The Western Australian (WA) Labor Party appears to be on track for an unprecedented win in the upcoming March election after February Newspoll results, conducted by The Australian, showed the WA Labor Party with an unassailable lead.
The results released on Feb. 19 showed Labor had a 36 point lead over the WA Liberal Party in the two-party-preferred vote. In terms of primary votes, 59 percent of Western Australians also said they preferred the Labor state government. This is an increase from 42.2 percent in the 2017 elections.
Meanwhile, the Liberals only received 23 percent of the primary votes, decreasing from 31.2 percent in 2017. The Nationals, Greens and One Nation parties secured 2 percent, 8 percent, and 3 percent respectively, all dropping from their 2017 primary votes.
WA Premier Mark McGowan also received the tick of approval, with 88 percent of those polled satisfied with his performance.
The premier, though has argued that the results should be taken “with a grain of salt,” explaining that there have been polls “wildly inaccurate” polls in other elections.
“We are not so arrogant as to just assume the election is won,” McGowan said. “We have a hard fight ahead of us.”
However, the WA Liberal Party leader, Zak Kirkup, appears to be worried that the polls are correct, which could almost wipe out the Liberal Party in the state.
Kirkup, on Friday, warned West Australians about the dangers of having a Labor majority in both the upper and lower houses of parliament.
“The risk of total control of the West Australian government is real,” Kirkup said. “If the Labor Party got their wish for Western Australia, they would have total and absolute power over the parliament without any checks or balances. I think that is dangerous to our democracy.”
However, Martin Drum, a senior lecturer in politics and international relations at the University of Notre Dame Australia in Fremantle, says the prospects of Labor winning both houses of the state Parliament is not as high as everyone is saying.
Drum says that for Labor to win a majority, the Party would need to win either an extra seat in the metropolitan electorates or look to win seats in regional areas, but both tasks will prove difficult.
“There’s not too many options for picking up seats in the metropolitan areas,” Drum said. “That means that you’re looking for seats in the regional areas, and Labor traditionally hasn’t polled that well.”
The WA state elections are set for March. 13, among the Liberal Party policies, are plans to create 200,000 new jobs in WA and lower small businesses taxes until they are below the rest of the country. While the Labor Party has also promised to create new jobs and has committed to investing AU$100 million (US $79 million) into building a film studio in Fremantle if reelected.