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Issue #1585      March 13, 2013

Western Australian Labor Party routed in state election

On Saturday March 9, it took less than one and half hours after the close of the polls in Western Australia for the Liberal party to acquire the 30 seats in the Legislative Assembly to govern in their own night. The Australian Labor Party is set to win 18-19 seats and the Nationals 6-7 seats.

Unions WA conducted a public sector Save our Services campaign with the slogan “Colin Barnett Bad Decisions Wrong Priorities” and the Liberal Party brought out a much more lavishly funded campaign which said that Colin Barnett was the opposite and they turned the Unions WA campaign on its head.

However, the Premier Colin Barnett indicated in his victory speech on the night that the victory was a great one for the Liberals and Nationals indicating initially he would be forming a government of both parties. This may have more than a little to do with the Nationals retaining up to seven seats in a majority of the regional seats in the state-including the National Party leader Brendan Grylls who decided to contest the Pilbara seat on the strength of his Royalties for Regions program.

There was a 9% swing towards the Liberals in which they gained seven seats while there was a swing against Labor of 2.3%. The Greens suffered a swing of 4% against them and this was most noticeably felt in the voting for representation in the Legislative Council, where they acquired only two seats; sitting member Alison Xamon of East Metropolitan and Cameron Poustie who ran in the North Metropolitan seat. The most senior and experienced Greens, Giz Watson, took the bold gamble of running for the Upper House seat in the South West and narrowly lost that contest to the Nationals candidate. The Liberals/Nationals are tipped to win 21 seats in the Upper House and the ALP 11 with the Shooters and Fishers and Family First tipped to take one seat each.

Progressive politics in WA has taken a significant step backwards in this election while big money has delivered a slick and powerful electoral victory, like the landslide victories which have occurred in recent times in Queensland and NSW. Those campaigns delivered governments that do the bidding of the forces which paid for the campaigns to deliver on the policies they want. That is privatisation and sale of state assets.

Labor punters in working class seats have indicated that while they were prepared to vote for Labor in the state election they would vote against Julia Gillard in the federal election in September.

The union movement which ran an anti-privatisation campaign also learned that their Save our Services campaign had little or no effect on election day.

Now that the Liberals have won we can expect to see a giant sports stadium to be built at Burswood, a pond on the Perth foreshore at Elizabeth Quay, more freeways and overpasses and no Metronet to ease traffic congestion in metropolitan Perth. Gas and electricity prices will continue to soar, GM crops will continue to grow and invade the non-GM crops of farmers, uranium mining will continue, gas fracking will be open slather while the holy cow of the resources sector will continue to be favoured or fettered.

We can raise our voices and take to the streets to protest, send letters and otherwise contact our local representatives for a sustainable and productive future for all Western Australians.   

Next article – No science to support recreational hunting

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