New environment for political power plays

BUSINESS is clamouring to rub shoulders with the newcomers in the seat of WA’s political power, with the minority parties attracting an unprecedented level of attention.

The dumping of the Liberals has left business scrambling to forge links with a new political power base, including Geoff Gallop’s Labor Government and the Greens (WA), which effectively holds the balance of power in the upper house.

The situation has seen many businesses turn their attention to the green movement for the first time.

Long-time Greens MLC Jim Scott said only a handful of companies had dealt with the party before the election.

“Things are now starting to hot up. Basically, I think now people have recognised the Greens (WA) will have a very real influence on what will be happening in this State,” Mr Scott said.

Mr Scott said since the election he had been meeting solidly with various companies and community groups and noted that he welcomed the busy schedule.

WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy director Greg Johannes is one who recognises the change.

“Many companies will be meeting with the Greens for the first time … some new individuals are not well known and people want to know where they stand on major issues such as native title and workplace agreements before they go in and argue their points,” Mr Johannes said.

Political lobbyist Barry MacKinnon said ignoring the Greens (WA) would be foolish.

“Businesses and industries must always cover all sides of the political debate,” Mr MacKinnon said.

The Gallop Government is also set to have its time fully booked over the next few months, but this was noth-ing out of the ordinary, according to public relations consultant Bill Mackey.

“It is very common for this feverish activity to occur with the change of government,” Mr Mackey said.

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