Western Australian election minus one week

Highlights from the penultimate week of a campaign that has failed to catch the imagination.

The campaign continues to be light on for news, with no published polling since Newspoll a fortnight ago, a deadening of interest arising from the certainty of the outcome, and rape allegations in the federal sphere sucking up much of the news media oxygen. This week’s assembly of campaign highlights accordingly casts the net a little wider than it ordinarily might:

• Mark McGowan was reckoned to have presented the Liberals with their first real opportunity of the campaign on Tuesday, when he suggested COVID-19 border control measures might be extended beyond the end of the pandemic. McGowan soon scotched the notion that this might mean maintaining the GTG (“good to go”) passes that require interstate visitors to disclose personal details when visiting the state, but said police might remain stationed at border crossing points due to their positive side-effect of preventing importation of methamphetamine.

Joe Spagnolo of the Sunday Times reported last week on “long-running rumours” that Bill Marmion would make his seat of Nedlands available for Zak Kirkup if he lost his own marginal seat of Dawesville, which Kirkup denies. That assumes Nedlands, the party’s fifth safest seat, is not lost as well – which can’t be taken for granted if either Newspoll or second-hand accounts I’ve heard of Liberal internal polling are any guide, both suggesting the Liberal seat count could fall as low as four. Eliza Laschon of the ABC looks at the potential for the Liberals to lose their status as the official opposition and/or a parliamentary party.

• Joe Spagnolo offers a much rosier assessment for the Liberals in today’s Sunday Times, based on “the vibe I am getting from both Labor and Liberal camps”. Spagnolo suggests the Liberals will lose “three or four seats at worst”, with Hillarys and Riverton most likely to fall, Darling Range a “line-ball call” (though so apparently is Riverton), Labor-held Kingsley “an interesting one to watch”, and Zak Kirkup predicted to retain Dawesville.

• Low-level candidate issues continue to dog the Liberal Party campaign. The candidate for Collie-Preston, Jane Goff, has complained of Zak Kirkup’s failure to consult her over his keynote policy of closing Collie’s coal-fired power stations by 2025; and Jandakot candidate Mihael McCoy’s involvement with the Kings Chapel Church, which is run by his father, has tied him to viewpoints fully as extreme as those of the Republican Party and The Australian’s editorial page cartoonists. On the other side of the fence, an unidentified Labor candidate reportedly considered withdrawing over the dismissal of one of Deputy Premier Roger Cook’s electorate officers.

• The Sunday Times reports more than 210,000 pre-poll votes have been cast and 311,676 postal vote applications received, which compares with slightly more than 200,000 pre-polls and postals combined in 2017.

• You can hear my reading of the situation on last Tuesday’s edition of RTR-FM’s The Swing program here, starting at the 26:20 mark.

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.

53 comments on “Western Australian election minus one week”

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  1. William,

    My last word on you continuing to sledge me about Trump – who I always publicly stated was UnPresidential and had many failings – lots of people voted for Mark Latham to be PM for the ALP.

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