Lib­er­als air griev­ances to Bar­nett

Pilbara News - - News -

The 31-15 vote against a mo­tion to spill Colin Bar­nett’s lead­er­ship was fol­lowed by a two-hour par­ty­room dis­cus­sion in which Lib­eral MPs crit­i­cised the Premier — and each other — in a frank air­ing of griev­ances.

Mr Bar­nett emerged from last week’s meet­ing will­ing to ac­knowl­edge his lead­er­ship style had put some of them off.

He pledged to try to be more avail­able to Lib­eral MPs while for­mu­lat­ing his pol­icy po­si­tions.

And he con­ceded some MPs had been up­set at the way they had been treated by mem­bers of his staff, say­ing he ac­cepted the crit­i­cism but that the task of gov­ern­ment was dif­fi­cult, com­plex and re­quired quick and de­ci­sive lead­er­ship.

The spill mo­tion, pre­cip­i­tated by the res­ig­na­tions of min­is­ters Dean Nalder and Tony Simp­son, and moved by ag­grieved for­mer min­is­ter Mur­ray Cow­per, was dealt with swiftly.

Mr Nalder and Mr Simp­son each spoke at length dur­ing the par­ty­room meet­ing, ex­plain­ing their ac­tions at the week­end to their col­leagues.

Mr Nalder re­peated his claim made pub­licly that he was frus­trated be­cause he could not get a meet­ing with Mr Bar­nett, sources in at­ten­dance said.

Mr Cow­per and for­mer min­is­ter He­len Mor­ton, who spoke against the Premier in re­cent days, also aired their con­cerns.

Much of the MPs’ angst had as its source the op­er­a­tion of the Premier’s of­fice, those in at­ten­dance said.

Asked if he would try to make changes to his style, Mr Bar­nett said: “I think I am a de­ci­sive leader. Some­times peo­ple might find that a lit­tle abrupt. I think, some­times, be­cause I like to get on with the job and deal with is­sues quickly, maybe peo­ple think I don’t lis­ten enough. And I ac­cept that crit­i­cism.”

Mr Bar­nett made a commitment to run a more con­sul­ta­tive gov­ern­ment and ac­knowl­edged the crit­i­cism of his of­fice.

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