Newspoll: 68-32 to Labor in Western Australia

The most authoritative poll yet to emerge from the Western Australian campaign suggests Labor could be headed for the biggest election win in the country’s history.

A Newspoll in today’s Australian is remarkable in two ways: for being only the second media-commissioned poll of statewide voting intention in Western Australia to appear anywhere since the 2017 election, and for what may be the most lopsided result of any opinion poll this site has ever reported on.

Labor is credited with nothing less than a lead of 68-32 on two-party party preferred, a swing of 13.5% on their already commanding win in 2017, from primary votes of Labor 59% (!), compared with 42.2% in 2017; Liberal 23%, down from 31.2%; the Nationals 2%, down from 5.4%; the Greens 8%, down from 8.9%; and One Nation 3%, down from 4.9% (presumably the question was only posed in the 40 seats where the party is fielding candidates).

Mark McGowan’s personal ratings are in line with other pollsters at 88% approval and 10% disapproval, but Zak Kirkup’s ratings would be particularly disappointing to the Liberals, at 29% approval and 41% disapproval, with McGowan leading 83-10 on preferred premier. The poll was conducted from last Friday to Thursday from a sample of 1034.

Elsewhere:

• The Liberals may perhaps take solace in the finding of the finding of new-pseph-website-on-the-block Armarium Interreta that state polling has historically skewed to incumbents, although there is some evidence the effect has moderated over time. Then again, the site’s election forecast model rates the most probable seat outcome as 50 for Labor, five for Liberal and four for the Nationals. A new post explains how the model has reacted to the apparent peculiarity of the Newspoll result, namely by boosting Labor’s expected two-party vote from around 60% to 63% and widening the range of uncertainty.

• I’ve been provided with breakdowns from the Online Research Unit poll that was covered in the previous post. These suggest age effects will be relatively subdued at this election: applying crude preference estimates to the primary vote results, I get Labor’s two-party leads gently sloping down from 62-38 among the 17-24 cohort to 56-44 among the 65-plus. By comparison, Newspoll’s most recent federal breakdowns had Labor leading 61-39 among the 18-34 cohort and trailing 62-38 among the 65-plus.

• Peter Law of The West Australian (no link that I can find) relates a prediction by Glenn Druery that Labor will fall just short of a Legislative Council majority with 17 out of 36 seats, with the Greens almost certain to hold the balance of power if they fail. The Nationals are campaigning on the likelihood that a left-dominated Legislative Council will reduces or eliminate the chamber’s rural malapportionment: the Greens are open in their advocacy for one-vote one-value, but Labor is fudging the issue by saying the question is “not on our agenda”.

• On the subject of Glenn Druery, his network’s preference arrangements are as usual specifically to the advantage of particular parties in designated regions: the Liberal Democrats in South Metropolitan (where Aaron Stonehouse is trying to win re-election for the party); the Daylight Savings Party in Mining and Pastoral (notwithstanding that daylight saving is a largely metropolitan enthusiasm); Liberals for Climate in North Metropolitan; the Western Australian Party in East Metropolitan; the Health Australia Party in Agricultural; and Sustainable Australia in South West.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

97 comments on “Newspoll: 68-32 to Labor in Western Australia”

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  1. David, the difference is that QLD only has one house of parliament. The Newman Government was indeed a perfect example of why having an upper house is so vital to keeping a government in check.

    If the McGowan Government is to have the massive majority that seems likely, it would be in WA’s best interests if the Greens hold the balance of power in the Legislative Council so that they can keep Labor in check and prevent them from lurching too far to the right, as is often their want.

  2. If the McGowan Government is to have the massive majority that seems likely, it would be in WA’s best interests if the Greens hold the balance of power in the Legislative Council so that they can keep Labor in check and prevent them from lurching too far to the right, as is often their want.

