Peter Kennedy

Peter writes the Political Perspective column. He started in full-time journalism at The West Australian in 1970 and covered politics in Sydney and Canberra for The Sydney Morning Herald from 1977-84. He was press secretary to deputy premier Mal Bryce in the mid-80s, and joined the ABC in 1990, presenting both the Morning and Drive programs on 720 6WF, and then was state political reporter for ABC TV News for 11 years. Peter graduated from the University of WA with a bachelor of arts (economics) and a diploma of education.

Costings can be explosive

ANALYSIS: The row between Premier Colin Barnett and opposition leader Mark McGowan over the cost of their election promises is a clear sign the campaign is getting to the pointy end. But don’t rule out surprises.

Promising a day of financial reckoning

ANALYSIS: The major parties are ramping up expectations of what they will deliver if they win the March 11 state poll, but financial realities have a way of stifling the best of intentions.

Grylls says Turnbull ‘hypocritical’

ANALYSIS: Nationals WA leader Brendon Grylls has attacked the debt reduction strategies of both the Liberal and Labor parties as unrealistic. However, he confirmed that, in the event of a hung parliament after the March 11 election, his party would only work with the Liberals to form a new government.

Lost day on the campaign trail

ANALYSIS: There used to be a golden rule in election campaigns that candidates should be seen but not heard. The public face of the party was the leader, whose commitments and comments were always carefully scripted.

Do or die for party leaders

ANALYSIS: Colin Barnett and Mark McGowan face the biggest test of their long political careers over the next 12 days. Each knows that a loss in the March 11 state election will mean the end of their political career.

There’s only one poll that counts

OPINION: The polls appear to be tightening ahead of next month’s election, with renewed interest also in which minor parties may hold the balance of power.

Barnett chances his arm on penalty rates

ANALYSIS: Colin Barnett has taken a political risk in expressing his view that the Fair Work Commission’s historic decision to cut Sunday penalty rates for pharmacy, fast food, hospitality and retail workers should also apply to Western Australian award workers.

Leaders slug it out

ANALYSIS: Labor leader Mark McGowan had the edge over Premier Colin Barnett in their 30-minute confrontation on Channel 7 last night.

Labor’s renewables conundrum

ANALYSIS: Why has WA Labor dumped its proposed 50 per cent renewable energy target for the state by 2030, at the same time as the party’s federal leader, Bill Shorten, is promoting the figure as a national goal?

Xenophon would fix GST dilemma

ANALYSIS: Malcolm Turnbull was simply bowing to political reality when fending off questions about Western Australia’s miserable share of GST revenue during his whirlwind visit to Perth on Monday.

Cautious campaigns aim for small targets

ANALYSIS: Both Colin Barnett and Mark McGowan wisely avoided making big spending commitments when they launched their formal election campaigns on Sunday.

Leaders facing tests of policy

ANALYSIS: With early voting for the state election due to start on Monday, both Colin Barnett and Mark McGowan will face major tests when they deliver their formal policy speeches on Sunday.

Tight regional contests bring benefits

ANALYSIS: There has never been a better time to be a voter in the regional port cities of Albany, Bunbury and Geraldton. All are marginal seats and the centre of very close attention from the major parties.

Labor optimistic on debt reduction

ANALYSIS: Full marks to the Labor Party for coming up with its debt reduction strategy early in the election campaign. It indicates both the party and shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt are serious about getting the state’s finances into a much healthier position.

Leaders need to outline an economic strategy

OPINION: Our political leaders do voters a disservice by failing to spell out their economic agenda.

Pivotal role for preferences

ANALYSIS: Memories of 2001 will be top-of -mind for many Liberal Party state executive members when they meet tomorrow to decide the preference recommendations for their how-to-vote cards ahead of next month’s election.

Collie key as Labor backs away from renewables target

ANALYSIS: The Labor Party has moved quickly to snuff out any suggestion it will be pushing for a 50 per cent renewable energy target for the South West Interconnected System if it wins next month’s state election.

Northern suburbs hold election key

ANALYSIS: The state election battleground has now moved to Perth’s northern suburbs, with three Liberal-held seats previously thought impregnable now in play.

Diversify exports and customers: Court

Former premier Richard Court has urged producers in Western Australia to become more active to take advantage of the significant export opportunities emerging in Asian markets.

Malcolm on the outer

OPINION: WA Liberals would prefer Malcolm Turnbull stayed away in the lead-up to the March election, unless he has some good news to share about the GST.

One Nation’s ace in the pack

OPINION: The WA branch of Queenslander Pauline Hanson’s protest party appears set to influence the state election. 

McGowan looks for measured performance

Opinion: A Labor state government will seek to incentivise the public sector to more energetically pursue policies.

US envoy promotes northern potential

The acting United States Ambassador to Australia, James Carouso, says there is enormous scope for increased American investment in northern Australia, including in the Broome and Ord River regions.

Business players in Liberal branch push

Three leading professionals have joined forces to take control of the Peppermint Grove branch of the Liberal Party, which is influential in the preselection process for Colin Barnett’s state seat of Cottesloe.

Culleton crises an electoral risk

Legal issues swirling around One Nation’s Rod Culleton could cruel the party’s chances at the March state poll.

Leadership dilemma for Liberals

Colin Barnett may be the government’s best performer in parliament, but his standing in voters’ eyes is fuelling talk of a challenge.

Fronting up in the battle for the bush

The Nationals’ proposed iron ore charge is part of a larger strategy to lure voters from its rivals at the March election.

Parties clash over local jobs

A Labor plan to boost manufacturing in WA has put it at odds with the Barnett government just months from the state poll.

Liberals facing election traps

Uncertainty about the direction of the government and its leadership is likely to persist despite the premier’s win last week.

GST firmly in Grylls’ mine tax orbit

Brendon Grylls’ proposal to lift the tax rate on WA’s two biggest miners may have received some bad press, but at least it has started a conversation. 

Holding the line on wages challenge

The Barnett government is in no position to quell union unrest with generous pay deals.



Union pressure on McGowan

ANALYSIS: The union movement hasn’t wasted any time reminding Premier-elect Mark McGowan that it wants a share of the spoils, even before he has moved into his new West Perth office.

MacTiernan bounces back

ANALYSIS: Freshly recycled Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan has been fast tracked into Premier-elect Mark McGowan’s new cabinet, even though she will not formally start her term in the Legislative Council until mid-May.

Business players in Liberal branch push

Three leading professionals have joined forces to take control of the Peppermint Grove branch of the Liberal Party, which is influential in the preselection process for Colin Barnett’s state seat of Cottesloe.

Grylls, Francis losses a major blow

ANALYSIS: The failure of Nationals WA leader Brendon Grylls and straight talking Liberal frontbencher Joe Francis to retain their seats is a devastating blow to their parties. But it can only get worse.

most commented

Scaffidi gets a reality check

Lisa Scaffidi is no stranger to the responsibilities of public office, which is why the imbroglio currently surrounding her is so perplexing.

Tensions remain over council change

The premier may be lining up for a second dig at local government reform.

Canning a psephologists’ nightmare

Despite the Liberals’ big margin in Canning, the government is taking nothing for granted as the by-election nears.

GST first of many tests for Labor

OPINION: The McGowan government will need to get straight down to business, given the backlog of issues it needs to address.