77pc still support WA hard border
A poll shows most West Australians still back Premier Mark McGowan’s hardline hard border policy — but the level of that support is declining.
New polling carried out by Utting Research from September 24 to 26 shows that 77 per cent of 3500 people questioned said they still supported keeping WA’s borders closed to the rest of the country.
Only 14 per cent opposed a continued shutdown.
While those numbers will provide tangible and welcome backing for the Premier, they represent a 15 per cent fall in support for Mr McGowan’s stance from a similar poll last month.
Early last month, a survey by Painted Dog research revealed that 92 per cent of the 837 people asked said they wanted the State’s shutters to stay down.
That fall in recent weeks has coincided with increased pressure on the Premier to consider lifting the lockdown. But he reiterated yesterday it would not be happening any time soon.
“I know I cop a lot of criticism over this, and I know I will get a lot more criticism if I let the virus in and people start dying and we lose all of our good economic outcomes,” Mr McGowan said.
“I just want to keep us healthy, keep us safe and keep us creating jobs. And part of keep the economy that way is by keeping the virus out — that is why I am so cautious about this.
“If the virus comes back people will die and we will have economic catastrophe as has happened everywhere else. I am just very cautious about allowing this virus back in.”
Some of that criticism had come from Federal Finance Minister Mathias Cormann, who said last week that Mr McGowan’s stance on the border smacked of “economic protectionism” — and could be unconstitutional.
“I don’t know you were economically protectionist when you kept all the trading industries open, and we have the most free and open society in Australia,” Mr McGowan said.
“We have the strongest economy within WA of any State in the nation, we are leading employment growth, we have got the strongest land sales, and house sales.
“The strongest building industry, strongest rates of construction, strongest retail and hospitality, strongest tourism industry. We are leading the nation — I don't know how that is protectionist.”
And he also said WA’s successes in coronavirus containment — the last case of community transfer in the State was 178 days ago — had led to the “freest society ... anywhere in Australia.”
But he said that brought with it other vulnerabilities.
“Because we are so open and so free to move around we are more vulnerable if a case gets in. That to a degree explains my caution,” Mr McGowan said.
“When we are confident it is safe to open, well then at that point in time we will.
“Until then, and until we get the health advice, we are going to be cautious.”
The polling supporting Mr McGowan’s border policy comes after last week’s poll which suggested his Liberal opponents were facing election armageddon.
If the polling was replicated at the March election, then Opposition Leader Liza Harvey would lose her own seat of Scarborough.
That seat, along with Hillarys, Dawesville, Joondalup and Kingsley — recorded a massive 16 per cent swing towards Labor.