr Kroger said.

“We don’t accept grants from people that say we’ll give you half a million dollars if your branch members do this for us.”

The debts left behind from the Mantach scandal will remain “for some time” Mr Kroger said.

“It’s very hard to ask donors for money to pay off a mortgage that was really our own fault, and when we do receive funds we wish to direct them towards election campaigning,” he said.

Mr Kroger said the Liberals needed to get tougher to defeat the “extremist” Andrews Labor government, and declared that anyone that got in the way of the Liberals winning the 2018 Victoria election “will get rolled by me”.

However, he also said a coalition with the National Party was “not a given”.

“Obviously, as a separate party we’ve always got to look after our own interests first and the interests of the coalition second,” he said.

Among federal motions passed by council on Saturday was one calling for an end to the GST on female hygiene products, and another to boost Victorian infrastructure funding.

The state council also voted to lobby the federal coalition government to hand at least 20 per cent of infrastructure funding to Victoria – more than double the current nine per cent.

Council also carried a motion calling for the Australian embassy in Israel to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem “as soon as practicably possible.”