During my break towards the end of my shift on Saturday night (13th March 2021), I turned on my phone to quickly check the result of the WA election result and I wasn’t surprised by what had transpired.
There’s no easy way of saying it, but what happened was already bound to happen with the Liberals being essentially wiped-out across the state electoral map with the Labor party gaining 90 seats & the Liberals faced near-extinction with just two seats in the lower house.
Near-extinction, complete decimation, bloodbath…..
It was hard to swallow the result but I swallowed my pride and immediately congratulated Mark McGowan on Twitter for having succeeded in winning a monster majority.
But the electoral result that collapsed on the Liberal Party was always going to occur, with the parliamentary team having failed to neutralise the COVID issue which skyrocketed McGowan’s popularity that made being an opposition leader both difficult & daunting.
But it wasn’t just their failure to neutralise COVID that helped the WA Liberals go down a road of electoral decimation, but also the parliamentary team & leadership being in lockstep with the WA Labor party’s pandemic policies and decisions such as the quasi-seperatist border shutdowns & lockdowns over one COVID case, thus making it difficult for the general voting public to differentiate the two major political parties at the ballot box.
And no, not every election can be won but undoubtedly every single one should be relentlessly fought to the very end. Unfortunately, it’s something that the WA Liberals this time around failed to do. Especially when it came to leader’s Zak Kirkup’s bizarre early concession before campaigning had even finished which was in essence, admitting that he just couldn’t find the fire within himself to galvanise the Liberal party (who were the election underdogs) to not give up but rather to fight for every last vote across the state.
Kirkup waving the white flag should’ve never occurred as when the Liberal party is pushed to the corner by their political rivals, it doesn’t mean conceding that they cannot win, but rather to pick themselves up & to strike back with strength and courage, defying their enemies and the polls.
Take the 2019 federal election where every poll, every political pundit, commentator and political analyst and strategist in Australia were confident that the Morrison Government wasn’t going to be able to defeat the Bill Shorten Labor party. Even on election day, they were still adamant that Labor was going to win, not realising that despite the polls & the mood within the commentariat class of Australia, Morrison wasn’t going to lose (despite the odds) and by constantly capitalising on Labor’s woeful performance within the campaign coupled with a dogged-like determination to win, he flew & campaigned in the crucial seats that the Liberals needed to retain and/or win. And as the commentary became increasingly more towards a Liberal defeat after several years in government, it shocked them all on the 18th of May 2019 when the Morrison Govt was returned to power having successfully picked up Northern Queensland seats (such as Herbert) & Longman-another Queensland seat (that turned blue on election night) as well as Braddon and Bass in Tasmania and Lindsay in NSW whilst successfully retaining all of their seats (bar Warringah in NSW, & Corangamite & Dunkley in Victoria).
Morrison’s dogged-like determination & relentless hunger to win & to defy his opponents allowed him to beat both the polls & the commentary whilst tirelessly campaigning across the country (even on election day) proved to be successful for the incumbent L/NP Government as they were returned to power-in an election that was deemed a “miracle”.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the WA Liberal party leadership who didn’t share the same fire that Morrison had to turn around a sinking ship before polling day. With Kirkup’s bizarre shift to the green-left through the New Energy Plan where a elected Liberal government will shut down WA’s only coal fire power station by 2025 & replace it with a large-scale mega battery plan whilst also driving the state to a 100% renewables future by 2030.
Given that WA’s is not only Australia’s single largest state, but also has been an economic powerhouse proud of it’s resource & mining power as well and so for a normally economically pragmatic party to suddenly release a hard Greens policy that’ll threaten standing industries in Western Australia, who can only continue to exist thanks to reliable energy through baseload power in the grid that can keep the lights on & keep prices down. However, through renewable energy, since they rely on the sun & wind, they’re not reliable and have been proven across the world to be an expensive multi-million dollar financial and economic and monumental government disaster.
