07/03/2017 - 14:02

Hanson drops the ball

07/03/2017 - 14:02

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ANALYSIS: Pauline Hanson has done her cause no good with the claim that there is ‘sheer hatred’ in Western Australia towards Premier Colin Barnett. Labor leader Mark McGowan might be more popular with the voters, but the ‘sheer hatred’ tag is extraordinary.

Pauline Hanson’s claim of ‘sheer hatred’ for Colin Barnett was hyperbolic.

ANALYSIS: Pauline Hanson has done her cause no good with the claim that there is ‘sheer hatred’ in Western Australia towards Premier Colin Barnett. Labor leader Mark McGowan might be more popular with the voters, but the ‘sheer hatred’ tag is extraordinary.

Election campaigns are a combination of self-promotion and, at the same time, distinguishing yourself from your opponents by asserting that your policies are better than theirs.

But to then proceed and talk about hatred is a bridge too far, even in no holds barred election campaigns. Where is the evidence? Is the premier being booed and abused when he appears in public? There might be a few hecklers here and there, but that’s healthy, that’s democracy.

To use the word ‘hate’ straight after blowing into WA for the last week of the campaign is unworthy of Senator Hanson.

Certainly there have been no angry protests of the kind directed at then Labor prime minister Gough Whitlam at a packed lunchtime rally in Forrest Place before the 1974 state election. That rally led to the demise of Forrest Place as an election forum.

Senator Hanson needs to be more careful in her choice of words, especially when the election campaign to date has been marked by its civility.

However, she is on firmer ground arguing the case for small business in support of the Fair Work Commission’s decision to trim penalty rates.

While many employers have ducked for cover (after railing against penalty rates for years), Senator Hanson has put the case for the decision to pave the way for more retailers to open after hours and create new jobs.

Sure, the judgment has the potential to cause hardship for those whose pay will be cut. There must be some means of both introducing the change and softening its impact.

Senator Hanson would better serve her party’s candidates by sticking to the issues that could help to create jobs, such as reduced penalty rates.

In politics, as in sport, it pays to play the ball and not the man, especially when the assault is over the top.  Senator Hanson, please note.

Labor’s modern school backlash

Labor’s plan to relocate Perth Modern School from its current Subiaco site to a new high-rise building in the city has created a storm among parents.

Parents of the 1,340 students at the state’s only selective high school have invited representatives of the major parties to a special meeting tonight to hear their concerns about the proposal, which they say was dropped on them at the start of the election campaign with virtually no warning.

Labor wants to relocate the school to a new tower building in Yagan Square in the city, and convert the existing site into a suburban high school to ease the enrolment pressure on Shenton College and Churchlands Senior High School, which are bulging at the seams.

Spokesperson for the PMS Parents’ Action Group, Emma Gregory, said it was nonsensical to cause needless turmoil in an existing school in the quest for a new school site.

“It is a policy which is likely to see disruption and potential harm to children,” she said.

“Strong leadership is needed to find a better way. This is short sighted.”

Perth Modern School opened its doors for the state’s brightest students in 1911. Its students have included former prime minister Bob Hawke (a Rhodes scholar), former federal attorney-general Daryl Williams (another Rhodes scholar), businesswoman Janet Holmes a Court, former Reserve Bank governor HC Coombs, and former WA governors Ken Michael and Malcolm McCusker.

Its intake of selective students stopped in the late 1950s, but Labor premier Geoff Gallop reintroduced the model after the 2005 state election.

Representatives from all major parties have been invited to tonight’s meeting.

Labor’s education spokeswoman, Sue Ellery, said although she was unable to attend tonight’s meeting, she had discussed the issue with the parents’ representatives on Sunday. If Labor wins Saturday’s election, Ms Ellery undertook to consult fully with relevant groups to ensure the smooth implementation of the policy.

But she indicated there was little room for compromise, saying ‘the policy is the policy’.

Ms Ellery said the consultations would also include the name of the new school. Labor has proposed that it be called Perth Academic College, rather than retaining the historic Perth Modern School title.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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