There is no easy way of saying it. This is a difficult result for our party.
In the weeks ahead, we will take steps to establish a comprehensive review of the election, from 2017 through to and including the formal campaign period.
The circumstances of this election and the events leading up to it made for the most difficult campaign in our party’s history.
History and timing were not on our side.
Not since 1974 has a first term WA State Government been defeated. On each occasion, the incumbent government has either increased their majority or remained net neutral.
Through COVID-19, the Premier’s popularity soared to become the most popular leader in the history of Newspoll. This was in equal part because of the state government’s perceived strength on the border coupled with a strong economy, underwritten by record commodity prices and the significant economic support put in place by the Morrison Government.
The Premier’s popularity translated to support for his government and Labor.
This was a win for Mark McGowan – not Labor. Just a month ago, Newspoll reported a likely swing to Labor of 12.5%, which would have taken all but two seats from the WA Liberals.
It’s an inescapable fact that voters did not want to change the Premier or the Government.
That’s why we were honest with the people of Western Australia that this was not our time.
Zak Kirkup and the WA Liberals attempted to redefine the choice Western Australians were facing with the reality of a Labor landslide and its consequences for Western Australians. Labor, through weight of advertising and a scare campaign replete with mistruths, continued to tell voters their choice was about who should form government.
But we kept on fighting, seat by seat, with a goal to elect as many of our Liberals as possible.
Oppositions have faced enormous challenges and electoral setbacks through COVID-19, both in Australia and abroad. Unfortunately for our party, the political geography was not in our favour and our representation has suffered. more profoundly than others.
But we will rebuild.
Political parties have faced worse defeats in more ordinary times. They have always come back, because they’re built on universal values and united in a common cause. The WA Liberals will come back stronger, by learning from history and our mistakes – over the entirety of the last four years. It will take time, effort and unity, but I know we are up to the challenge.
I want to thank Zak for his leadership through this election.
Zak took on the leadership of our party 15 weeks ago. He knew the enormity of the challenge and the personal risk. But he did it because he believes in our party and what it represents. Zak was not going to let the people who support us and the people who depend on us go without a voice.
Our party is nothing without our members and we will need them more than ever to meet the challenges ahead. We will ask for their active participation in the review that will follow, to make our party better and stronger.
And as we approach the next Federal Election, we will work with unity and purpose to ensure the re-election of the Morrison Government.