Election Reform

Published on Friday, 17 September 2021 at 2:36:00 PM

There is a feeling of helplessness about standing up to the State Government’s first real abuse of the massive power it accumulated at the last election.

The voters of WA rewarded the Premier Mark McGowan for keeping them and their loved ones safe. That included regional voters who put their faith in a Premier who not only made our State the safest place on the planet, but he turned our economy around to be the envy of the rest of Australia.

There was no indication in the lead up to the election – not one suggestion – of major electoral changes, yet suddenly we have lost three country electorates -  Mining and Pastoral, Agriculture and the South West.

The spin put on this draconian change is that WA is following the same path as voting in the Senate, but what the government fails to say is that in the Senate the smaller population states, like WA, still have the same number of Senators as those states with larger populations, and that is what we currently have in the WA Upper House.

If Mark McGowan is so keen to adopt a one-vote one-value here, then I call on him to ask the Commonwealth to do the same in the Senate which would see WA’s representation drop from 12 to seven.

He won’t do that and the other smaller states – Tasmania and South Australia – won’t support such a change.

The Senate was set up this way to protect the smaller states and that is the same model we have here in WA, so to say we are following the Senate is totally misleading.

It has been suggested that candidates in the Upper House can have their offices in regional towns like Kalgoorlie-Boulder.

My response is that we will eventually get the same number as the number of Senate offices in regional WA – none.

As Mayor,I have demanded that MLC offices be in the electorate, and in the last four years, we had Kyle McGinn (Labor) in Kalgoorlie and Robin Scott (One Nation) in Boulder.

Both members did a lot of work looking after constituents and being a conduit for local government to meet and work with State Ministers.

I’m afraid that over time, we will lose these offices and like the Senators, they will gravitate to Perth, although I’m sure there will be countless promises of the opposite in coming weeks.

I hope I’m wrong and that successful candidates do establish offices in Kalgoorlie-Boulder but based on the experience with Senators over many decades, they will all gravitate to Perth.

If the Labor Government is going to be true to its past then it should abolish the Upper House because in its new format it will be an expensive rubber stamp. Worse still, if the ‘crazy’ single-issue parties get control, they will delay good legislation and cause chaos.

Wednesday was a black day for all of Western Australia; more so for those in the regions.

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