On Saturday 6 September, Western Australian voters went to the polls, recording a swing of 6% against the incumbent Carpenter government.
As a result, in the Legislative Assembly, Labor now holds 28 seats, the Liberals 24, the Nationals 4 and 3 Independents.
The WA Liberals have secured a deal with the WA Nationals to form a minority government in the state’s hung parliament. The Liberal leader, Colin Barnett, is Western Australia’s new Premier.
The new coalition government of Liberal, National and three independents has given Western Australia a government of 31 seats – just one more than the bare minimum of 30 needed to hold power in the state’s 59-seat Legislative Assembly.
In a week of bargaining with both Colin Barnett and Alan Carpenter, the National Party said it would support the side that offered the most comprehensive plan to spend 25% of the state's annual mining royalties in rural regions on top of existing outlays.
The National’s leader, Brendan Grylls, said the decision to support the Liberals was not unanimous and reiterated the Nationals will not be in a traditional coalition with the Liberals.
Grylls maintains the Nationals will remain independent and will refuse to vote in cabinet on issues they don’t agree with, as well as speak out publicly on matters they don’t support.
Western Australia’s new Premier, Colin Barnett, faces a number of challenges which could potentially impact on the stability of his government, including:
- From its 31 members, the government provides the Speaker for the House – which reduces its number on the benches to 30.
- Of the 31 new coalition members, three are independents.
- Of the independents, Janet Woollard and Liz Constable are solidly in the conservative camp.
- John Bowler, a sacked Labor minister turned independent, has said he will vote with the Nationals because of his country roots. Bowler is also awaiting the outcome of a CCC investigation in the near future.
Former Premier Alan Carpenter has resigned and is replaced as leader of the Opposition by former Treasurer Eric Ripper.
The Liberal’s win brings to an end a run of 17 electoral defeats for state Liberal parties in the past 10 years.
|Janet Woollard||Alfred Cove|
Votes for the Legislative Council are still being counted and therefore the final distribution of seats is not yet known. Predicted results are as below: