WA Premier Mark McGowan has poured cold water over suggestions there was any ‘McGowan effect’ which led to the Labor Party’s Federal Election win over the weekend.
Labor picked up four seats in WA with double-digit swings across a number of electorates.
“I’m not claiming any credit for their victory. It’s their victory they achieved, and they deserve all the credit,” he told reporters on Monday morning.
“I think the Australian public is very mainstream … they just want to have good jobs, good social services, a protected environment.
“They want to make sure no one’s left behind, make sure that we have law reforms that protect the rights and interests of people, particularly those most vulnerable.”
Where the Libs went wrong in WA…
Mr McGowan said he believed the coalition government’s stoush with WA over border closures at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was a “big factor” in the election result in the west.
In particular, he singled out the commonwealth’s decision to intervene in support of mining magnate Clive Palmer’s court challenge of the border rules.
“It was a terrible decision. It was bad for health, it was bad for the economy and it was stupid,” the premier said.
“The optics and frankly the decision to join with Clive Palmer….what were they thinking?
“Western Australians have good memories. They know that the border (closure) saved lives and saved countless jobs and that the Liberal Party was trying to bring it down.
“It was a terrible look. It was just the wrong decision.”
Mr McGowan said it was good that no one from the United Australia Party was elected.
“I saw their actions on the polling booths. I saw how the Palmer people behave,” he said.
“They’re misfits and losers and they scream and yell at voters. They shove things in people’s faces.
“They are offensive and rude people, and I’m glad that Australians haven’t supported them.”
Dutton as Liberal leader?
McGowan absolutely went to town on Peter Dutton amid speculation he’s up for leader of the Liberal Party.
“He’s an extremist and I don’t think he fits with modern Australia at all,” he deadpanned.
“He doesn’t seem to listen, he’s extremely conservative. I actually don’t think he’s that smart.
“I’ve seen him present on things. I don’t really pick up there’s much there, as opposed to Scott Morrison.”
McGowan continued to say that the Liberal Party was controlled by “extremists factional powerbrokers” and did not have very talented people in the parliament.
“They don’t appeal to the mainstream. They’re out on the fringe,” he said.
“They’re more inclined to pursue their own hobbyhorses rather than listen to what the public wants. And I think that reflects in the voting.
“I actually don’t think they’re fit for government, certainly at a state level, for a long time to come.”
McGowan said it would be good for WA to have more MPs on the government side in the new parliament and that should also be reflected in the ministry.
“I do think they need to have strong representation from Western Australia,” he said.
“There’s lots of ambition and there’s lots of talented people and not everyone who wants a role can get it. That’s the reality.”
“I just urge them to have strong representation from WA.”
Labor remains on track to pick up the seats of Hasluck, Pearce, Swan and Tangney and remains in the hunt to win Moore after Saturday’s poll.
That could give the party nine or possibly 10 representatives from WA in the new parliament, something the premier said would ensure the state’s interests were heard.
He said he planned to press the incoming government on a range of issues, including more support for remote indigenous communities and the state’s stressed health system.
He also hoped to engage more constructively with the commonwealth on proposals for a new port.
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