Natalie Mast writes in The Conversation (12.3.17) that the long-running and unpopular Barnett government has been ousted in the Western Australian state election, ushering in a new Labor government led by former navy lawyer Mark McGowan. The author suggests that, while One Nation's showing was less disruptive than expected, there are still implications for the major parties on the eastern side of the continent.
'Labor has won the 2017 Western Australian election in a landslide, sweeping aside the long-running Barnett government and installing Labor’s Mark McGowan as the state’s 30th premier.
'The ABC is predicting Labor will win 40 seats, doubling its current number of seats held and providing it with a clear majority. The Liberals look to have held only 14 of their 30 seats, while the Nationals appear to have held five of their seven lower house seats.
'... In terms of the WA election having federal implications for the Turnbull government, this really was an election determined by local issues.
'During the campaign Bill Shorten visited three times, while Malcolm Turnbull made only one fleeting visit, where he failed to deliver a plan to get WA a “fair” share of the GST. While it is generally not opportune for a national governing party to lose at state level, only internal mischief-makers would try to blame the loss on Turnbull’s leadership.
'The most significant issues that will resonate across the country will be the outcome of the preference deal with One Nation, and the ability of the Nationals to differentiate themselves so convincingly from the Liberals.'
Turnbull's refusal to rule out preferencing Hanson raises questions about the 'real Malcolm'
Michelle Grattan writes in The Conversation (12.3.17) that, despite the poor showing of One Nation in the Western Australian election, Pauline Hanson continues to shake the confidence of the Turnbull coalition government.
'For the national narrative, perhaps the most notable story out of the Western Australian election revolves around Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Turnbull.
'Despite the backlash from WA Liberal voters over the now-infamous preference deal the party did with her, Turnbull on Sunday wouldn’t rule out the Liberals playing footsie on preferences federally, deflecting questions by saying it was a matter for the party organisation.
'Turnbull surely must be uncomfortable with his line. This would seem to be yet another area where he is not being true to his personal values. It must add to the confusion of voters wondering about the “real Malcolm”.
'Hanson has come out of the WA election with her very ragged petticoats on display.'