Poll stirs WA lead­er­ship pot

Pilbara News - - News - Gareth Parker, Daniel Emer­son and Dy­lan Ca­porn

Lead­ing Perth busi­ness­man John Poyn­ton has re­leased pri­vate polling he per­son­ally com­mis­sioned to make the case for lead­er­ship change in the WA Lib­eral Party.

In an ex­traor­di­nary devel­op­ment, Mr Poyn­ton ad­mit­ted shar­ing the re­sults with Colin Bar­nett’s po­ten­tial lead­er­ship ri­val, Trans­port Min­is­ter Dean Nalder.

More than 10,000 peo­ple across 11 Lib­eral-held seats in metropoli­tan Perth were polled by ReachTel.

If the re­sults were repli­cated Statewide, La­bor would win 52.9 per cent of the pri­mary vote to 47.1 per cent for the Lib­eral-Na­tion­als, ac­cord­ing to pref­er­ence dis­tri­bu­tion anal­y­sis by The West Aus­tralian.

Of the 11 seats polled, 10 — Bal­catta, Bel­mont, For­rest­field, Joon­dalup, Mor­ley, Mt Law­ley, Perth, South­ern River, Swan Hills and Wan­neroo — would fall to La­bor.

The only seat polled that would re­main in Lib­eral hands was River­ton, held by Trea­surer Mike Na­han.

The head­line num­bers are broadly in line with pre­vi­ously pub­lished polling, which has shown Op­po­si­tion Leader Mark McGowan lead­ing Mr Bar­nett as pre­ferred pre­mier for more than a year.

Mr Poyn­ton, who was Mr Nalder’s ref­eree on his ap­pli­ca­tion for en­dorse­ment as a can­di­date in his most re­cent pre­s­e­lec­tion, de­nied he was try­ing to ex­ert po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence.

“A num­ber of peo­ple I talk to in the com­mu­nity are get­ting in­creas­ingly con­cerned about the di­rec­tion the State is head­ing in,” he said.

“We have no­ticed there is not any par­tic­u­lar nar­ra­tive about how to fix the prob­lem.

“That’s made us very con­cerned, and we wanted to find out whether the pub­lic shared the con­cern that we had.”

Mr Poyn­ton’s in­ter­ven­tion drew a re­buke from WA Lib­eral pres­i­dent and party elder Nor­man Moore, who said the busi­ness com­mu­nity needed to un­der­stand the Lib­er­als would de­ter­mine their own lead­er­ship.

“While they can have their own opin­ion, they can’t be play­ers in the game,” he said.

“Colin Bar­nett was very well re­ceived at our State con­fer­ence and there was no sug­ges­tion from our mem­ber­ship that there should be any change.”

South Metropoli­tan Lib­eral Nick Goiran, a south­ern sub­urbs power­bro­ker loyal to Mr Bar­nett, said any pri­vate ci­ti­zen was en­ti­tled to do what­ever re­search they liked.

“But I would be in­cred­i­bly dis­ap­pointed if it was the case that any mem­ber of the State Par­lia­men­tary Lib­eral Party was in­volved with the com­mis­sion­ing of this polling,” he said.

Pic­ture: Danella Be­vis

Pri­vate polling sug­gests Pre­mier Colin Bar­nett may not be a pop­u­lar Pre­mier.

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