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.

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.

Carmen under pressure

The third instalment from Peter Kennedy’s new book on WA’s recent political past examines the pressure on Carmen Lawrence to set up a royal commission into what became known as WA Inc.

The Rothwells rescue farce

The second of four extracts from Peter Kennedy’s new book examines the Rothwells rescue and the murky links between WA business and politics.

The birth of WA Inc, and FIFO

In the first of four extracts from Peter Kennedy’s recently released book, Tales from Boom Town, the author looks at the first WA Inc deal and the introduction of fly in, fly out mining in WA.

Smith still a player

Despite ruling out a run at state politics, Stephen Smith has been vocal about WA’s role in Asia of late.

Bishop duly makes her mark

The foreign affairs minister must be thankful she didn’t take up Richard Court’s offer of the state Liberal leadership in 2001.

Pulling the state’s budget levers

The premier and the treasurer are making some headway in their concerted efforts to rescue the budget.

Barnett’s Pilbara cities dream sours

The key Royalties for Regions project threatens to sap the government as it fends off claims of favoured treatment and political donations.

Fancy footwork from the EPA

Both the EPA and Colin Barnett wished the bad headlines would go away … and to a large degree they did.

Liberals nervous about Vasse

Labor may not be able to snatch Vasse from the conservatives, but it could muddy the waters in the by-election brought about by the departure of Troy Buswell.

Barnett fires up on tax take

A second ratings agency downgrade has prompted Colin Barnett to ratchet up the tough talk on the GST.

Cracks in Liberal-National alliance

The state coalition alliance partners may revert to the squabbling siblings of old if Nationals members feel their needs are being ignored.

Denials amplify Synergy whispers

A recent Economic Regulation Authority report would bolster the government’s case for the sale of Synergy –if it were to make one.

Keeping rail costs on track

The state government’s decision to give top priority to the construction of the Forrestfield-airport rail link is bold, strategic and expensive. To be operating by 2020, the move is also political.

High stakes on school funding

Education Minister Peter Collier has embarked on a bold strategy aimed at reallocating his $4.6 billion budget among the state’s 700 secondary and primary schools. It is a move fraught with political risk.

Heavy wager on Burswood build

The state government has a lot of political capital invested in a successful build of its Burswood stadium.

GST test for Liberals

Pressure is mounting for WA Liberals to lead the way on GST reform.

Big leadership calls ahead

Opinion polls have always presented a dilemma for political leaders, with the temptation to comment when they are favourable almost impossible to resist; but polls can be fickle.



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.