Farina loses party favour

Warren HatelyAugusta Margaret River Times
Bunbury-based Labor veteran Adele Farina has lost preselection for next year's State election in a move she attributed to factional politics.
Camera IconBunbury-based Labor veteran Adele Farina has lost preselection for next year's State election in a move she attributed to factional politics.

WA Labor has shafted one of its own for the sake of securing veteran Alannah MacTiernan’s switch to a safe South West seat.

Bunbury-based MLC Adele Farina confirmed months of speculation this week in noting “it was no surprise” Labor did not re-endorse her for preselection for next year’s State election.

“It has been common knowledge in the electorate for months now that I was to be the victim of a factional deal to give Alannah MacTiernan’s safe city seat to the Left faction’s Pierre Yang and give my seat to Ms MacTiernan,” she said.

“It is deeply disappointing to me to be deprived of my preselection for the South West after 19 years of faithful service and hard work in the electorate and Parliament.”

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


Ms MacTiernan, who holds the Regional Development portfolio, denied talk of a factional deal.

“I don’t see that I have replaced Adele,” she said.

“I think that there was an issue of who was going to be supported and I think we might’ve had a similar outcome regardless of whether I was standing.”

She dodged questions about living permanently in Albany where she owns a house.

“Any minister spends a lot of time in Perth, so I will certainly be splitting my time between Perth and Albany and the rest of the regions of this great State,” she said.

“I will spend a lot more time in Albany, and look, I’ve made it very clear, if I was going to stand again, given my focus has been so much on regional development and agriculture, I wanted to represent a regional area.”

Margaret River-based Upper House Liberal colleague Steve Thomas said he was “astounded” at Labor dumping its highly visible local member.

“Labor has now replaced her, and is offering three metropolitan-based candidates based on their factional and union approval,” he said.

“Someone needs to tell Alannah MacTiernan and Sally Talbot that owning a holiday house in Albany and Denmark respectively does not make you a South West local.

“I don’t know if Hannah Beazley owns one down here, but as number three on Labor’s ticket, she will probably need to get one,” Dr Thomas said.

“This deal, done to save a Perth-based Labor factional power broker, smacks of arrogance, and is an example of Labor treating the South West community with contempt.”

The Vasse Labor branch raised alarm about the potential deal last year.

Ms Farina called out her own party’s machinations in her statement this week.

“It is particularly disappointing that preselections have been rushed through the administrative committee five days before the party resumes normal business after the COVID-19 restrictions,” she said.

“By doing so, a ballot of the party rank and file has been avoided, depriving South West Labor Party members a vote and an opportunity to express their view of this factional deal.”

Ms Farina said it was “personally disappointing” Ms MacTiernan made her play despite Ms Farina’s past support.

“(She) has campaigned for party rank-and-file participation in preselections and against this kind of deal-making by faction leaders, (but) has willingly been involved in this cynical factional exercise,” Ms Farina said.

It is not the first seat switch for Ms MacTiernan, who undertook a brief stint in Federal politics before a path was cleared for her to return to WA politics in the north metropolitan Upper House zone.

She previously served in the east metropolitan region, and lost a Federal tilt for the seat of Canning in 2011.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails