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.

Work ahead of new-look cabinet

Colin Barnett needs his new-look cabinet to hit the ground running in the New Year.

Trainer wheels need some oil

The honeymoon period for the coalition government, if indeed there was one, is over.

Assets sales to plug budget leaks

The state government is running the rule over assets for sale early next year.

Departing Grylls bares Nats’ ills

Having had its influence eroded at this year’s state poll and now their dynamic leader, Brendon Grylls, the Nationals face a tough road to stay competitive.

Growth no magic bullet in politics

Despite WA’s outstanding economic and social growth of the past half-century, there has been no shortage of controversy to bring our premiers undone.

Belt-tightening time for Barnett govt

A slowing of capital works spending and a brake on public sector recruitment are among the premier’s measures for reining-in debt.

Some pain before Labor can gain

Across-the-board commitment is vital if state Labor is to achieve much-needed reform.

A tale of two conferences

WA Labor is hoping to rediscover its mojo on the back of the recent federal leadership contest, and the Barnett government’s inertia.

Remedy will taste bitter for some

Faced with a financial test partly of its own making, the Barnett government may deliver tough medicine now in the hope of a quick fix.

Looming challenge to credibility

The Barnett government is struggling to take the public with it in terms of proposed cuts to spending.

Senate system is broken

The house of review needs a review of its own, but getting bipartisan agreement on the best way forward will be difficult.

Tax reform: playing the long game

Premier Colin Barnett and Treasurer Troy Buswell have embarked on a hazardous journey; they have

Instability stalks Liberals

Bad economic news and some personnel mismanagement are putting pressure on Colin Barnett’s leadership.

Make or break for Labor

Federal Labor’s leadership ballot, which will involve rank-and-file members for the first time, has the capacity to make or break the party – including in Western Australia.

Will GST make the menu?

Progress may be slow at first, but federal tax reform will be high on the Abbott government’s agenda.

Poised for promotion

A coalition win on Saturday will bring added responsibilities for a quartet of WA Liberals, but what it means for Colin Barnett down the track is another matter.

Doing it tough amid prosperity

Colin Barnett is in danger of losing the PR battle over the reasons he’s asking Western Australians to tighten their belts.

Libs fail to connect on power

Those who made the initial decision on the solar feed-in tariff should have been more switched on to community sentiment.

Barnett blows goodwill booty

Expect costs to rise as falling revenue streams put pressure on the Barnett government’s ability to balance the budget bottom line.

Leaders look to hit the sweet spot

Having cleared the decks, Labor has decided the timing’s right for the election.

Spending surplus to requirements

The state budget to be delivered on August 8 is expected to remain in surplus, despite the government preparing for a further major reduction in GST revenue.

Buswell targets embedded imbalance

The treasurer has a four-stage plan to reform what he calls the 'government business model', and ensure the budget stays in the black.

Political tick for City Link

For all the political grandstanding over new rail or road projects, politicians need to remember it’s the taxpayers’ money they’re spending.

Cost-cutting conundrum

Treasurer Troy Buswell has several unpalatable choices in his quest to ensure that his first budget after last March's election victory meets the government's undertaking to return a surplus.

Time for a real policy debate

Just more than a week after Kevin Rudd took back the top job and suddenly Labor’s starting to look competitive again.

Power plays don’t add up

Well-known as a ‘boom denier’, Colin Barnett has added another string to his bow – recession rejecter.

Libs’ money management in question

Taxpayers can quickly turn on a government that’s perceived to be squandering taxpayers’ money.

With friends like that …

Things can get messy when state and federal political agendas collide.

Labor needs to push Abbott

A change at the top is the only way Labor can hope to lay a glove on the opposition.

Moore the miners’ friend, no less

THE resources sector has lost an experienced advocate, and the state government a steady hand, with the retirement of the former mines and petroleum minister Norman Moore after a 36-year career in the

Referendum fails to engage

MAKING predictions in politics is fraught with risk. One prediction, however, can be made with confidence – the referendum on September 14 to recognise local government in the Constitution will fail.



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.