COVID helped but not a reason

WA Labor didn’t need pandemic to win 25 February 2021

Today, Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup conceded his party would not win the March State election in Western Australia.

ZAK KIRKUP

Shock, horror! He is copping a pasting for being defeatist when he is merely calling out the truth.

The general feeling is that because of COVID-19 the Labor Government of Mark McGowan will win.

Get this straight! The pandemic and Labor’s handling of it has helped but the Liberal Party in WA was cooked well before this happened.

Before February 2020, I stumbled across a betting site where the result of the WA State Election was priced. Labor was $1.40. For the uninitiated, that means for every dollar you gambled on Labor you would receive back 0.40c profit on investment.

I contacted several gambler friends and said if you’ve got a million dollars, a $100,000, $10,000, have a bet and get 40 per cent interest on your money for a little more than one year’s investment.

It was the greatest “over” I’ve ever seen in a lifetime of punting.

I even added the rider that a photograph of McGowan in a compromising situation with a domestic animal could be published at Christmas and still Labor would win.

Why? Simple. The Liberal Party was completely devoid of talent and Labor was doing a damn fine job in government. This translated even further into the early days of COVID-19.

Sure, they had – and still have – windfall profits from iron ore royalties but I remember when the Carpenter Government had similar luck. They didn’t do as well with it.

McGowan’s government was different. While Carpenter’s men and women fell over or were sacked in astonishing numbers, the current mob is rock solid.

Sound performers from Ben Wyatt in Treasury to Rita Saffioti in Planning and Transport. From Roger Cook in Health to even the enigmatic John Quigley as Attorney General. A host of other back-up “singers” could easily take higher positions if required.

And what of the Liberal Party in February 2020 and now? Who have they got to lead them, to take senior ministerial roles? When my friends asked in 2020 who I thought was coming through to lead the Liberals, I was embarrassed to say “Nobody”. Watching Question Time was an embarrassment (I felt like a Fremantle Dockers supporter).

Zak Kirkup was the only possibility but he was too “new”. Party leadership requires experience of parliament and some years served. Kirkup’s got the required political nous but he needed more blooding before thrusting him into the leadership role.

At Question Time, the Liberals’ questions appeared to have been cobbled straight from that morning’s media. When these were swatted away with easy replies, the supplementary question was then asked with no apparent comprehension of the answer just been given.

You could lose count of the times, Labor ministers said: “I just answered that. Didn’t you understand my answer?” The poor Opposition team seemed not to understand the reason for the supplementary. They didn’t have the think on your feet skill to adapt. What was written in front of them had to be asked. It was embarrassing to watch.

Then you had the religious syndrome. Whatever your opinion of Voluntary Assisted Dying there was one thing for sure. The public wanted it.

The Upper House, led by Nick Goiran, fought this. The Liberals were looking extremely out of touch. They were.

Drill down to the history of Liberal candidates at this election, you find religious connections ranging from participation to zealotry. This isn’t a bad thing but it’s terribly out of touch with modern opinion.

Gambling is often about missed opportunities. Backing odds-on chances isn’t particularly attractive to a punter but the $1.40 was sweet!

Pity that party loyalty stopped me taking it.

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