Crikey predicted immediately following Geoff Gallop’s resignation,
Resources Minister Alan Carpenter will be the only candidate for
Premier when caucus meet tomorrow. Each of the other candidates
withdrew when thy realised that they simply did not have the numbers.

was assured of the Premiership when the Metal Workers Union faction of
the Left cast their support for him rather than their own parliamentary
factional leader, Attorney General and Health Minister, Jim McGinty.

consequence of the manoeuvrings since Gallop announced his resignation
has seen some movement in the alignment of the factions. The Labor
Right in Western Australia bitterly split over its choice of candidate
for a State preselection seat at the 2001 election. The dichotomy led
to the creation of two fiercely antagonistic groups known as the Old
Right and the New Right. Burke is the paramount leader of the Old Right
and former State President, Michelle Roberts and federal member,
Stephen Smith are the leaders of the New Right.

McGinty, as
leader of the Left faction, has been able in recent years to exert
disproportionate influence within both the Party machine and caucus by
collaborating with the New Right in crucial votes. With Roberts and
McGinty both candidates for Gallop’s vacancy, McGinty could not look to
votes from the New Right and Roberts could not look to votes from the

Roberts could not succeed without the support of both
elements of the Right faction. This would not materialise without a
cessation of hostilities and some form of rapprochement between the two
groups. This in turn resulted in the imperative of communication
between Burke and Roberts.

In the event, the negotiations were
not put to the test because support from the Metal Workers from the
Left sealed Carpenters position. It can only be assumed that to the
extent they proceeded, the negotiations including wider issues were
progressing favourably. An incidental consequence of the rapprochement
between the two Right groups has been apparent tensions between Smith
and Roberts.

A reformation of the Right in Labor politics in Western Australia will dramatically reshape State Labor dynamics.

Tuesday week we can expect to see caucus elect the Old Right’s
candidate, Norm Marlborough to the Ministry. Serendipitously,
Marlborough is a close personal friend of Burke, who was best man at
his wedding.