Colin Barnett, the present leader of the Western Australian
parliamentary Liberal Party, is in my opinion one of the greatest geese
ever to lead the Liberal Party anywhere in Australia.

Due to a combination of stupidity and disloyalty to his colleagues, he
has in the past two weeks consigned the Liberal Party in WA Australia
to long term opposition.

Barnett’s chief of staff and a small group of Barnett supporters
manufactured the dumping of one of his sitting Upper House colleagues
from a winnable spot on the ticket. The member, Alan Cadby, a well
regarded shadow Minister who after one term has been relegated to
number five on the ticket, yesterday resigned from the Liberal Party
and will serve out the balance of his term as an Independent.

That might in normal circumstances not be critical to the Party’s
prospects at the next and future elections, however the unique
circumstances which presently prevail in the State parliament make
Barnett’s behaviour and Cadby’s response fatal.

Some months ago the Labor government passed legislation through both
Houses of the parliament that provided for one vote one value which if
implemented would have caused the abolition of eight country seats and
the creation of a corresponding number of metropolitan seats. The
consequence would be certain electoral success into the foreseeable
future for the Labor Party.

After a titanic struggle to raise funding, the Liberal Party and a
number of vested interest groups from the country took the matter first
to the State full Supreme Court then to the High Court. Both courts
found that the Labor government’s legislation was defective in the
Upper House for want of carriage by an absolute majority.

Cadby’s dumping by Barnett has provided an opportunity for Labor to
offer Cadby the Presidency of the Legislative Council for the balance
of his fixed term which does not expire until May next year and to give
itself an absolute majority on the floor. This will allow the passage
of the electoral reform legislation.

It is not as if Barnett did not have plenty of warning of this
impending Liberal Party disaster. His Deputy had the good sense to
circulate a note to his colleagues alerting them to the sequence of
events in the event of the crude dumping of Cadby, including the fact
that the Electoral Commissioner had advised him that there was
sufficient time to complete such a redistribution.

Barnett, who is more concerned with maintaining the numbers for his
leadership after the election in the event of losing even on the
present boundaries, blindly marched on for the sake of one vote.

Having been the Deputy Leader of a government which received the worst
electoral results in the State Party’s history, Barnett has now
consigned it to the dirt bin for at least another decade – and the man
pleaded for loyalty at the last party meeting!

Firing one back at Lisa Liberal

Sealed Section – 4 June

Lord John Forrest writes:

It’s always amusing to read the wild fantasies of Crikey contributor
Lisa Liberal over my afternoon tea, but this time her commentary is so
far off the mark, we will have to start calling Stephen Mayne a
communist and Hillary Bray female should we accept it as being true.

Far from being a disaster as leader, Colin Barnett is the only
Opposition Leader in the country with the prospect of wining a State
Election (as indicated by polling), and this is despite the best
efforts of the old NCB hacks, Deputy Dan, Rob Johnson and Alan Cadby,
and a little bit of the corpse of former Minister for Fair Trading,
Doug Shave, trying very hard to keep the Liberals in Opposition.

Sure Colin is not perfect, after all, much to the disdain of his loyal
supporters he saved Deputy Dan’s political career by asking the other
candidate standing against him for preselection to withdraw on the
basis of “Party Unity”, only to find the knives stuck straight back in
the moment he turned his back. But he is after all, only human.

Alan Cadby was not only dumped by the North Metro pre-selectors, he was
dumped by State Council, along with the corpse of Doug Shave, who tried
to rise from the dead at the same meeting. The efforts of Deputy Dan in
writing letters to State Councillors saying that Cadby would quit the
party if not saved at the meeting, and that he would vote with the ALP
on the issue of unfairly disenfranchising country voters with the so
called “one vote one value” legislation, only served to highlight the
complete lack of loyalty the old NCB tribal warriors have to the Party,
and it turned out to be the final nail in Cadby’s coffin. Dan the
political genius at work again.

But what voters are far more interested in is why Deputy Dan has
decided to hold onto the extra $45,000 he was receiving as Deputy
Opposition Leader despite the fact he has relinquished the position to
the Agrarian Socialists Leader Max Driveatractoralot.

Undoubtedly some of the funniest political footage of the year on local
television as Dan tried to blame the Clerk of Parliament, and the Clerk
basically said its all Dan’s doing (one for the Crikey Christmas
Party?). Perhaps he is looking to purchase a house, given rumours that
he still doesn’t own one, although being tied to a house makes it
harder to changes seats if challenged again in the future, and why be a
house owner when you can fly off to Bali on a regular basis and brag to
the local paper about how many croissants you’ve been eating. The
political genius strikes again.

The only question Lisa Liberal should be addressing is what will be the next Dansastorous move?

Peter Fray

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