The weekend state elections in West Australia are astonishing. On top of nearly a 13% two party swing swing for Labour in 2017, there appears to have been about a 17% swing to Labour in the weekend election in preliminary results.
In 59 seat lower house, this has left the Liberals with 2 seats with one other still in contention – they have dropped 11 seats. The Nationals with 3, dropping 2, and currently the opposition party. Labour look to have grown by 10 or more seats.
In the upper house, it looks like Labour have 23 of 36 seats. They probably giving them outright control over both houses.
Reading through the analysis of the inevitable blame game of the Liberals post-election, it appears that an array of former WA Liberal leaders aren’t exactly happy with the result. The young election Lib leader, Zak Kirkup, was catapulted into place just 16 weeks before the election primarily as a result of power broker backroom politics in an already untenable position.
Former Liberal leader Mike Nahan — who described the result as a “disaster” and a “shocking outcome” — called for a “no-holds-barred” review of the outcome, saying it would be wrong to believe the wipeout was simply a product of COVID-19.
“If it was a six per cent or seven per cent swing I would accept that … but this is just a wipeout,” Dr Nahan said.Get up to speed on the WA electionThe politics, the policies and the people. We’ve collected all our coverage on the election campaign here.Read more
The retiring Dr Nahan, whose former seat of Riverton has fallen into Labor’s hands, said there were significant campaign missteps.
“The energy policy was a debacle,” he said.
“And I think, in the end, you will see his statement that “we have lost”, that we had no chance of winning, just was not right.
“You don’t give up and you never give up.”ABC News: “WA election: Former Liberal MPs lash out as party takes stock amid poll wipeout“
The energy policy referred to was to the Liberals under Zak Kirkup making a commitment to getting to zero carbon emissions by 2030, closing coal powered stations within 4 years, and investing heavily in renewable sources of energy. Two and half weeks before the election Zak Kirkup pointed out that the opinion polls were running heavily against the Liberals and shifting to a balance of power argument about not giving Labour complete control of the state houses.
Zak Kirkup denied his decision to concede defeat two weeks out from the election had driven voters away and said he wished he had made the comments from “day one” of the campaign.
“I wish we’d done it sooner because for the last two-and-a-half weeks, we’ve had a single message about what would happen with Labor’s risk, but of course in the last two-and-a-half weeks it’s a challenging media environment, there’s a lot of competing issues that came up,” he said.
“People were really worried about checks and balances and I wish I had longer to prosecute that [argument].”
Mr Kirkup also rejected suggestions the party’s green energy policy was a mistake and said there was less of a swing against the Liberals in the coal mining electorate of Collie-Preston than in his own electorate of Dawesville.
“I think it will be convenient for people to blame the new energy jobs plan, rather than to accept the fact that actually we were up against a juggernaut in Mark McGowan,” he said.
The former MP also said he did not think there was an issue with powerbrokers in the party.
“When I look at my own circumstances, there were no deals done for me to become leader of the party, I didn’t seek any deals or anything like that — I got the confidence of my partyroom and that was that.”ABC News: “WA election: Former Liberal MPs lash out as party takes stock amid poll wipeout“
The opinion polls relate to the new standard that appears to be creeping into state politics in Australia. There appears to be a trend for less straight party line voting, and far more strong polling and electoral support for straight competency in dealing with covid-19. This has obvious implications for the Federal elections as the Roy Morgan analysis pointed out last month.
Primary support for the L-NP is now at 40% (down 2% points since November) compared to the ALP on 34.5% (up 0.5% points). Greens support has also increased and is now at 13% (up 1% point).
Support for One Nation is down 0.5% points to 3.5% while support for Independents/Others has increased 1% point to 9%.
Federal Voting Intention by State shows benefit of strong State Governments
Voting analysis by State shows the swing to the ALP is built on swings to the ALP since the last Federal Election in the three States with an ALP State Government – Victoria, Queensland and WA.
In Victoria the ALP now leads strongly on a two-party preferred basis: ALP 55% cf. L-NP 45%, a swing of 1.9% to the ALP since the 2019 Federal Election. There is one seat the L-NP holds in Victoria on a margin of less than 1.9% which is Chisholm (0.6%).
In Queensland the LNP is still in front on a two-party preferred basis but its lead has been significantly reduced: LNP 52% cf. ALP 48%, a swing of 6.4% to the ALP since the 2019 Federal Election. The LNP currently holds 23 out of 30 seats in Queensland compared to only 6 for the ALP.
The LNP holds five Queensland seats with a margin of less than 6.4% including Longman (3.3%), Leichhardt (4.2%), Dickson (4.6%), Brisbane (4.9%) and Ryan (6%).
In WA there has been a big swing with the ALP now marginally in front on a two-party preferred basis: ALP 50.5% cf. L-NP 49.5% – a swing of 6.1% to the ALP since the 2019 Federal Election. The Liberals currently hold 11 out of 16 seats in Western Australia compared to only 5 for the ALP.Roy Morgan: 19th Feb 2021 “ALP (50.5%) gains lead over L-NP (49.5%) on the back of strength in Victoria, Queensland & WA“