Why is WA Premier Geoff Gallop so keen to see state Liberal leader Matt Birney done in – by the government or the factions in his own party? It appears that he genuinely fears the man. Gallop knows that if they can discredit him, it’s all over for the Libs. They will be stuck in a morass of infighting.

All of which makes the coverage of Birney’s breathalyser blues so interesting. After The Sunday Times broke the Birney story a week ago, The West Australian picked it up with gusto and soon turned the story back on the government – who, presumably, leaked it to the Times to begin with – by attacking Police Minister Michelle Roberts and the role she played.

Roberts appears to have given out some inconsistent information – a 0.047 breathalyser reading as opposed to a final 0.038 blood alcohol level – and she hasn’t been full and frank about the legal advice she received from police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan.

The West Australian
continually attacks the government and gives the Libs a soft run. The government gets its revenge through The Sunday Times. But sometimes it all gets too complicated.

Have a look at the Times from last weekend.

Despite the Birney story getting a great run, this was the lead story:



Young WA drivers could face a six-month night curfew and a total alcohol ban in a controversial bid to cut deaths on WA roads.

Under the plan – to be unveiled today by the Road Safety Council – P-platers would have to be supervised at night for the first six months after obtaining a licence. And the number of ‘peer passengers’ in the car would also be restricted in the first six months of driving…

The Sunday Times’s Birney yarn was pushed off the front page by – presumably – the thank-you leak from Roberts in return for the previous week’s Birney coverage.