Michel hits back at Cata­nia crit­i­cism

Pilbara News - - News - Tom Zaun­mayr

Pil­bara MLA Kevin Michel piped up for the first time in Par­lia­ment last week af­ter be­ing told by North West Cen­tral MLA Vince Cata­nia he should thank BHP and Rio Tinto for get­ting him elected.

“The one thing the mem­ber for Pil­bara for­got to say in his open­ing ad­dress in this house was the fact that he for­got to thank Rio, BHP and the Cham­ber of Min­er­als and En­ergy for the cam­paign that helped him get elected,” Mr Cata­nia said.

“When you have such a large in­crease in an elec­torate that is shrink­ing in size, you have to ask the ques­tion, why aren’t we jump­ing up and down?”

Mr Michel in­ter­jected, stat­ing former mem­ber Bren­don Grylls lost be­cause he did not put in the hard yards in his own seat.

“He didn’t bother to door­knock,” he said.

“If you have to door­knock, you know how many peo­ple are there.”

The comments came on the back of a drawn-out dis­cus­sion re­gard­ing a mo­tion by WA Na­tion­als leader Mia Davies to note con­cerns about the in­flu­ence of third-party ad­ver­tis­ing and en­rol­ment anom­alies ahead of the 2017 elec­tion.

Ms Davies said a jump of more than 3000 reg­is­tered vot­ers in the Pil­bara seat should be rais­ing eye­brows.

“If there has been un­to­ward be­hav­iour, if there are con­cerns that have been raised, there needs to be some­where that can be aired,” she said.

“When you sit these num­bers next to the va­cant prop­erty num­bers in the Pil­bara, next to the de­clin­ing pop­u­la­tion at the time, it doesn’t stack up.

“The pub­lic needs to be con­fi­dent that our elec­toral com­mis­sioner is ad­e­quately re­sourced, and that there is ap­pro­pri­ate over­sight.”

The Na­tion­als Party is push­ing for a stand­ing com­mit­tee tasked with over­sight of elec­toral laws and prac­tises.

Elec­toral Af­fairs Min­is­ter Bill John­ston said if the Na­tion­als did have con­cerns re­gard­ing the State Elec­tion, they had not been aired through the ap­pro­pri­ate chan­nels.

“If (Ms Davies) has any ques­tions re­gard­ing the va­lid­ity of the elec­tion or the re­turn, that is the pro­ce­dure to deal with dis­putes, so I in­vite her to com­ply with the law in­stead of com­ing in here and whingeing about the fact that the cur­rent mem­ber for Pil­bara worked hard to de­feat the lazy former mem­ber,” he said.

“The La­bor party pre-se­lected a com­mu­nity can­di­date who, in­stead of whingeing, got out and worked. At some point in time, the Na­tional Party have to give up the ghost of Bren­don past.”

Mr John­ston said the in­crease could be put down to vot­ers in the re­gion on the Fed­eral elec­tion roll be­ing in­cluded on the State roll.

“An 11 per cent in­crease is just about what one would ex­pect,” he said.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

Pil­bara MLA Kevin Michel.

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