Libs ‘will ne­go­ti­ate with all ex­cept La­bor’

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

Bar­nett COTTES­LOE MLA Colin Bar­nett says he is not go­ing “too far” in think­ing an elec­torate back­lash – high­lighted by anti-im­mi­gra­tiontainted Brexit and the rise of US pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump – has a role in the forth­com­ing March State Elec­tion.

“I don't think we have that to any great ex­tent, how­ever, you do see with par­ties like One Na­tion that el­e­ment of protest,” Mr Bar­nett said 100 days be­fore his bid for a third premier­ship.

He said job se­cu­rity and em­ploy­ment would be the fac­tors in the outer met­ro­pol­i­tan seats, where votes swing and gov­ern­ments were lost, af­ter the down­turn caus­ing peo­ple to lose jobs, over­time wages or have a salary cut.

“In the coun­try ar­eas there is this el­e­ment of protest be­cause, again, while min­ing is still strong and agri­cul­ture is hav­ing a good year, still you get that el­e­ment in the coun­try,” he said.

He is putting his faith in in­di­vid­ual can­di­dates and hard-work­ing MPs to fight off peo­ple choos­ing protest votes, in­clud­ing any for One Na­tion.

In 2001, One Na­tion pref­er­ences di­rected against all sit­ting MPs caused the down­fall of Mr Bar­nett’s Lib­eral pre­de­ces­sor Richard Court.

Asked if he would wait to see if the mooted One Na­tion in­sur­gency in WA even ma­te­ri­alised be­fore tack­ling pref­er­ences, Mr Bar­nett said party of­fi­cials would ne­go­ti­ate with all par­ties, apart from La­bor, in the weeks be­fore the elec­tion, but Lib­eral votes would go to Na­tional Party can­di­dates.

“It’s more an is­sue as to whether par­ties like One Na­tion or Shoot­ers and Fish­ers, or In­de­pen­dents, it’s more rel­e­vant where they put the Lib­eral Party on their pref­er­ences, not where we put One Na­tion’s be­cause our pref­er­ences will never be counted,” he said.

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