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.
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.