13/06/2019 - 09:38

Liza Harvey new Libs leader

13/06/2019 - 09:38

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Liza Harvey has been elected unopposed as leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party in WA with Bill Marmion chosen as her deputy.

Liza Harvey has been elected leader unopposed, with Bill Marmion becoming deputy. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

Liza Harvey has been elected unopposed as leader of the Parliamentary Liberal Party in Western Australia with Bill Marmion chosen as her deputy.

The changes were agreed at a party room meeting held at 8.30 this morning, only 14 hours after Liberal Party WA MPs learnt of Mike Nahan’s resignation.

The swift turnaround meant there was little opportunity for other leadership aspirants to marshall their numbers, though Ms Harvey insisted her succession had not been orchestrated.

“If you have a look at the series of events over the past 24 months I think you would agree that nothing has been orchestrated or designed,” she told journalists after being elected.

“It has been somewhat chaotic which is a bit regrettable but when you have a leader resign it is untenable to go into the next day of parliament without having a new leadership team in place.

“That is why we met this morning, it had to be done.”

The 52-year-old Ms Harvey is the first female leader of the Liberals in WA.

"I'm really proud to be the first woman elected into that role," she said.

"My great strength that I bring to this role is my broad collective experiences that I have had while being a human being on this planet."

She was elected to state parliament as member for Scarborough in 2008 and rose to be deputy premier in Colin Barnett’s government.

Ms Harvey defended the record of the Barnett government, in which both she and Mr Marmion were senior ministers.

"I stand proud of the achievements of the Barnett government," she said.

"We rebuilt the state, and we needed to rebuild the state to house the additional 500,000 people that came to live here during that eight years of government."

She blamed the state's debt blowout on the low GST distributions during the Barnett years.

Ms Harvey said she would aim to hold the McGowan government to account for the impact of government fees and charges on households and small business.

Whilst professing support for budget repair, she also called for higher pay rises for WA police, just days after the government said police would be subject to the same $1,000 cap on pay rises as all other public sector workers.

Earlier this week, shadow police minister Peter Katsambanis sided with the police union in labelling the pay offer a disgrace.

“Given that the budget is now in surplus, offering police officers such a small pay increase is disgraceful, and I share the WA Police Union’s sentiment that the McGowan Government is out of touch with community expectations," Mr Katsambanis said.

Ms Harvey had been considered a likely successor to Mr Barnett after the Liberals suffered a heavy loss in the March 2017 WA election, but chose to not run for the position.

Nedlands MP Bill Marmion beat Carine MP Tony Krsticevic for the deputy leader role today. The 65 year old has broad ministerial experience, having been an MP since 2008.

Ms Harvey said his experience was an asset.

"Bill has a lot of experience that he can bring to the role. And I think as a deputy backing me in, we compliment each other's experiences and talents," she said

Dr Nahan, who became leader after the 2017 election loss, announced at 7pm last night his intention to step down.

Most of his colleagues learned of his retirement after 6pm last night.

Dr Nahan said it was always his intention to review his position halfway through the current four-year parliamentary term.

He said recent media speculation about his leadership had prompted him to call for the issue to be resolved by the end of this week. This followed the leaking of discussions with some of his colleagues about the timing of his resignation.

Premier Mark McGowan acknowledged Dr Nahan had taken on a difficult task when no-one else wanted the job.

"He had the courage to step up when none of his colleagues would," Mr McGowan said.

"While he has his flaws, like all of us, at least he had the strength to do it, unlike the other contenders."

Chamber of Commerce and Industry of WA chief executive Chris Rodwell congratulated Ms Harvey and said she understood the importance of WA businesses to the economy and to the livelihoods of Western Australians.

"We urge Ms Harvey to set a strong policy agenda for the Liberal Party, including budget repair and re-affirming its commitment to reducing WA’s tax on jobs," Mr Rodwell said.

"Establishing Infrastructure WA, progressing with the sale of the TAB and ensuring WA’s industrial relations laws are genuinely fair for both business and employees is critical."

 

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