Energy prices skyrocketed, the environment was torn up for wind farms & solar panels, blackouts were frequent which led to industries suffering & jobs being forced to go overseas and what was left was a stratospheric financial bomb that produced none of the results promised by renewable backers, financial investors & their political puppets.
And the thing is that WA voters aren’t stupid and also don’t like to be scared by political parties, so when Kirkup released the New Energy Plan, it plunged his party supporters and voters into despair as traditional Liberal voters began to doubt as to whether they should vote for the party that’ll simply get into government and implement a Greens agenda, rather than an agenda born out of Liberal values and beliefs.
After all, state and federal colleagues of Kirkup plus Liberal candidates were both flummoxed and frustrated at how he could release a plan that would sink their party’s chances of election especially given the fact that Western Australia is by and large, a conservative state that has always been a safe blue wall for the Liberal.
So a campaign rookie plunging his supporters & campaigners into despair by announcing a anti-Liberal but hard Greens policy whilst also having bizarrely conceded before the election was finished was further dooming an already daunting situation into a hopeless one.
By then, it became abundantly clear, that through Kirkup’s actions born out of lack of political campaigning experience & not being grounded in Liberal values & beliefs alongside failing to find the fire to go after Labor for their politically-motivated pandemic policies & decisions devastated their chances of turning around the Liberal ship.
A real damn shame, but as Peta Credlin rightly said, the Liberal Party of Western Australia ‘sent a boy to do a man’s job’ and given that she & the Tony Abbott Liberals were responsible for the 25-seat majority in 2013 (which returned the Liberals to government after several years of Labor), she knows when she sees a hopeless leader leading the traditionally centre-right party and well…Kirkup was one of them.
But all blame can’t be put onto Kirkup.
After all, it was the partyroom that chose him to lead them into the state election. This decision would end up being fatal for them, but how on earth a strong Liberal candidate not have put their hand up & prevent an electoral decimation is beyond me. And this further proves that parliamentary MP’s do not have a good grasp on who should lead them and it’s why the Liberal Party in WA needs to be democratised, to get rid of the powerbrokers & end the factions which has dominated the backroom of the party.
A truly democratised Liberal Party of WA, where grassroot members (who have paid out of their own pocket money to be a party member) get to chose the party’s leader & deputy leader will finally return the Liberals to a proper grassroot party-one not held by powerbrokers and factions.
But even with a properly democratised Liberal Party, it’s absolutely crucial that strong centre-right candidates also get up as well in order to bring the party back to it’s traditional roots and not be strayed to the left (which is undoubtedly electoral poison in WA). Pandering to the Greens will only further disillusion Liberal voters & the ignorant belief that they have nowhere to go only further poisons the relations between them & the party. This mindset needs to change because they maybe Liberal voters, but if the state leadership starts drifting the party to the left, then they’ll punish the parliamentary team.
Through removing powerbrokers and factions whilst getting a leader that is grounded in centre-right Liberal party values and beliefs will easily turn a decimated ship around, and although it might not be possible within a few years, winning government shouldn’t be on the party’s mind. Rather, a Liberal Party rebirth is what is needed.
A rebirth that swallows it’s pride & reconnects with it’s centre-right base, a base that demands that the party develops a ‘clear-water” difference between them & the centre-Left Labor party & Green party.
After all, I shouldn’t need to spell out what the Liberal party stands for, their values & beliefs to the state WA division.
And as a paying member of the party (and whose also a Young Liberal), whose proud to call himself a centre-right conservative Liberal, it hurts when the party’s leadership fails to understand their party & what it truly stands for. It shows that they’ve lost their way and have strayed away from the traditional centre-right base, which in turns leads to bad policies rolling out that are a complete contradiction to the principled free-market, free private enterprise, economically pragmatic & socially conservative values and beliefs of the great Liberal Party of Australia.
After all, if WA wants a Greens future, it’s why there’s a Green Party of Western Australia. There’s no need for the Liberals to need to pander to them which only further alienates conservatives & drives away liberal voters.
So if the WA Liberals do not wake up from this election bloodbath, then I don’t know what will.