The outcome of the Western Australian election went exactly as predicted by the polls.
There was a 12% swing to Labor and a 16% swing against the Liberals with 4% going to One Nation.
It seems likely that Labor will end up with 40 or 41 seats in the lower house and Liberals and Nationals 18 or 19
One Nation in WA
One Nation managed only 4.7% of the state wide vote for the lower house which was generally deemed to be a failure but, when it is considered that they only fielded candidates in half the seats, then the party achieved the 8% the polls predicted.
The issues in WA
There were a range of prognostications as to why the swing was so pronounced.
One thing that can be said with some certainty is that the current national priority issues of housing affordability and penalty rates were probably irrelevant.
Housing affordability is not an issue in Western Australia where average house prices have fallen by 20% in the last year.
Similarly unemployment in the state is such that hospitality and retail workers would take a low wage in preference to no wage which is the prospect for many of them.
WA Premier-elect Mark McGowan
When WA Premier-elect Mark McGowan went to the office yesterday and confronted the enormity of the problem that awaited him over the next few months it must have been a salutary awakening.
He’ll have to prepare a completely new budget from scratch because he’s promised to reject almost the entirety of the Barnett government’s plan.
He has ruled out using the sale of half of Western Power to solve the debt and deficit problem and has pledged no cuts to health and education.
He also has $2.3 billion worth of new expenditure to cover.
He’s promised to do this by reducing spending, appropriating $1.4 billion of Commonwealth money and getting a new deal on the GST.
Labor’s initial ploy has been to announce a commission of enquiry to examine the Barnett Government’s spending.
Cuts to spending will not be accomplished without pain and disillusionment on the part of at least some of the electorate.
The question will be whether the radical change involved will be too much for voters to stomach and the McGowan government will go the way of the Newman government in Queensland.
Subscribe to Inside Canberra