    You hurt your credibility when you added the last line. I wouldn’t trust the Greens being the ‘checks’ and ‘balance’ of power. The Greens voted with the Liberals to block Kevin Rudd’s ETS federally for political purposes. And instead of having a ETS the country was left with nothing. The Greens idea of ‘checks’ and ‘balance’ is its either their way or the highway. And block progressive reform from Labor, for the simple reason of trying to stay relevant with their supporters.

    The problem with the Greens is they think the vote they get gives them the mandate to implement their policies. It doesn’t and it’s quite undemocratic that they have the power to pass, block, and amend legislation with only 10% of the vote.

    If the Greens do get the balance of power. I wouldn’t be surprised if they scuttle reforming the upper house that is gerrymandered to favors Libs/Nats. This is the Greens we are talking about and they have done it in the past.

  3. I’d dearly love to see Labor 68-32 Federally. Reduce the Coalition to an unviable rump for at least two terms, a chance to get things done. A chance to unwind the legacy of Abbott, Morrison and that other bloke – even make progress on Howard/Costello.

  4. Davidwh @ #2 Saturday, February 20th, 2021 – 9:41 pm

    Too lopsided to be in the best interests of WA. It brings back bad memories of QLD 2012-2015.

    You’ve got that right-wing projection going again Davidwh. Sensible governments with such majorities keep their darkest desires and loosest cannons well under control in such situations. If McGowan is smart, and from experience with the man he most certainly is, this term will be managed so that 2025 is a Labor win.

  5. Socrates @ #7 Sunday, February 21st, 2021 – 6:11 am

    I commented last week that the WA opposition campaign seemed to be almost invisible. I see the voters agree.

    The problem is, in early COVID the Liberals weren’t invisible. They came out long and loud against the border closure, the restrictions and were very critical of WA Labor’s handling of the matter. Even after rolling the leader who fronted that position, they did not have the good sense to engage in the appropriate customary prominent and humiliating backdown and mea culpa, they merely moved onto a new leader who started acting like they’d supported McGowan all along.

    The polling is backed by anecdotal feedback from the field campaigns and what I’ve heard in the broader community. The WA Liberals are about to pay dearly for taking a position contrary to the welfare of almost all sandgropers.

  6. If those results were replicated at the election, would the Liberals lose their formal status as an opposition party, thereby losing access to a whole host of benefits afforded oppositions?

  7. The public has certainly backed the border closures and the Liberals in WA look to be paying the price. To a lesser extent the LNP also suffered from attacks on the Queensland border shutdown last year.

    Still I doubt it will be a 68- 32 result but can see it being a 60+/40- result. The government has done not very much wrong and the opposition has not done anything right.

  8. Grimace has pretty much nailed it in a nutshell. Liza Harvey then WA Liberal leader demanded the WA borders be open a week before the Victorian Coronavirus outbreak. It was opposition for the sake of opposition and sniping for the sake of sniping. It was frankly stupid and reckless. And after digging her colleagues in a hole she made matters worse by doubling down which she couldn’t back track and get of.

    A fortnight later, even in the aftermath of an opinion poll plastered on the front page of Perth’s daily newspaper suggesting around nine in 10 West Australians wanted the border to stay closed, Ms Harvey has doubled down on that seemingly unpopular stance.

    “Sometimes the right thing to do is not necessarily the most popular thing to do,” she said yesterday.

    “This hard border is absolute nonsense … it is rhetoric, it is nonsense and it is killing Western Australian businesses.”

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-06-02/liza-harvey-bewilders-liberal-mps-in-coronavirus-wa-border-row/12308934

  9. Interesting how incumbent governments seem almost impossible to shift at the moment….not really good news for Labor at the Federal level. Longer term, it does mean that Labor will have to perform very badly not to think they might have at least one more term after this……………It is incongruous that Labor can be so far ahead on a State basis but can’t make any headway at all at the Federal level…

  10. Thank you William for the link to the Arctic Wolves coming for the Liberals in WA. The explanation of Bayesian statistics was a fun read. And with all the priors and posteriors, it’s also possible to read the post as an explanation of cult-like belief systems such as anti-vaxx or climate denial, or maybe even “rusted on” politics. Sometimes it takes more than one wolf.

