Libs ‘fighting hard’ as Labor landslide looms

Peter Law & Warren HatelyBusselton Dunsborough Times
Mark McGowan
Camera IconMark McGowan Credit: RegionalHUB

Mark McGowan is on track to lead WA Labor to its biggest ever State election victory, according to a new poll, as the Liberals plead for voters to not let the Premier take “total control” of Parliament.

A fresh survey of residents in Perth and the South West suggests Labor’s primary vote has increased 6.8 percentage points since the party’s huge win at the 2017 State election, surging to 49 per cent.

The leaked poll puts further weight behind the possibility of Vasse MLA Libby Mettam taking the Liberal leadership, with party leader Zak Kirkup’s Dawesville seat among a swag of blue tickets at risk of turning red.

According to the Online Research Unit poll, the Liberal primary vote is now less than half that enjoyed by Labor in the surveyed regions, falling 7.2 percentage points to 24 per cent in Lower House seats.

It indicates a two-party preferred swing to Labor of about 7 per cent, which if realised at the ballot box would see the Liberals lose almost half of their 13 seats in the Legislative Assembly.

The poll showed Labor’s support was strongest in Perth’s eastern suburbs (55 per cent primary vote), slightly higher among women, and half of respondents aged over 65 said they would vote Labor.

In the South West, about 150 respondents put Labor at 46 per cent in the Lower House, with the Liberals at 24 per cent, followed by the Greens at 9 per cent. In the Upper House, Labor polled at 39 per cent of support, the Liberals at 22 per cent, and 13 per cent for the Greens. The polling also suggested a decline in support for One Nation, which boasts party leader Colin Tincknell as a South West Upper House member.

Ms Mettam told the Times she was focused on “fighting hard” for her Vasse seat and was concerned about electoral outcomes for regional WA.

“This is a metro-centric government who had gutted Royalties for Regions, dropped the ball on Busselton Airport, tried to cut School of the Air, regional education, nationalise the crayfish industry, and introduce a gold tax twice,” she said.

“This will be a hard-fought election considering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the current popularity of our Premier.

“What people need to consider is do they want Labor to have total control where damaging legislation can be introduced and passed unopposed?”

Other Liberal seats at risk included Hillarys, Riverton, Darling Range, Scarborough and Kalgoorlie.

Last week, after the COVID hotel bungle forced two million people into a five-day lockdown, polling revealed the Premier’s approval rating was still at 88 per cent, only slightly down on his 91 per cent rating of last September.

Mr Kirkup this week rolled out a new slogan which urged voters about the dangers of Labor taking “total control”.

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