A second Western Australian cabinet member has pulled the pin on ministerial life.

Environment minister Judy Edwards says she is leaving the ministry because of pressure on family life. Dr Edwards, a former medico, who entered parliament in 1990 to take over from former Labor premier Peter Dowding, has been a frontbencher in both Gallop Governments.

“I had come to a decision about 10-days ago that I really was missing out on seeing my son grow up, that sitting as minister meant I wasn’t there always for my family in the way that I wanted to be,” Dr Edwards said. (TOLD WHAT PAPER?)

She said she planned telling Geoff Gallop of her decision next week but his sudden exit on Monday had made her decide to go now. Not stated was the fact that Dr Edwards has been under growing pressure to make way for someone else.

She battled hard after the February 2005 election to retain her post and only just managed to cut off moves at the time to have her dumped.

As for Dr Gallop, he won’t be poverty stricken outside politics. He qualifies for a lump sum payout of about $2.3 million or a twice yearly indexed pension that currently stands at $175,500.

And the jockeying for the leadership has already moved up one cog. Rumours have begun circulating that the man favoured for the position, State Development and Energy Minister, Alan Carpenter, is perhaps not really suited.

The spin given out by the anti-Carpenter camp is that he is handicapped by what has been dubbed the “Latham Factor”. So what is this LF?
Simple, it’s the new sin in Labor ranks.

And you are known as a Latham Factor sinner if you are sometime short-wicked, speak your mind to the media, and occasionally even say the unexpected, all characteristics that Mr Carpenter most definitely possesses.

Who is most likely to gain from such rumours? Make no mistake; it is only another likely challenger, Left-wing powerbroker and former and failed Labor leader, Jim McGinty.

When asked about his aspirations yesterday, Mr McGinty, showed anything but the LF. “It’s not a question of that; it’s a question of who would be best,” he said. (TOLD WHICH PAPER?)

“I’d be very happy to throw my weight behind either Michele Roberts or Alan Carpenter if the consensus is they’d make the best premier.”

There’s going to be a lot more of this before 2 February when the new leader is confirmed.

Peter Fray

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