“He’s the best we’ve had since Howard,” Kroger said.
Mr Frydenberg said he was proud of his record as treasurer for balancing the budget before the pandemic, delivering an unemployment rate of 3.9% to a 48-year low and the JobKeeper wage subsidy saving more than 800 000 jobs during COVID-19.
Thinking his age of 50 was the ‘new 30’, Mr Frydenberg said he still had ‘a little gas in that tank’.
“What motivated me 12 years ago to become a member of Kooyong is still what motivates me today, which is to serve my community and ensure that Australians get the best opportunities, as I have had. .
“I’m just going to take some time to think about my future plans.
“But first and foremost it’s about spending more time with the kids and with my wife, because over the past few years I’ve obviously seen myself parked in Canberra for a lot of that.”
The deputy leader of the Liberal Party said the message from voters would teach the party lessons ahead of the upcoming federal election and Victorian elections in November.
His anticipated loss paves the way for Conservative Peter Dutton to become Leader of the Opposition. Any attempt by Mr. Frydenberg to return to federal politics would trigger tensions within the leadership.
There is talk among Victorian Liberals that Mr Frydenberg could be wooed into state politics in a bid to defeat Labor Prime Minister Daniel Andrews.
Mr Frydenberg and Mr Andrews are bitter political rivals and have clashed on several occasions over Victoria’s pandemic lockdowns, which the Treasurer has criticized for having a devastating impact on people’s mental health and children’s education.
In a potential opening, Liberal state MP Tim Smith leaves Melbourne’s inner seat in Kew, which intersects with Mr Frydenberg’s federal electorate in Kooyong.
However, Mr Frydenberg’s former aide, Jessica Wilson, has already been shortlisted as the Liberal candidate for Kew. It is considered highly unlikely that he would attempt to dislodge a woman. The other neighboring state seat is Malvern, held by former Victorian opposition leader Michael O’Brien.
Outgoing Finance Minister Simon Birmingham said Mr Frydenberg would not expect colleagues to stand down for him.
“Josh is a huge loss, and it’s a devastating blow and a waste of huge talent out there with Josh,” Senator Birmingham said.
Liberal sources said Mr. Frydenberg was more interested in domestic and international issues such as economic management, foreign affairs and national security.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has backed Mr Frydenberg to stay involved in politics.
“Josh Frydenberg should stay in this Liberal Party and stay in the Federal Parliament because he is an exceptional individual and a leader of our country,” Mr Morrison said in his concession speech on Saturday evening.
“Public life would be poorer”
Ms Ryan attributed her victory to Kooyong voters frustrated by the coalition government’s “lack of action” on climate change, an integrity commission and gender equity.
“This is a government that has gone too far to the right,” she said.
Former Victoria Premier Jeff Kennett said Mr Frydenberg would be an asset in politics or business.
“If it breaks down, my advice would be to take a few months off with the family and then assess.”
“He’s a valuable person, whatever he chooses to do in politics or business, given his connections around the world, in the same way that Peter Costello was able to benefit from his political experience as Treasurer .”
Mr. Costello served as federal treasurer for eleven years in the Howard government and is now chairman of the $201 billion Future Fund and Nine, publisher of The Australian Financial Review.
Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott said “parliament and public life would be poorer without this man”.
“I hope he comes back to public life,” she said.
“He guided our country through the toughest economic times and saved hundreds of thousands of jobs.”