  11. Tricot says:
    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 11:18 am
    Interesting how incumbent governments seem almost impossible to shift at the moment….not really good news for Labor at the Federal level. Longer term,

    ———-
    Or you can say its not good for the federal libs/nats, when the libs/nats oppositions are getting a pounding
    So far most of the governments in Australia during covid have supported the health of the citizens with border lockdowns.

    Morrison and NSW is following the Trump style economy over health

  12. Confessions @ #11 Sunday, February 21st, 2021 – 7:21 am

    If those results were replicated at the election, would the Liberals lose their formal status as an opposition party, thereby losing access to a whole host of benefits afforded oppositions?

    Yes, they’d lose their status as the opposition party. The resourcing of their offices would then become a matter of negotiation with the Labor government.

  13. That distribution by age ranges is interesting – it suggests that while the overall swing to Labor may be anywhere between 5% and 12.5%, the swing among the elderly could be maybe 5% higher. We certainly saw hints of that in the Queensland results where the districts north of Brisbane with a higher population of retirees swung to Labor (and nobody-very-much screamed “ecological fallacy” when people remarked on it). So, Will (or Kevin cos I know you read Will’s pages), which WA LA districts have higher-than-average numbers of retirees and how would that affect the seat predictions please?

  14. Dawesville is right up there. Just in case anyone thought Kirkup could hold his seat…

    Without checking: Vasse, Carine, Hillarys and South Perth are probably on the list.

  15. https://www.pollbludger.net/2021/02/20/newspoll-68-32-to-labor-in-western-australia/#comment-3560123

    In order to be in a position to block or amend legislation, half or a majority (respectively) of seats are needed. The Greens have never been close to that at state or Commonwealth level in Australia. So the Greens can only block or amend when there is more wide spread support for blocking or amending the legislation. What you are effectively saying is the Greens should rubber stamp anything the ALP puts up (without favourable compromise), like they were bound by the ALP pledge rather than being a different political party, just because the ALP is bigger than them. That does not effective represent Green voters, nor would any party or independent who rubber stamped like that (for any party) be representing their voters.

  16. @Jack Aranda

    The Census data I have doesn’t list 65+ as its own category, but, looking at the combined 60+ category:

    1. Dawesville (30.1%)
    2. Moore (28.9%)
    3. Warren-Blackwood (28.1%)
    4. Joondalup (26.8%)
    5. Rockingham (26.7%)
    6. Mandurah (26.7%)
    7. Albany (26.6%)
    8. Central Wheatbelt (26.4%)
    9. Cottesloe (25.7%)
    10. Vasse (24.9%)

    Broadly speaking, the majority of those seats are heavily Liberal/National-leaning, with a few exceptions (Joondalup [a marginal], Rockingham [McGowan’s seat], and Albany [a marginal with retiring Labor MP]).

    If it’s true that a disproportionate chunk of the swing to Labor is concentrated in the 65+ category, then that increases the odds that the Liberals end up with a very small number of seats (< 5), since we might be looking at a situation where an e.g. 8% statewide swing to Labor means 2% in Labor-leaning seats but 14% in Liberal seats.

    It does sound plausible especially when you consider that Labor is already at historic highs in some of these seats (e.g. getting the Liberal vote down to 17% in Armadale – how much further can it decline in a seat like that?).

  17. Tom the first and best says:
    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 7:47 pm
    https://www.pollbludger.net/2021/02/20/newspoll-68-32-to-labor-in-western-australia/#comment-3560123

    What you are effectively saying is the Greens should rubber stamp anything the ALP puts up (without favourable compromise), like they were bound by the ALP pledge rather than being a different political party, just because the ALP is bigger than them. That does not effective represent Green voters, nor would any party or independent who rubber stamped like that (for any party) be representing their voters.

