The photo that has stunned politics in Australia – and why some are saying it’s not a good look: ‘An absolute act of naivety’

A photo of two female politicians from rival parties posing together has sparked outrage from their peers.

Late on Saturday night, Zoe McKenzie, the Liberal MP for Flinders in Victoria, posted a photo of herself with Labor’s Jodie Belyea, who won that day’s by-election for the neighbouring seat of Dunkley, after much help from Anthony Albanese.

The image posted was meant to be a show of respect from two women holding seats on the Mornington Peninsula on Melbourne’s outer edge.

‘You have been a good friend to women across the Mornington Peninsula,’ Ms McKenzie wrote in her 10.30pm message. 

‘Look forward to working with you in looking after paradise!’

The act of goodwill went down badly with some of Ms McKenzie’s colleagues, who called it ‘unforgivable’ and ‘naive’ when the Liberals are ‘at war’ with Labor. 

A photo of two female politicians together has caused shockwaves, outrage, name calling and talk of the major parties being at ‘war’ with each other. Labor’s Jodie Belyea (left) is pictured with Liberal Zoe McKenzie

A senior colleague of Ms McKenzie’s told The Australian the photo was ‘an absolute act of naivety’.

Another said they were ‘floored’ by the picture.

‘To say the anger among the ranks is palpable would be an understatement,’ they said.

A third said the friendliness on display would cause problems in trying to unseat Ms Belyea at the next federal election, which is likely to be held in May 2025. 

‘We are at war with Labor. To think this new breed of Liberal thinks otherwise is infuriating,’ they said. 

Further complicating matters is that Ms McKenzie’s husband Rodrigo Pintos Lopez has just resigned as chief-of-staff to Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto.

One Liberal source said the photo showed ‘zero political judgement’ and a ‘naivety’ that needed to be addressed. 

‘The most generous that you could say is that it is a naive act,’ they said.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted both Ms McKenzie and Ms Belyea for comment. 

ABC election analyst Antony Green called the seat of Dunkley for Labor on Saturday night.

Jodie Belyea (pictured right) won Saturday's byelection for Victorian seat of Dunkley, after much help from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured left)

Jodie Belyea (pictured right) won Saturday’s byelection for Victorian seat of Dunkley, after much help from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (pictured left)

The opposition pinned its hopes on Frankston City Council mayor Nathan Conroy running for the Liberal Party, but the 3.8 per cent swing he managed was not enough to secure the seat.

Mr Albanese made an early appearance at a polling station on Saturday, his 61st birthday, alongside Ms Belyea and his fiancee, Jodie Haydon.

‘What I want for my birthday is obvious today, which is a win for Jodie Belyea,’ Mr Albanese told reporters.

Cost of living was front and centre in the campaign, with Mr Albanese talking up a bigger tax cut for lower and middle income earners under the government’s revamped tax package.

MelbourneAnthony Albanese