Mark McGowan resigns

Australia’s most popular political leader unexpectedly calls it a day.

Tuesday update

Roger Cook, who has served as Labor’s deputy leader ever since he first entered parliament in 2008, and as Deputy Premier since the government came to power in 2017, has emerged from a day of factional manoeuvring as the winner by acclamation of the party room. This was despite the parliamentary membership of the sub-faction associated with the United Workers Union, which dominates the Left and claims Cook among its number, voting 17 to 11 yesterday to favour the alternative claim of Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson. However, Cook was then able to gain the support of the other major Left union, the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union, after entering a unity ticket with Rita Saffioti, who abandoned her own pitch for the leadership in a deal that will secure her the deputy leadership and, The West Australian reports, the Treasury portfolio. The Right faction will reportedly complete the formality of backing Cook at a meeting tomorrow. A contested race would have required a ballot of the membership, which the party hierarchy was keen to avoid as it would have taken four weeks to conduct.

Original post

Mark McGowan has announced his unexpected departure from politics, having been Premier of Western Australia since 2017 and led Labor to what was by some distance the most sweeping election victory ever recorded in Australia in 2021, professing himself “exhausted”. As well as a initiating a by-election in his seat of Rockingham, which should be purely a formality for Labor, it also leaves open the question of the next Premier – The West Australian reports this “will either be Deputy Premier Roger Cook or Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson”.

UPDATE: The West Australian has a piece on potential successors that further includes Transport and Planning Minister Rita Saffioti, who I would have assumed to be a contender.

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.

108 comments on “Mark McGowan resigns”

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  1. so are united workers the most powerful factionthey backed sanderson but then the amwu and right backed cook and she pulled out despite claiming she had the nhumbers

  2. Will safeoti replace cook she wasthe economicks advisor to both gallop and carpinter and became chief of staff to carpinter when premier

  3. Can any wa bludgers explain how dave kelley went from the head of united workersthen voice union to only becoming a junier minister and leaving cabenit with little to show for it maybi he was better as a faction bos

  4. “Can any wa bludgers explain how dave kelley went from the head of united workersthen voice union to only becoming a junier minister and leaving cabenit with little to show for it maybi he was better as a faction bos”

    I think his major life achievement was getting rid of Martin Whitely. Even that might have been failing up.

  5. I obviously have no inside information. But you might speculate that Sanderson didn’t have the numbers in Caucus, or even in the Left faction overall and she needed that level of support give the Right was supporting Cook. Also, she may have struggled in any ballot of rank and file members (would not have the profile and local networks of Cook). As such unless she had overwhelming support in the UWU (and 17 votes to 11 was fairly close) there wasn’t really the proverbial path to victory given the stance of the rest of the Left and Right factions, plus her own newness.

    It all happened very quickly which suggests it might have been an attempted move by parts of the UWU to establish momentum to overcome an inherent minority position, which didn’t succeed. Maybe the story will come out over the weekend.

  6. so dave kelley must have lost power in the uwu he did not have enough numbers to remain in cabenit wherebill johnstgon got to resign despite not likeing him

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