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.

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.

Tale of two budgets

RARELY do two budgets – Tuesday’s federal budget, which was the last before an election, and the August state budget, which will be the first after an election – send such conflicting messages.

Crucial pre-election budget

The last thing we need ahead of the federal election is the major parties promising to outspend one another, but that’s probably what we’ll get

Gillard the farmers’ friend

The prime minister’s aid package for farmers has carried the day when compared to the Barnett government’s more modest offering.

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.



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.