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.

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.

Nationals play high-stakes game

Brendon Grylls was something of a change-agent when he got the Royalties for Regions policy implemented, but his plan to tax iron ore tonnages has business worried.

Additional voters a wild card

WA’s belated adoption of changes to voter registration requirements has opened up a new challenge for the major parties ahead of the March 2017 poll.

Federal failings mould state strategy

Malcolm Turnbull’s campaign failings have highlighted the danger of giving your opponent a free kick, and WA Liberals are sure to heed the warning.

Liberals start the blame game

Recriminations have already started within the Liberal Party over its poor performance in Saturday’s federal election, with the finger being pointed at Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s campaign strategy for having shaken the party’s grip on power.

Fresh twist in GST debate

The GST’s corrective measures will boost WA’s financial position in coming years, if the current system remains unchanged.

Barnett hopes to contain federal fallout

The federal election could have ramifications for Colin Barnett’s leadership; how big depends on the size of the swing against the Turnbull government.

Political business like no other

The Barnett government is coming under pressure from the big end of town.

Barnett fighting history in 2017

Colin Barnett may be battling the odds to make a third term, but he’s certainly up for the fight.

Top bureaucrats jump ship

The imminent departure of four heavy hitters in the public service couldn’t have come at a worse time for the state government.

Leaders squib GST challenge

Colin Barnett’s political fellow travellers seem unwilling to help him in his efforts to achieve GST distribution reform.

WA Labor targets defence jobs

Opposition leader Mark McGowan has committed a future state Labor government to aggressively seek more defence related work for Western Australia to help compensate for the loss of construction jobs i

Pressure point for new cabinet

Colin Barnett has made some strategic ministerial changes ahead of next year’s poll.

CCC roars back in business

Two high-profile reports from the commission have reaffirmed its role in upholding public accountability.

Smith pitches economic credentials

Former senior federal cabinet minister Stephen Smith has identified Western Australia's economic future as a major factor in his audacious bid to wrest leadership of the WA Labor Party from the incumbent, Mark McGowan.

Value for money on public purse

Eliminating waste on major state infrastructure projects is a challenge for government on both sides of politics.

All bets off, asset sales on

Asset sales are expected to feature heavily when the Barnett government releases its budget in May.

Barnett holds the key

The premier’s ‘follow-me’ style makes his performance in the lead-up to the next state poll vital for the government’s chances of re-election.

Labor faces moment of truth

Melissa Parke’s decision to stand aside at the next federal election poses some issues for the Labor Party in Fremantle.

Nahan must get back to basics

The May budget looms as an important opportunity for the Barnett government to put its economic house in order.

Barnett’s toughest year, yet

The state government will be glad to put 2015 behind it, but there will be no let up in the financial and portfolio challenges it will face next year.

Tortuous path to law on lobbyists

Eight years in the making, tighter controls over lobbyists may finally become law.

Pressure mounts on state spending

The mid-December budget review will set the tone for state government spending cuts before the 2017 election.

Tensions remain over council change

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

Political marriage of convenience struggles through year seven

The Liberals’ alliance with the Nationals is increasingly fraying at the edges, as the junior partner asserts its will.

GST carve-up key for reform

Reform of the tax system will be hard to achieve if the states cannot agree to a restructure of the GST.

WA Labor faces factional fight

Simmering issues within WA Labor are set to come to a head.

Seat changes test allegiances

Federal and state electoral boundary redistributions can cause havoc in party ranks.

Reconstructing the Economic Narrative

Relentless optimism is a positive quality, as long as it’s based upon the evidence at hand.



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.

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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.