Local Govt Councillors who are also ALP State Election CandidatesKaren SteeleCity of Bunbury ...
It's time for political transparency in Local Government
Local Govt Councillors who are also ALP State Election CandidatesKaren SteeleCity of Bunbury ...
Tibor Meszaros: “What motivates Colin Barnett?”Kevin Morgan: “Well, look, Colin Barnett was the architect of the splitting up of the old City of Perth. And…”Tibor Meszaros: “When was that?”Kevin Morgan: “Oh, that was in the early to mid 90’s and in the mid to late 80’s, Colin as the then worker for the business lobby group had put forward a proposal to split the city of Perth in order to ensure that the pro-Liberal candidates in the CBD were no longer outnumbered by their Labor Councillors in the suburbs. And he did this by basically making the CBD a Council in its own right as the City of Perth and his plan hived off the suburban parts of the old City of Perth into new Councils such as Victoria Park, Vincent, Cambridge etc.”
Thank you for your continued analysis of WA politics. We really like the way you tell the truth, which brings me to why I’m writing.
I am involved with an organisation [anonymised: ed.] that was contacted by a journalist at the West Australian several months ago asking for an official comment in response to a new policy that the Government was apparently going to announce within days. The journalist provided only the bare minimum of information but said the Minister for Energy was going to announce a new, reduced electricity tariff for low income households.
A formal, “on the record” response in support of the new policy was provided to the journalist within the time requested but the announcement never came...
“I struggled with the decision whether or not to comment on this post because what I am about to say will hurt the party I work for. But I decided at the end of the day, the truth needs to get out there at any cost.
I'll be frank and say the decision to axe Rob Johnson was a huge political mistake and may cost the Liberals the 2013 election. For numerous reasons, some obvious only to party insiders. But I'll make the following key points.
1. The Emperor, as he is now called by the party faithful, did not inform the Liberal party of his decision to dump Rob. Liberal Party HQ found out through the media. Yep, good ol' Colin holds the party in such high regard that we had to find out AFTER he had told the media pack of his plans to basically hand election victory to Labor. A further kick in the guts after the whole Kate Lamont shemozzle.
2. IF the Emperor had bothered to inform HQ of his decision to get rid of Johnson, we would have advised to do so would be political suicide, given that internal party polling clearly indicates that Johnson has wide community support and his tough law and order stance is keenly shared by the majority of the public. They know who he is, they know what he stands for and they like it. Any criticism shown to him by the media or Opposition doesn't stick, in fact, our polling showed that it actually increased his popularity. It is widely accepted that he largely contributed to our 2008 election victory and was streets ahead of Michelle Roberts and the Labor party in selling the law and order agenda ahead of next year's election. Colin has basically thrown that advantage out the window. With no thought. No consultation. No regard for party polling.
I'll make the point that politics did play a role in the decision to install Murray Cowper as a Minister.
Yes, the decision that had EVERYONE scratching their heads in utter disbelief and wondering if Cowper had undergone a brain transplant overnight. The truth is, Cowper threatened to go independent before the election if he wasn't given a Ministerial position. Whether he would have had the funds to do so will never be known because the Premier fell for his bluff and handed him a plum Ministerial job.
To all of the Labor hacks reading this, congratulations, you will probably be finding yourselves enjoying the luxury of Hale House come next March due to last week's incredibly foolish Cabinet reshuffle. “Wow. We will talk some more about the appalling way Rob Johnson (and evidently the rest of the Party) was treated in another part of the series, but the bit about Murray Cowper speaks volumes.
Something big shifted in Western Australian politics last week. Troy Buswell came back.
It was quietly reported that the Premier has asked Housing and Transport Minister Troy Buswell to re-join the EERC – the Economic and Expenditure Reform Committee. This group of senior Ministers meets regularly to scrutinise and evaluate proposals from their Ministerial colleagues. Basically, if someone wants to spend the State’s money, the responsible Minister has to make their case to the EERC.
And it’s not always a cordial affair. The meetings are often brutally open and frank in debate about the benefits of each proposal – economically and of higher priority to this group, politically. Ministers who don’t have the skills to sell their idea to their senior colleagues or bring forward a proposal that simply costs more than the EERC believes the State can afford, often leave empty handed.
Although the room also contains several advisers who play a significant part in the final decision, the meetings are typically chaired by the Treasurer who first asks the Minister to brief the meeting on the proposal. After the short introduction from the Minister or their Departmental Head, the Treasurer and his senior Cabinet colleagues ask clarifying questions. With the mix of personalities and intellect at the table ranging from cool, wise heads like Norman Moore, quiet contemplators such as John Day and ferociously barking attack dogs like Simon O’Brien and Brendan Grylls, chairing the meeting to deliver an outcome is no mean feat.
Which brings me to the big shift.
It is widely acknowledged that for a lawyer, Christian Porter is doing a great job of managing the State’s finances. Indeed, having sat through a number of fierce EERC meetings, Porter’s prosecutorial background equips him with an incredibly valuable skill for the Treasury portfolio – the ability to ask the right questions to quickly get to the crux of the issue.
So if the Treasurer is doing well, why would the Premier bring Buswell back to the EERC and risk it looking like a vote of no confidence in Christian Porter?