    The No Windmills Party persistently misrepresent themselves to voters as a matter of daily life. They purport to be a Left-leaning/Labor-positive force, when in fact they ride shotgun for the LNP 24/7.

    The best thing for WA politics would be for the Greens to simply number themselves among all the other anti-Labor voices in the Council, where they actually belong. They have no special claims on Labor. They are simply another Labor-hostile clique.

  18. Briefly, so you’re aware. I live in John Carey’s seat and still haven’t made my mind up who’s getting my #1, out of him and the Greens. (I’ve voted for both in the past in state elections.) If it ends up being the Greens, it’ll be largely due to your unhinged rantings.

    How’s it gonna feel, going down to your next branch meeting, knowing you’re personally responsible for a Green vote?

  19. Er, as for politics. I just had a weird thought: Zak Kirkup will be the first Liberal from outside Perth to lead the Libs to an election since David Brand. Here we go…

    2005/08/13/17: Colin Barnett (Cottesloe)
    1993/96/2001: Richard Court (Nedlands)
    1989: Barry McKinnon (Murdoch / Jandakot)
    1986: Bill Hassell (Cottesloe)
    1983: Ray O’Connor (Mt Lawley)
    1974/77/80: Charles Court (Nedlands)
    1971 and earlier: David Brand (Greenough)

    So, that’s two elections in the last 50 years where the Liberal leader hasn’t been from either Nedlands or Cottesloe. Diversity, guys…

  20. Thanks for the numbers Ethan. It’ll make for a very interesting night. I think the Libs and Nats can book that Tarago now – assuming they can stand each other enough to share a vehicle.

  21. Of that top 10: the Nat seats should stay put, they’re bulletproof safe. Vasse and Cottesloe should also do so, even if they’re the only two the Libs are left with. Dawesville = gone, and Albany should be a Labor retain. Rockingham’s already safe enough… maybe McGowan will push his 2pp margin over 30%?

    Albany and Geraldton are two seats where I get a feeling the Nats could win. Albany because of Labor losing the vote magnet Peter Watson, and Geraldton because of Ian Blayney’s defection – if he knocks the Libs into third, their prefs go a lot more reliably to the Nats than the other way around. Labor still favourites in both, but I’ll be keeping an eye on them. (And Kalgoorlie of course: the incumbent Lib won with less than 30% last time, so anything could happen there.)

  22. Bird of paradox says:
    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 8:49 pm
    Briefly, so you’re aware. I live in John Carey’s seat and still haven’t made my mind up who’s getting my #1, out of him and the Greens. (I’ve voted for both in the past in state elections.) If it ends up being the Greens, it’ll be largely due to your unhinged rantings.

    How’s it gonna feel, going down to your next branch meeting, knowing you’re personally responsible for a Green vote?

    BoP….I say what I think, drawn from a long life of involvement in and observation of politics in WA. What I actually think is the Greens have done nothing but harm to Labor and therefore to the legitimate interests of working people.

    The Greens make hay with their sanctimonious criticisms of Labor. This should not pass uncontested. They are the latter day equivalents of every other schismatic group to have sheered away from Labor, and to have assisted the LNP to hold on to office.

    Labor have won from Opposition while split just once since 1917, and that was in 1972. 55 years passed between the Conscription Split and the election of Gough. 49 years have passed since then. Labor have to win from Opposition and have to win while split. Think about how steep is history’s climb for Labor.

    Ruminate on that while you decide whether to favour Labor with your vote, or whether to make it just that little bit easier for the LNP to hang on to power.

    Whichever way you vote, it will not be on my conscience but on yours.

