Defeated WA Liberal Party leader Zak Kirkup (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

The Libs need a WA-mbulance The Western Australian election confounded everyone. It was the first election in recent memory to go more or less exactly as the pollsters predicted: a legitimate massacre.

Let’s look over a few stats:

  • It is comfortably the biggest wipeout in state or federal politics in the 70 years we’ve had a stable two-party system in Australia
  • The WA Nationals, with four seats to the Liberals’ two, will be the official opposition — just as its predecessor the Country Party was between 1933 and 1947
  • Labor are also likely to have a majority in the upper house. Can you imagine what the Parliament would look like if it weren’t for malapportionment?
  • And, Crikey‘s favourite: as it stands, thanks to representatives Baker, O’Malley and Munday, Labor has a bigger caucus of Lisas than the Liberals have MPs.

It should be easier than ever to figure out what the WA Liberal Party represents now that the entire party can get to Parliament on a single tandem bicycle. Former journalist (her website doesn’t mention that it was with the ABC) Libby Mettam and former WA Liberal Party president David Honey will presumably rock paper scissors for the leadership. Loser has to lead the party.

Put a fork in them, the election is almost done.

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Mettam took over in the electoral district of Vasse from walking Carry On film Troy Buswell, while Honey was apparently key in removing Senator Noel Crichton-Browne from the party after a scandal concerning sexual comments made to a female journalist back in 1995.

Porter privatisation As we have reported previously, Australia has recently seen a huge surge in the number of calls to sexual violence services. And it’s worth remembering that those services aren’t as good as they once were.

The government privatised the national sexual assault support service to Medibank, and a reduction in quality inevitably followed. In 2017 the not-for-profit Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia split from 1800RESPECT due to concerns about the requirement for clients to share their confidential information with private contractors.

Who was the social services minister at the time? None other than Christian Porter.

Inside the Canberra bubble Journalist Peter van Onselen has proven himself as adept at irony as he is at correctly interpreting The Trial (or understanding the political roots of the Nazi party, for that matter).

At this year’s Sydney Writer’s Festival, he’s speaking with Barrie Cassidy and Niki Savva about the “Canberra bubble”. The focus of the talk will be on writing a biography beyond a politician’s spin, but I wonder if they’ll touch on the issue of writing investigations into allegations concerning powerful people who also happen to be close friends. Or accepting invitations to go on panel shows to discuss those allegations.

Sale ends tomorrow.

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Crikey is an independent Australian-owned and run outfit. It doesn’t enjoy the vast resources of the country’s main media organisations. We take seriously our responsibility to bear witness.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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