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The Forum > Article Comments > Reviving a moribund WA Liberal Party > Comments

Reviving a moribund WA Liberal Party : Comments

By Bernie Masters, published 28/3/2006

Electing a new leader will not solve the WA Liberal Party's many problems.

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Bernie Masters has made a mistake to say that rural western Australia will lose 8 seats in 2007 the figure should be 6, 3 from the Agricultural region and 3 from the South West region. The metropolitan region will gain 8 as the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly will increase from 57 to 59. The Liberals will have to be careful what they put in pork barrel. No "Barnett Canals".And also the Gallop-Carpenter Government are now applying programs the were hatching in their first term.
Posted by Vioetbou, Tuesday, 28 March 2006 7:31:59 PM
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Bernie Masters was a good representative for his electorate. The way he was dumped was disgraceful and reflects poorly on Troy Buswell. Troy should have been prepared to contest a Labor or National held seat.

I like Colin Barnett as a person. We were neighbours years ago when we both lived in North Fremantle. I'm sure Colin knew I never voted for him, but that didn't affect our friendly relationship with one another. But when it came to the crunch, Colin didn't have what it takes to lead his party to victory.

Matt Birney came through as likeable, but could have used more common sense and tact. Like a school prefect given responsibility beyond his level of maturity. Maybe he was promoted too early in his parliamentary career.

Paul Omodai has two stripes against him. He represents an area which was largely dependent on logging. Traditional logging practices have destroyed so much of natural WA that they are on the nose to most West Aussies, regardless of their political persuasion. But naturally, Paul has had to speak up for the people of his electorate and this has the potential to make things difficult for him.

More importantly [for me at least], Paul said some years ago to the effect that it was appropriate for politicians to set moral standards. This is a dangerous way of thinking. Many of us resent being moralised at. We don't think that most politicians are capable of personifying moral standards. We have more than enough of being moralised at by Christian extremists, often with the covert backing of political so-called representatives.

How about Rob Johnson? He often comes through as quietly reasonable, but he also needs to be careful not to moralise. But at least he's not like that dreadful moralising Cheryl Edwardes, who I was very glad to see the back of.

So who in the WA Liberals has what it takes to resurrect the party and present a reasonable alternative to the present Labor govt?

If you feel like responding to my post, Bernie, I would be interested in your comments.
Posted by Rex, Thursday, 30 March 2006 1:56:54 PM
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We are lacking in believable governments, this is the reason why party membership is shrinking.
Instead of candidates we trust to really work for us ,we now have to toss between two parties who are so alike that we give them a turn each to be fair.
Liberals had a good turn but got complacent and ignored the people who put them in.
The Labor party taxes the life out of everyone then spends the wealth on monuments to itself while the sick are in ambulance queues for lack of hospital beds.
220 million for a sports stadium? No worries! millions more for a convention centre that is already going broke.No worries! A railway that is costing enough to become a nightmare.
The health minister says that the hospital waiting list is getting smaller, he quotes very rubbery figures.
It is time we had a new party we could trust, that will be the day.
Posted by mickijo, Friday, 31 March 2006 4:09:34 PM
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Thanks, Rex, for the positive comments you made about my 8 years in Parliament. I agree with your assessments of the other current or former Liberal MPs, but a few additional observations are warranted. Colin Barnett probably would have made a good leader if he had been prepared to have a larger team of people around him against whom he could have bounced policy ideas. He was always approachable while he was the leader of the opposition right up until the day the election was called, after which he seemed to then take advice only from 3 or 4 people whose electoral judgement had been shown by previous events to be wanting.

I'm most surprised by how Matt Birney turned out. While Colin was leader, Matt seemed to be largely disinterested and uninvolved in the continual rumours of a leadership challenge against Colin (most of which was derived from Dan Sullivan talking to Steve Pennells from The West). Matt once said to me that he wanted to become leader but he would never challenge as he believed party unity would be better served by having a leader elected unopposed, i.e., unanimously supported by all MPs (at least as seen by the public and the media). After the 2005 election, that's exactly how it panned out but, over the following months, Matt's ego took control and the criticism of him only taking advice from the same people that controlled Colin during the election campaign was valid. I think Matt still has the opportunity and the ability to come back as a leader after the 2009 election, but the ball's now in his court.

Paul Omodei is a likeable bloke, but I don't believe his support of logging will be an electoral problem. The 2001 election was won and lost on two issues: Doug Shave and the mortgage brokers scandal; and the Liberal Party's allocation of preferences against One Nation. I seriously doubt if the logging issue made much difference in deciding the outcome of that election.
Posted by Bernie Masters, Monday, 3 April 2006 10:37:45 AM
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