Senate debates

Monday, 9 December 2013


Western Australia: Elections

9:50 pm

Photo of Dean SmithDean Smith (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

In Western Australia, the Liberal Party's primary vote of 47.31 per cent—hard to believe for Labor—was the highest in the nation. The Liberal Party now hold 12 of the 15 federal seats in Western Australia—our highest total ever. I would like to make special mention of what was achieved by the Liberal Party in regional Western Australia at this election. As many senators will be aware, there is no coalition arrangement in Western Australia. In regional seats, the Liberals and the WA Nationals are generally the main rivals for seats—and so it was this time in both Durack and O'Connor. In 2010, the WA Nationals won the seat of O'Connor from the Liberal Party. When I came to the Senate in May last year, I was given responsibility for the Great Southern region of Western Australia, which encompasses many of O'Connor's major population centres. Along with many of my fellow WA Liberals, I was determined to win back the seat of O'Connor, particularly after the previous member, Mr Tony Crook, betrayed the trust of so many local people by siding with Julia Gillard and Labor in some key votes during the last parliament. The swing to the Liberal Party in O'Connor, which was just over 4.5 per cent, is a tribute to Rick Wilson's hard work over the last 2½ years and a vindication of the WA Liberal Party's decision to endorse a candidate for the seat such a long time in advance of the election and against some popular opinion.

There were many elements that contributed to the success of the O'Connor campaign, but a key one was having a hardworking local candidate on the ground early. When Tony Crook bowed out of the election race in April this year he cited the Liberal Party's efforts in highlighting his voting record as a factor in his decision. This is something of which all WA Liberals should be proud. We held our opponents to account and rather than defend their record they ran from it. I was especially pleased when the now former leader of the WA Nationals, Brendon Grylls, said in the week following the election that the WA Liberals 'gave us a lesson in federal politics.' He also admitted in the West Australian that he was disappointed with the primary vote the WA Nationals achieved in O'Connor and Durack.

In regional Western Australia, it is the Liberal Party that is the party of the regions. This was clearly demonstrated at the federal election, when the WA Nationals primary vote in regional WA was just 17.9 per cent against a Liberal primary in regional areas of 42.6 per cent.

Senator Carol Brown interjecting—

I do accept that the Nationals record would be something that the Labor Party would be pleased to have. This historic result for the Liberal Party in WA was a clear statement from the community that they are eager to move on from the years of chaos and dysfunction under Labor and to do away with the Rudd-Gillard legacy in the form of the carbon tax and the mining tax. I urge all senators opposite to respect the clear wishes of the people of Western Australia and the rest of our country and vote to scrap these two job-destroying taxes. It is time to get on with that job.

In conclusion, I congratulate four outstanding Western Australian young people active in the Western Australian Liberal Party: Rebecca Lawrence, Carla Schilling, Jarrod Lomas and Jesse Wotton. All of them made a fantastic contribution to our local federal election campaigns in Hasluck, Durack and Brand. I congratulate Jesse Wotton for being the inaugural winner of the Young Liberal Campaign Trophy that was awarded to him on Saturday at state council. It is a fantastic initiative of the federal patron of the Young Liberal movement of Western Australia, who happens to be Senator Smith!


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