  23. https://www.pollbludger.net/2021/02/20/newspoll-68-32-to-labor-in-western-australia/comment-page-1/#comment-3560518

    WA is not alone in that regard. All but one Victorian Liberal Leader, who has contested a general election, has come from a small band of inner-eastern seats: Kew (Hamer (1973, 1976 & 1979)), Malvern (Thompson (1982), Doyle (2002) and probably O`Brien (2022)) Burwood (Kennett (1985, 1988, 1992, 1996 and 1999)), Hawthorn (Baillieu (2006 & 2010)) and Bulleen* (Guy (2018)), since Bolte (Hampden) stepped down in 1972. Napthine in 2014 is the sole general election contesting exception, as he represented South West Coast as Premier and Portland in his period as opposition leader between Kennett and Doyle. Alan Brown, the other non-general election Liberal Leader (1989-1991), represented Gippsland West.

    * Bulleen is arguably not inner suburban seat but it is contiguous with the block of inner-eastern seats this comment discusses.

  24. Dawesville is is hardly “outside Perth” in my view.
    Sure it’s a distance from the GPO but it’s as suburban as where I live in Riverton.

  25. Slight correction on those figures: actually, Labor have won (from opposition) in 1924, 1933, 1953, 1971, 1983, 2001 and 2017. The 1983 election was not won by Hawke, but the 1953 one was.

    This quote

    Labor have won from Opposition while split just once since 1917

    reminds me of this comic:

    https://xkcd.com/2383/

  26. Bird of paradox says:
    Sunday, February 21, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    I was referring to Federal elections…quite obviously. Labor has a better record in WA than in Federal elections.

    My point remains. The Greens have done a great deal of harm to the Labor plurality in Federal contests. Australia would be a far, far better place of they were to dissolve themselves.

  27. N/Briefly

    Saying a vote for the Greens is a vote for the LNP is nonsense, everyone here knows that it is the choice of an individual to direct their preferences as they wish. In the case of Greens voters that is usually 80%+ directing preferences to Labor before LNP.

    I appreciate that many people will dislike or are skeptical of the Greens, but to call them a schism of Labor or to suggest they prevent Labor from winning is just not correct. Your average Green voter is not particularly impressed by either major party but generally prefers Labor. It cannot be compared to the DLP split which was a split on the right of Labor that moved a portion of ex-Labor voters to the Conservatives. Scapegoating the Greens might make you feel better where Labor loses elections, but they have absolutely no bearing on preventing Labor winning elections as will be shown at the upcoming WA election.

  28. Malcolm says:
    Monday, February 22, 2021 at 12:21 am
    N/Briefly

    Saying a vote for the Greens is a vote for the LNP is nonsense

    I do not allege that. I’m not an idiot. My point is that the Greens campaign against Labor 24/7, year in/year out. Their campaigns against Labor have helped destroy the Labor-positive plurality in Federal elections. They also drive voters away from Labor towards the LNP. The most egregious example of this can be seen in QLD in 2019.

    You might think the DLP and the Greens cannot compared. But my point is that schisms always hurt Labor. This was true following the Conscription Split. It was true following the split, led by Joe Lyons, a Labor Premier, during the Depression. The split of the 1950s had a similar effect. The Greens are just splitters. They are phobic, embittered scolds who despise Labor. Nothing more, nothing less. They are Groupers, defrocked.

    As long as the pro-Labor plurality is split the LNP will have an advantage. True story.

    Fortunately, 3rd-party voices are more or less irrelevant during covid and the Greens will have an almost imperceptible effect in the WA election. But they will be back, stirring up difficulties for Labor at the Federal election. That is just inevitable.

  29. Lucky you having John Carey as your local member. A committed, smart, compassionate and genuinely progressive local member, who has a great policy brain.

    I’m stuck with Bill Marmion in Nedlands.

  30. “You hurt your credibility when you added the last line.”

    No, it’s just the truth. The Greens do a fantastic job of preventing Labor from moving to the right when they have the balance of power.

    The Greens voted against Kevin Rudd’s CPRS, which would have been ineffective and locked in failure, then were able to negotiate the implementation of their Carbon Price/ETS policy during the Gillard Government. They did this not for political reasons but rather for environmental ones. The ETS which the Greens and Labor implemented was far more effective than the CPRS would have been. This is something that both parties should be proud of.

