Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Election in WA Sounds Death Knell for the PM

Newspaper article Fraser Coast Chronicle (Hervey Bay, Australia)

Election in WA Sounds Death Knell for the PM

Article excerpt

THE Liberals' catastrophic defeat in Western Australia should convince federal Liberals that Malcolm Turnbull really is finished.

If the Prime Minister lasts past May, it will be a miracle.

The swing against the WA government of Colin Barnett was a record 16% on primary votes, showing how unforgiving voters are now of politicians they think aren't delivering.

Sure, this state election was fought mostly on state issues. Barnett had outstayed his welcome after eight years, squandered the money from the mining boom, left his state buried in debt and now wanted to privatise state power stations.

And, yes, Turnbull stayed far away during the campaign, dropping in on Perth for just one visit that lasted less than a day. But that visit alone said so much to federal MPs desperately needing a leader who could campaign for their political lives.

Turnbull campaigned horribly in last year's federal election, nearly losing, and last month all but killed Barnett, too.

Turnbull had not been in WA since last August, when he'd promised to solve Barnett's biggest gripe - that WA was being screwed by the formula dividing the money raised by the GST between the states, getting back a pathetic 30%.

Barnett desperately needed more GST cash, if only to show he had a plan - or a scapegoat - and he was counting on Turnbull to back him.

Instead, Turnbull turned up in Perth last month with a big bag of nothing. He said WA would have to "wait a few years" before he did anything. If the other states agreed. Perhaps.

Barnett was visibly furious. He'd been made to look weak as well as broke.

Turnbull was flogged in the media and hasn't been back.

Forget the spin that Turnbull was actually helped by the WA result because Pauline Hanson was humbled and Turnbull's right-wing critics were put in their place.

That wishful thinking by leftist journalists centres on the claim the WA Liberals were tainted and smashed by their preference deal with Hanson's One Nation party.

In fact, the WA Liberals were in much the same desperate strife in the polls for the past year. The Liberals didn't crash because they preferenced One Nation - they preferenced One Nation because they'd crashed. …

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