The West Australian Labor Party has set the tone to use its success against COVID-19 to boost the federal party’s chances in the upcoming election campaign.
Most important points:
- Mark McGowan used his speech to praise WA’s COVID response
- He said WA was a “success story rarely replicated” in the world
- Labor prepares to fight for several fringe federal seats
Prime Minister Mark McGowan used part of his keynote speech at the Labor state conference to celebrate “the most remarkable elections in the history of our country”, referring to the party’s landslide victory in the state elections in March.
He attributed the result – with only two Liberal MPs returning to the lower house of the WA parliament – to the way Labor handled the pandemic.
“It’s because we stood up for the health of Western Australians,” said Mr McGowan.
“We’ve fought for Western Australians, we’ve never given up on Western Australians.
The Prime Minister’s handling of the pandemic often conflicts with Commonwealth reports, including yesterday on the topic of international travel.
“Don’t do it unless you want to spend a long time in Paris, or if you want to spend time in New South Wales,” McGowan said after the prime minister’s meeting. announced international travel will resume in November.
“Western Australia will open up internationally at some point – it’s probably just a months difference between us and other states,” the Prime Minister said.
Labor eyes marginal seats
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not yet set a date for the federal poll, although it has expected to be held some time before May.
The Liberals are likely to face an uphill battle in Western Australia, with Labor eyeing Pearce and Swan’s seats.
In the 2019 election, Christian Porter’s Pearce seat went from marginal to 7.5 percent.
Two weeks ago, Mr. Porter left the federal government’s front bench after refusing to name the people who contributed to a blind trust to pay some of his legal bills in a terminated defamation lawsuit against the ABC.
Swan’s seat may also be within reach after veteran Steve Irons announced last weekend that he would be retiring in the election.
Sky News commentator Kristy McSweeney has been preselected by the party to take his place.
The situation has also been complicated by the abolition of Stirling’s seat, currently held by Liberal Vince Connelly, who lost a pre-selection challenge at Moore’s nearby seat last week.
‘A success story is rarely repeated’
During his speech, Mr McGowan often praised the management of COVID-19 in Western Australia, with the state avoiding any significant spread of the virus in the community.
“Truly, ours is a success story rarely repeated anywhere in the world,” he said.
Mr McGowan also highlighted the total number of infections in the state since the start of the pandemic, which currently stands at 1,096.
“That’s a total that New South Wales and Victoria have unfortunately exceeded many times over, literally on a daily basis,” he said.
“In addition, we stopped Clive Palmer,” he told the crowd to cheers and applause.
Mr McGowan said Western Australia’s success in remaining COVID-free was due to the government’s partnership with the community.
“I was determined that my government would act quickly, clearly, with confidence and clarity,” he said.
“We knew that if we acted quickly and communicated our approach to Western Australians, the community would go with us.
“The only way to crush and kill this virus is together.”
Another key point in the campaign for Western Australians to vote in the federal poll is the state’s share of GST revenue.
After years of sending billions of dollars from Western Australia to other states, the federal government has set a minimum of at least 70 cents for every dollar returned to the state.
However, after Western Australia recorded a surplus of more than $5.6 billion in its recent state budget, Mr McGowan had pointed out that other states might try to break that deal.
The issue is expected to be discussed when federal Labor leader Anthony Albanian appears at the conference via video link on Sunday.
Premier’s pitch to ‘mainstream’
The prime minister referred to the Labor Party’s roots and strong ties to the union movement, but suggested its future success would be to become a ‘mainstream’ party.
“We have to be in government to do good things,” he said.
“We are a mainstream, progressive party designed to be in government, designed to reform, designed to create jobs.
“We will continue to do so during this term and hopefully beyond.”
He said the government’s actions during the pandemic had demonstrated its ability to rule the state.
“Social Democratic parties around the world have been experiencing difficulties,” he said.
“You have to be mainstream, be a governing party and make tough decisions.
“Honestly, it takes some dexterity, thinking about the consequences of what you want to do.”