Dark horse in a dark suit

There’s a long shot in 2006 Premier’s race 20 January 2006

Rockingham MLA Mark McGowan is the dark horse being touted by urgers and TAB flies to replace Geoff Gallop as Premier of Western Australia.

Mr McGowan has all the attributes to seamlessly segue from young minister to leader of his party, much as the dynamic doctor did in the cloudy atmosphere of 1996.

His ability to wear dark suits, his nerdish appearance, the occasional spectacles, the unfunny attempts at humour, the inability to cope well with personal criticism, all make Mr McGowan an ideal choice.

However, the MLA’s kinship with a bigger fish in a bigger sea is the most pertinent of the comparisons.

Just as Dr Gallop shared a friendship with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Mr McGowan can lay claim to being just as chummy with Federal Opposition leader Kim Beazley.

LATER ON: McGOWAN & BEAZLEY

Just as Blair was only a shining light with no power when Dr Gallop was a young politician, only to rise to the UK leadership in 1997, Mr McGowan can lay claim to being one of Mr Beazley’s closer confidantes in the state scene.

Should Mr Beazley ascend to Prime Minister of Australia, it would put Mr McGowan in an enviable position vis-a-vis state rights.

By electing a dark horse, the Labor Party would finally snuff out the leadership aspirations of perennial Labor stalwarts Eric Ripper, Jim McGinty, Michelle Roberts and Alannah MacTiernan, who despite their experience, have been on the nose with the WA public for years.

Contrast this with the man who brought us the Great Air Race, and you have one of best long shots going around.

Mark’s chances may have been dealt a blow when 6PR’s Paul Murray was quizzing former Premier Brian Burke on the leadership issue on Tuesday January 17.

While explaining Labor’s factional splits to listeners, Murray referred to the Centre, which included Alan Carpenter “and that bloke from Rockingham.”

Importantly, the Burkmeister knew him: “Mark McGowan” tripped quickly from the powerful backroom tongue.

The favourite will be Alan Carpenter, who in a real world would be odds on.

But this is not the real world. It’s state politics and the Labor Party with their devious little factions and cadres. It’s also the era of the nerd.

As IT dominates the world, bespectacled wowsers are in.

So, as McGowan, when Minster for Racing and Gaming, once said in a press release about the WA galloper Plastered: “Go you good thing!

FOOTNOTE: Plastered won but Mr McGowan did not. He later (2017 on) distinguished himself as WA Premier.

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