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.

Managing power behind the throne

Both major WA parties have new faces directing operations behind the scenes.

Does ‘Joe Public’ get a stadium seat?

Making sure all parties are happy with the allocation of seating at the new sports stadium will require some nimble footwork by the Barnett government.

The premier and the tycoon

His light may have only shone briefly, but Alan Bond’s legacy remains etched in WA’s collective political and corporate memory.

GST reform? Don’t hold your breath

John Howard says the Senate’s decision in 1998 to water down aspects of the GST was economic ‘vandalism’.

No major reform means no AAA

A top WA economic commentator can’t see a way back to AAA any time soon.

Budget sets election clock ticking

After a horror budget, Colin Barnett is eager to get on the front foot and talk about his positive plans for WA.

Political careers on the line

While the economic wisdom of the state and federal budgets is still being debated, it’s clear the authors of both documents had one eye on their own political futures.

Budget pitch, political repair job

The hard sell of this year’s federal and state budgets will test the advocacy skills of our leading politicians.

Paying the price for political peace

A decision to lift the pay of some public hospital staff above inflation puts further strain on the government’s budget position.

Spud board on chopping block

The premier has been slow to act on the anachronism that is the Potato Marketing Corporation, but a bucket load of federal money might force his hand.

Serious GST debate needed

The GST formula the states signed up for 15 years ago is having consequences far beyond anything that could have been foreseen.

Poll plunge turns the screw

With their leaders unpopular, and trailing in the polls, the governments in Perth and Canberra are banking on getting it right in their May budgets.

Labor goes big on transport vision

Labor believes the mixed message son transport policy emanating from the government present it with an opportunity.

Indigenous affairs need nuance

The economic rationale behind the plan may be sound, but the prime minister and WA premier need to tread carefully when it comes to closing remote communities.

Nationals circle the wagons

Despite the deteriorating budget position, WA’s Nationals won’t hear of a review of their signature policy.

Labor must get priorities right

While acknowledging the issue of patient safety, Labor’s attack on delays at Fiona Stanley Hospital are equally concerned with the privatisation of services.

Nahan reins in nervous Nellies

The treasurer wants to get the government’s costs under control and repair the budget without hurting voters.

Barnett uses Burke to excuse Nalder

Colin Barnett aimed low when Labor questioned Dean Nalder’s fitness for office over conflict of interest claims.

Nationals a reform-free zone

Much has been made of Colin Barnett’s decision to run up the white flag after referendum results in three local government areas, which rejected council amalgamation proposals. It was a humiliating result for a key government reform, strongly promoted by the premier.

Flawed policy comes unstuck

Colin Barnett’s decision to run up the white flag after his six-year campaign to rationalise the number of metropolitan local councils is effectively an admission that his strategy was flawed. It is also a triumph for self-interest.

Budget balance Barnett’s true test

The Barnett government is in a catch-22 position ahead of the 2017 state election, needing to get the books in order without alienating voters.

Lining up the Libs’ next leader

Succession remains an issue for the state government, with none of the contenders to take over from Colin Barnett the finished product.

McGowan sense political shift

State Labor is taking the fight to the government over its economic performance.

Barnett squeezed from all sides

Colin Barnett is in for his biggest test as premier in 2015, as mounting financial woes threaten to drain his political capital.

Alliance put to the test

Simmering tensions between the Liberal and National parties within the State Government are threatening to come to a head next month. The issue? Local government reform.

Happy Christmas, Dr Nahan

He may be new to the role, but the treasurer has a vital role to play in the fortunes of the Barnett government.

Miscalculation a serious business

Young political up-and-comers, and their mentors, should hasten slowly to avoid disaster.

Barnett in for the long haul

The government has thrown out an early marker for the 2017 state election.

Yes, he’s the state’s big spender

Colin Barnett hopes his capital works program will one day be seen in the same light as those of WA political giants, Charles Court and John Forrest.

Barnett in for the long haul

The government has thrown out an early marker for the 2017 state election.

Barnett snatches surprise win

This week’s instalment from Peter Kennedy’s Tales from Boom Town focuses on the extraordinary events that led to Colin Barnett becoming premier of WA.



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.