  31. “The problem with the Greens is they think the vote they get gives them the mandate to implement their policies. It doesn’t and it’s quite undemocratic that they have the power to pass, block, and amend legislation with only 10% of the vote.”

    Each individual elected representative has a mandate to pursue the platform that they were elected on.

  32. I am a former Labor member but also know some Greens. Regardless of whether the Greens cause Labor harm or good it is completely irrelevant to describe them as “splitters” or akin to the DLP. That is because most of the ones I know were never in Labor. A few are ex-Democrats. The younger couple have not been in another party.

    I know some in Labor love their history but when it becomes a distraction from dealing with current reality it needs to be parked. Talking ancient political history will only alienate younger voters, and there is little prospect of changing the minds of the older ones.

    IMO Labor has little chance of changing the nature of the Greens (for better or worse). Therefore the question must be: what can Labor do to make itself more appealing to (especially young/new) voters who might be considering the Greens as an option.

    In this respect, the WA State government has laid out a clear policy on issues like Climate CHange, and has stuck to implementing it. Great. Not surprisingly, their fist vote has soared, even though the Green vote has remained steady. I wish other States and Federal Labor would take note.
    https://www.wa.gov.au/service/environment/environment-information-services/western-australian-climate-change-policy

  33. Carps

    Bill Marmion is a classic example of one of the many problems facing the WA Libs: getting good candidates in safe seats.
    It goes back to the days of Pendal and Constable holding South Perth and Churchlands as independents.
    When they retired the Libs should have been looking for youngish candidates who would be a senior minister at least in the future government.
    I knew John McGrath long before he was an MP and as good a bloke as he is he was not going to be a senior minister.
    Barnett wanted Kate Lamont to replace Constable but was overruled and we have Sean l’strange. I wouldn’t know what he looked like.
    When Barnett was going in 2008 his nominated replacement was Deidre Willmott, a woman with a lot to offer it seems. She stood aside to allow Barnett to rise like Lazarus and it seemed only a matter of time before she would be in the Parliament. No. I believe she was being positioned for a casual Senate vacancy but was beaten by Chris Back. Chris who?
    When Barnett finally quit his replacement was late 50s David Honey. A man with an impressive CV but is he in Parliament for the long term?
    Marmion is in his mid 60s. Is he the future?
    Nalder was tagged a future leader before he was elected but the flame was extinguished very quickly and he’s taking his ball and going home.
    And when it comes to the crunch the only bloke with the guts to take on the leadership was 30-something babe in the political woods Kirkup.
    A party in disarray destined for another two terms in opposition.
    And the Goiran-Collier faction is happy.

  34. Carps: yes indeed. And we share a local pub, and he has a friendly dog. That’s why my vote is up for grabs.

    Socrates: That’s kinda me (just as a voter, I’ve never been a member of any party). Started out with the Democrats (the issue being Howard and Reith’s disgusting treatment of refugees), then when they imploded I had to pick one of the remaining three. Not the Libs, obviously (see above), and Labor were in the process of chewing through Crean and Latham. Greens it was, and until Labor drops their Keating-era policy of mandatory detention, Greens it shall likely remain.

    State-wise: I’ve voted #1 for Labor exactly once, Alannah MacTiernan when I lived down in Armadale. A transport minister who’d just been responsible for building the Mandurah line, and also rebuilding the grotty old Armadale station… why wouldn’t you? Then I moved to hipster-ville and found myself voting for her again as mayor of Vincent. Usually in state politics I put the Greens or any harmless-looking independents ahead of Labor. The only time I’ve ever put a conservative ahead of Labor was Janet Woollard in 2005 (excuse: it was to keep Graham Kierath out).

    So there.

  35. Arlene Machiavelli @ #37 Monday, February 22nd, 2021 – 4:37 am

    The Greens voted against Kevin Rudd’s CPRS, which would have been ineffective and locked in failure, then were able to negotiate the implementation of their Carbon Price/ETS policy during the Gillard Government. They did this not for political reasons but rather for environmental ones. The ETS which the Greens and Labor implemented was far more effective than the CPRS would have been. This is something that both parties should be proud of.

