2 Ballards turn to ask

Questions have also been raised about whether Mr McLeod gave media training to Ms Ballard before she became Premier

Not long after David McLeod was announced as the new campaign leader for the Opposition, the government must still be asking how they couldn’t see this coming.

“It was one of the most tightly kept secrets in the history of the Coalition,” an Opposition party insider told The Age. “It was no great surprise that Neil Thorby stepped down considering his recent poll numbers but everyone expected Trevor Bailey to step up.”

Mr Bailey has been unavailable for comment and so far the Ballard Government has also been quiet in its official response to this unusual situation. 

But independent MP, Gina Kapardis, was typically forthright on Morning Drive yesterday: “I’ve always respected Mr McLeod and his work and let’s face it, he is potentially a popular choice with voters – everyone knows him,” Ms Kapardis said. “But this is a man with zero parliamentary experience– can he even be the real leader of the party?”

Questions have also been raised about whether Mr McLeod gave media training to Ms Ballard before she became Premier. Media training has become commonplace for new politicians in the face of the 24 hour news cycle although few MP’s would admit having received it.

The Premier’s office confirmed that McLeod interviewed Ms Ballard on numerous occasions in her former roles of Minister for Planning and then as Deputy Premier.

McLeod is a seasoned performer and his ease in front of the camera was evident in his articulate and impassioned announcement speech. With his teenage daughter, Matilda, by his side, this popular media personality is not publicity shy and

happy to promote himself as the everyday dad and family man. This will provide a challenge for the Premier, perceived by many as a ‘behind the scenes’ politician, uncomfortable with the 24-hour media cycle and known for keeping her personal life off-limits.