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WA election: Barnett and the Liberals do it easy

Cook, I. (2013) WA election: Barnett and the Liberals do it easy. The Conversation, 10 March 2013 .

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Nobody thought that Labor would form government in Western Australia after the 2013 election.

And with the current seat count at 30 for Colin Barnett’s Liberals, 18 for Labor and 6 for the Nationals, it is very clear they have not.

Most pundits believed that the Liberals would win the 30 seats they needed to govern without the support of the Nationals. But many observers also felt that Labor opposition leader Mark McGowan had shown enough during the campaign - and Colin Barnett sufficiently underperformed - to produce a closer result.

They Liberals ran a good, but not great, campaign. Colin Barnett has never been a particularly effective public performer. He’s not quick enough on his feet in interviews and lacks the passion and rhetorical skill of a powerful orator. But he was even less impressive during this campaign than I’d expected. I understand why one of his minders phoned The West Australian and put the Premier on the line to deny rumours that he was ill or tired.

But Barnett wisely played to his strengths: an ability to put himself at the centre of a pro-development, big infrastructure government that would fight for WA against the wildly unpopular Gillard government. He was, at best, solid and his Liberal colleagues well muzzled - none going “off message.”

Publication Type: Non-refereed Article
Publisher: The Conversation Media Group
Copyright: The Author
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