I propose two plausible reasons:
1. There will soon be a vacancy on EERC and the Premier is ensuring a hand-over
Given that the Premier confirmed Norman Moore expressed interest in the job of Agent General and then publicly defended the possibility of it happening, it is likely that the Premier is just ensuring EERC is fully staffed if Minister Moore departs in December.
The downside of this move is that Buswell’s presence on the EERC could cause tension between him and the real Treasurer – it’s always difficult to put aside anger and envy when you’re expected to work as part of a sled team that you used to lead.
2. December’s “minor” reshuffle will see more than just Troy Buswell back as Treasurer.
This makes sense on one level - Buswell is a standout in terms of intellect and political nous – exactly the kind of guy you would want defending the State’s economy in the lead up to the 2013 election. However, this is only sellable if Christian Porter is willing to say he isn’t enjoying being the Treasurer or moving on to something bigger and better. For those with ambition in politics, there’s only one job more coveted than that of Treasurer – you guessed it, the Premier.
As Premier, Colin Barnett is notorious for holding his cards very close to his chest so the public will know anything about his retirement plans until the day he enacts them. However, as unlikely as many say it is, it’s definitely plausible that he won’t be Premier at the next election.
Personally, the Premier turned 60 last year and after 21 years in the Parliament and 3 as Premier, he has a sizeable superannuation and good health that would allow him and his family to enjoy it. Professionally, he brought the Western Australian Liberal Party back from oblivion on the eve of the last election and has since stood strong and proud as the only Liberal Premier in more than his fair share of COAG meetings. Among an impressive list of his achievements in his 38 months as Premier, Colin Barnett brought the Queen to Perth, secured funding for the Stadium, started work on the foreshore redevelopment, sent more money to the bush than ever before and oversaw the beginning of construction of the Fiona Stanley Hospital.
Other than bringing water from the north, he has ticked a number of extraordinary boxes on any ordinary man’s bucket list – what else could he want in life? Perhaps a happy retirement on the porch of his Toodyay property reading about everyone dealing with what will be a difficult election in just over 12 month’s time.
Whatever the Premier’s rationale, the reinstatement of Troy Buswell to the EERC signals the beginning of a significant change to the Western Australian political landscape.
Watch this space.
(19/11/2011)Colin Barnett hates the way the West Australian newspaper has given him the unofficial title of “Emperor” but the fact is he plots, plans and executes in a way that would have embarrassed many actual Emperors of the past.
Don’t underestimate the value of that - there’s been a lot of vitriolic “spit on your grave, good riddance” kind of comment out there since Thursday, but this man learned that he was soon to be publicly humiliated, held it together and got on with his job. Would you be willing or able to do that?
“As far as chiefs of staff are concerned, I was very sorry to see Colin and Blair go; they went on to other things. Darren moved on to something else” [Yes, a reluctant stay-at-home Dad]
“I have had only one change in media officers… she was fantastic but she wanted something a little quieter” [Outright lie, she was effectively dismissed]I promise I’ll do that research very soon - if the Opposition doesn’t get to it first - but my baby needs to be fed and I can’t end without mentioning the reason the Minister was referred to as “slippery Pete” long before the Federal Speaker fiasco arose – and the serious image problem it causes for the Government.
“It should require all Government departments and agencies to publish details of their operations and the processes they use in making decisions. By granting citizens access to Government documents, freedom of information legislation aims to increase the citizens’ powers over the power of the State and it lessens the State’s claim to secrecy. As such, it is one of the instruments of accountability.”Of course, we now have FOI legislation but rather than it empowering those hoping to better understand Government process, Minister Constable’s Government has form in using the process to do quite the opposite (eg. Secrecy claim over Govt staff payouts)
“This campaign bugs me. Do you really have to campaign on negativity and cheap statements? :( #wapol “I’m very sure it was a genuine question and not a strategic attack from an anti-Labor campaigner. Regardless, it led to a good, robust conversation that attracted input from the ALP State Secretary, two Members of the Upper House and a couple of others including social commentator and aspiring politician, @troutish and myself (@_darren_brown_).
"I think Kate Lamont was clearly the outstanding candidate in that field, some good candidates, but Kate Lamont should have been selected... The people of Churchlands, it’s the adjoining electorate to mine. They are basically Liberal voters. And they have an expectation that the Liberal Party will deliver the highest quality candidate they can into that electorate. And I don’t know that we’ve done that”Instead of apologising to the candidate to whom he gave false hope and standing up to the outgoing Member, he attacks everyone else. He’s a knowledgeable man, but doesn’t seem to predict human behaviour very well.
i caught you on 720ABC in the afternoon talking about liz constable and her replacement (you and peter kennedy would be a great state politics double act). anyway, with christian porter leaving, will a backbencher get 9 months to show some promise or not? when liz constable goes and assuming barnett wins again at the state election, does the "new member" who may or may not be delivered by parachute get a free ride into cabinet, or again does barnett trust a backbencher? if he continually overlooks the elected members doesn't this just reinforce the opinion that there is no talent, or is it just barnett's "incompetence as leader" at work again?My response:
“My view? Staggering indifference. Had he stayed we'd still have a serious lack of depth problem. John Tonkin & maybe Sir Charles Court were probably our last real statesmen, not sure we have any great legislators at present.”This is sad partly because it shows the level of cynicism the public maintain toward our Parliament but mostly because it is just so ill-informed.