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.

Winner takes all is bad for WA

WA could lose out in the long run, with a likely incoming Abbott government paying less attention to a state perceived to be in the bag politically.

Education move too smart by half

With WA having been short-changed in terms of education funding, it’s clear the federal government is focused on shoring up electoral support elsewhere.

Mugged by financial reality

Get ready for some belt tightening in the next state budget. The fact that it will be introduced in August, three months later than usual, will provide only temporary respite, with all the signs suggesting there won’t be much extra money being thrown around.

Gloves off as financial fight nears

The federal government has laid a fiscal trap for the states on the key election issue of education.

Class warfare rhetoric has to go

Labor needs to get with the times if it is to connect with the mainstream, and re-energise its traditional supporter base.

Labor faces challenge of relevance

Labor needs to get back to basics in WA, reinvigorating its image and getting boots on the ground.

No honeymoon for the premier

Colin Barnett should prioritise his ‘to-do’ list as he and his ministers wade through their election commitments.

Lack of uniform swing hurts Labor

Labor may have set the agenda for the campaign in recent weeks, but the government holds the whip hand due to a combination of factors.

No complacency in tight race

The Liberals may be on track to win the March 9 poll, but Colin Barnett and his team will be hoping voters don’t see the result as a fait accompli.

Costs a factor in big-ticket items

Expect both sides of politics to slug it out until election day over the cost of their promises.

State election battlelines drawn

There’s little new or creative about either side’s approach to the state election campaign so far, with economic management, public transport and law and order front and centre.

Government unwise to ignore rail

State Labor is aiming to trade on its reputation as the party that cares about public transport.

Traffic congestion headache looms

Neither side of politics has yet managed to engage the electorate with a clear and comprehensive transport strategy.

Election is Barnett’s to blow

All the polls may point to the Barnett government’s return on March 9, but election campaigns are unpredictable and neither side can take anything for granted.

Poll call creates governance hiatus

Initially lauded for the certainty it provided, the government’s decision to create fixed parliamentary terms is not without its shortcomings – some of them significant.

Maturity, discretion political tools

As an election year approaches, Colin Barnett finds himself nursing a headache despite not having done the drinking.

Hospital control a delicate issue

Coalition governments are happier to contract out responsibility for the running of government-financed hospitals like Peel because they believe it represents better value for taxpayers.

What about the national interest?

It may have been ugly, but the bitterness that dominated federal parliament this year has set the tone for 2013.

Warning on infrastructure costs

Labor’s John Kobelke has called on both sides of politics to help ensure the billions invested in capital works projects are spent wisely.

Outgoing Eric’s ripper warning

Eric Ripper has plenty of credibility on economic matters, so the issues raised in his final address to parliament are worth paying attention to.

Nationals bank on R4R payback

There’s plenty of political manoeuvring ahead in the regions as the parties mark out their territory.

Libs jettison principles for politics

The Liberal Party has been caught flat-footed by federal Labor’s move to deregulate the wheat industry.

Barnett seeks clean air before poll

Volatile royalty revenues and tightening budgetary conditions across the board pose a headache for the government.

Fear factor favours the incumbent

Despite voter dissatisfaction in the western suburbs and cost-of-living pressures statewide, Colin Barnett and his government remain on track for re-election.

Liberal heartland in open revolt

Strange things are happening in the Perth western suburbs as the state election edges closer.

Time for major change at the polls

An electoral system similar to that used in the US would put an end to the current practice in Australia, where political parties are planning for elections on a rolling basis.

Budget cuts as fiscal fortunes slide

The state opposition will relish the opportunity to highlight the government’s spending priorities after Troy Buswell announced $328 million in budget cuts.

Time may be government’s enemy

Alan Carpenter paid the price for going to the electorate too early; now Colin Barnett may be ruing the move to fixed four-year terms.

McGowan plays on with stadium

Mark McGowan is no doubt aiming to tap into this uncertainty and gain support from the football community across the board.

Gillard’s election clock is ticking

A minimum notice period of 33 days must be given for the campaign. If 48 weeks was right last week, then there are now 47 to go.

Leaders need to engage electorate

While Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott are shaping up to fight out the next election, their more immediate fates lie with their party colleagues.



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.