It wasn’t that long ago that a Western Australian landslide win — for the Liberals — was called at just 8.40 pm local time, much to the joy of poll watchers in the Eastern States.
Last night Labor triumph was called at 6.34. That’s right. Counting of pre-polls began immediately after voting ended at 6.00 pm and pointed so overwhelmingly in one direction the result was clear in half an hour.
On current counting Mark McGowan is expected to win 53 seats, the Liberals 3 and the Nationals four. Liberal leader Zak Kirkup is among those who have lost seats.
So, some questions. Who’s going to be the official opposition; the Left or Right of the Labor Party — or those likely oncers who won blue-ribbon Liberal seats and are only likely to be there for one short term. Never underestimate the power of that group. They’re often unsuited to the job, ill-disciplined and susceptible to the delusion that a great feature awaits them if only they can hold their seat. They are, in short, a massive distraction for leaders.
Another question. After just one term in parliament, will the just-34 Zal Kirkup have enough parliamentary super for the mental health break he no doubt now needs? It’s not as if he will be able to travel to any cheap overseas destination for his R&R and he’ll be wary of leaving the state, given how East German his vanquisher tends to be about borders.
Now for the observations. As Bob Hawke said, if you can’t govern yourselves, you can’t govern the country. Nuff said.
Then there’s the old Ronald Reagan maxim, “Dance with the one the brung you.” By steering to the left and chasing the Liberals for Forests demographic about 20 years after Liberals for Forests disappeared, Kirkup deserted the diehards, the only voters and supporters he still had, and looked like an opportunist. That should be clear too.
However, this is a disaster unlike any we’ve seen in the country before, an utter disaster and disgrace for the Western Australian Liberals.
It is hard to imagine how they even begin to build back.
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