by Jon Davidson
Concerns over the likelihood of WA voting for a third term of Liberal-National coalition government next March have prompted the National Party to suffer a mini leadership challenge already. This arguably is for good reason, because at this point it’s kinda hard to find a group of people the Colin Barnett government hasn’t pissed off in some way or other over the last 8 years. We’re definitely not the exception.
Leader of the National Party Terry Redman is being challenged for his role by fellow National member Brendon Grylls, whom has gone public to the media citing fears that the poor reputation of Colin Barnett will hamper the success of the Liberal-National Party winning in the March 2017 election.
Grylls also used the media time to get his own key policy out there, which is putting a big tax on mining companies in WA, which is maybe the biggest thing, ideologically, that’s happened in the often silent and private world of WA Conservative politics since 2008. Whether or not this is just a bunch of pre-election buttering up or not (it totally is), any kind of haphazard attempt to actually impose a tax on a mining company would be in stark comparison to our current leadership, these blossomed cherubs of the ‘boomtown’ narrative.
Next year’s state election is taking place in March, and it is set to be both a very public election and a period of much divided opinion. It is without a doubt true that Colin Barnett, and the whole West Australian LNP, have picked up their fair share of critics and controversies in the last eight years, including but not limited to
- the undisclosed and rarely discussed slow-burning decimation of WA Aboriginal Heritage Register listings,
- the still ongoing Perth Freight Link debacle, the plans of which have still not yet been finalised while press attention charges ahead,
- the rise of West Australia’s debt,
- the mismanagement of West Australian housing prices and trends,
- ongoing contamination of The Swan River, especially in those areas close to the CBD,
- the signing-off on a number of high-volume contracts to the loss of the state, including Fiona Stanley Hospital, West Australian shipbuilding contracts, the shark cull fiasco, the new Children’s hospital (asbestos warts and all),
- mismanagement of West Australian water reserves and related bodies,
- the Lisa Scaffidi issue,
- the Troy Buswell drunk driving scandal,
- Deputy Clerk of the Legislative Council arrested wearing a black balaclava with a baseball bat near another minister’s home,
- a lack of effort shown in addressing inflation and rise in the West Australian cost of living all throughout ‘the mining boom’ and today, and,
- a complete drop in the accountability and transparency of government departments since 2008 both in official and informal practice.
Don’t get me wrong, Labor haven’t been perfect either, but current inner-party tension reflects an organisation that knows full well it might have some convincing to do, if WA – a traditionally Labor seat – is taking to the polls in March.