    And in doing that, they flirted with the laws of unintended consequences and we all ended up 14 and counting of worse than inaction – there is no realistic prospect of meaningful environmental action anytime soon in Australia.

    The Greens had the opportunity to take some progress – far less they and most Labor members wanted – some progress that would actually stick, and they chose to ignore it in favour of reaching for perfection. They are enemies of the environment.

  36. So true @rossmcg.

    The lack of talent in the WA Liberals is embarrassing. They lost so many of their leadership contenders last time around and given how ominous the polling was, not many of them seemed keen for a return bout this time around.

    The other problem is the branches being controlled by religious and conspiracy theory nutters. This ensures the pre selection of candidates who are most charitably described as weak but more accurately described as dangerous.

    I always thought a sensible pro business but relatively socially progressive (or perhaps more realistically, a non hard right Christian) Liberal leader would be most likely to cause problems for Labor. But as you pointed out, many of them were not pre-selected.

    Marmion doesn’t appear to be a member of the Christian Right but just isn’t all that good. Totally lacking charisma, not a particularly good local member and not really all that good on policy. How he’s managed to hold a safe seat as long as he has is beyond me.

  37. @grimace

    And in the alternative future where Kevin Rudd’s CPRS was legislated , the Liberal win in 2010 and remove it and we end up in the exact same situation.

  38. The current rot set in for the Libs back before Barnett was ever premier. Apart from the 2001 loss to Labor, they’d lost country seats to the OVOV redistribution, city seats to independents, and Katie Hodson-Thomas and Sue Walker to Buswell’s antics. After the 2008 election, they only had seven MPs who’d even been in parliament for the Court years, let alone ministers: Colin Barnett, Kim Hames, John Day and Rob Johnson (lower house), and Norman Moore, Barry House and Simon O’Brien (upper house). Hardly the sort of group you build a ministry around. (Moore was such an old codger he’d been in parliament with Charles Court!) No wonder they had to get Liz Constable to be education minister.

    Compare to Labor in 2017, who went into govt with eight MPs who’d been in parliament for the whole Gallop govt (McGowan, Roberts, Logan, Murray, Quigley, Quirk, Templeman, Watson), plus Wyatt and Papalia, just in the lower house – most went straight into the ministry. Another five in the upper house, including MacTiernan and Ellery – also ministers. 15 compared to 7, for a similar time out of government.

    By the Libs’ second term, they’d finally managed to get all the independent seats back, but meanwhile lost Buswell (to his own stupidity), Porter (to federal politics) and Johnson (… to being Rob Johnson). That’s why Barnett stayed on til the bitter end – there was just nobody to replace him. They spent almost nine years ducking and weaving from their own lack of talent and experience.

    Then they lost half of the class of 2008 (including Francis and Jacob) in the 2017 landslide, spent the last four years chewing through the only other two possible leaders, and now here we are. Even if 2021 turns out to be a repeat of 2017 instead of a complete extermination, 2025 will still be nightmarishly difficult for them.

  39. I know Colin Barnett wouldn’t leave because the two considered to replace him Liza Harvey and Dean Nalder there were doubts about. Harvey was inexperienced and Nalder had only been in politics for three years when he unsuccessfully challenged Barnett.

    Barnett wanted to groom Harvey and hand it over in his third term obviously it never happened.

    Harvey has shown she wasn’t capable after demanding WA borders should be open a week before victoria’s coronavirus outbreak. Its largely why the Liberals are in the predicament they are now.

  40. If the Liberals are all but wiped out, they’ll have a chance to wipe the slate clean and perhaps select a bunch of potential future leaders at the 2025 election in the seats you’d expect them to recover.

    On the other hand, they’ll also have a chance to complete the religious right takeover of the party, and put religious nutcases in everywhere, and leave it open for the ALP to run the state for the next 20 years.

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