12/04/2005 - 22:00

Reader Response - When is a win called a win?

12/04/2005 - 22:00


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I am always amused to read Joe Poprzeczny’s weekly back-page opinion piece in WA Business News.

The article titled ‘Conservatives deal themselves out’ (April 7) is a case in point.

At some stage Mr Poprzeczny will have to accept that, for the second election in a row, Geoff Gallop and the Australian Labor Party have won the state election.

Indeed, our 2005 election win means that the Australian Labor Party has won five of the past seven Western Australian state elections.

This, of course, does not make us the “natural party of government” in Western Australia. Of course, each election has been very competitive; arguably the two conservative wins (1993 and 1996) were the only two “inevitable” victories.

I can assure every Western Australian that at no time did the Australian Labor Party take the 2005 election result for granted.

But, nonetheless, we won. We won in convincing style, with a significant majority and a very substantial lift in our primary vote.

That’s why it amuses me to read Mr Poprzeczny’s comments regarding the National Party/ Greens WA preference exchange that “this decision wasn’t as bad from the conservative standpoint as failing to gain government”.

I am sorry, Mr Poprzeczny, but it wasn’t that the conservatives failed to gain government – Geoff Gallop and Labor won.

Geoff Gallop and his Labor Government have done a first-rate job managing the economy and have a plan that’s working to deliver better health care, education and community safety to all Western Australians.

The voters of WA, rightly, saw Colin Barnett as too big a risk to allow him to become premier.  This risk was most clearly demonstrated in the Kimberley canal "at-any-cost" promise, but the risk was also there in his multi-billion dollar frenzy of unfunded and often uncosted election promises, and in his last minute $200 million costing fiasco.

As a business newspaper, I think WA Business News would be better served analysing the anti-business and anti-free enterprise agenda that the Liberals took to the 2005 election instead of trying to dissect the nuance of arcane preference arrangements. For example, how could any person who genuinely supports free enterprise support an agenda that:

  • opposed the Gorgon gas development;
  • called for a 10-year delay in industrial development of the Pilbara region by shutting down the Burrup industrial park and moving industry to Maitland;
  • opposed the expansion of Alcoa’s Wagerup refinery before an environmental study;
  • opposed market reform in the energy sector, against the wishes of private sector investors;
  • refused to cost election promises; and
  • proposed to spend more money on government services and infrastructure, give in to public sector union wage demands, while at the same time cutting taxes, increasing the surplus and reducing government debt.

These were all utterances of Colin Barnett and the Liberals prior to the 2005 state election. They were all part of an agenda, if it had ever been implemented, that would have done irreparable damage to WA, and particularly business in this state.

Politics is a very important activity. It is the uplifting task of improving the society for the benefit of all. It requires proper analysis. It demands genuine scrutiny and rigorous consideration.

Mr Poprzeczny’s columns will continue to amuse me, but I just hope that no-one in the WA business community thinks that what he is doing is analysing politics.

Bill Johnston

state secretary

Australian Labor Party    (WA Branch)


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