WA Liberal Leader Dr David Honey today launched a statewide Liberal Party campaign in Broome to oppose the McGowan Labor Government’s arrogant plan to massively reduce regional political representation in State Parliament.
Dr Honey said that the announcement on 30 April 2021 by the State Government of a Ministerial Expert Committee to review the electoral system in regional Western Australia and seek public submissions by the end of May 2021 was scandalous.
“It is scandalous because Premier Mark McGowan repeatedly assured regional voters during the State election campaign that electoral reform was not a priority for his Government,” Dr Honey said.
“Labor has therefore no electoral mandate to slash regional representation and has arrogantly sought to do so within just weeks of the last State election.
“It is scandalous that the people in regional Western Australia have only 22 days left to make submissions to this Ministerial Expert Committee.
“This is a cynical strategy to reduce public debate on this critical issue as much as possible.
“And it is scandalous that members of this expert committee have publicly endorsed reducing regional representation and will now take this pre-determined position when reviewing submissions.
“The Government is trying to give a veil of respectability to the process by forming a Ministerial Expert Committee headed by the highly respected Hon Malcolm McCusker, but stacked with people who already have a firm view of the outcome.
“We will work closely with the National Party in ensuring that the political rights of regional Western Australia are not stolen by stealth.”
Dr Honey said that the statewide campaign would begin today with the launch of a parliamentary petition which has been organised by Liberal Upper House member elect for the Mining and Pastoral Region, Neil Thomson.
Mr Thomson said he has organised the petition to bring electors urgent attention to the cynical short deadline for submissions and also rally opposition against the establishment of this fundamentally biased Ministerial Expert Committee.
“The reality is that Mark McGowan wants to ram through a massive reduction in regional political representation within weeks of his election and with the minimum of public debate,” Mr Thomson said.
“Most people in regional Western Australia are simply unaware that this committee even exists and that they have until the end of May to fight for their vote when submissions close.
“Voters in regional areas who voted for Labor candidates such as Kyle McGinn did so because they publicly stated they were opposed to any reduction in political representation in regional areas.
“I now call on these Labor elected politicians to publicly demonstrate their commitment to protecting the voting rights of regional Western Australians by signing this petition which states that the Labor Party has no mandate to undertake such a policy and that the political representation of regional voters should be protected.”