Just 111 days after an election that MPs feared could lead to historic obliteration, the Liberal Party of Western Australia finds itself rudderless and faces some big questions about its future.
In a way, Liza Harvey shocked colleagues with her abrupt decision to resign as opposition leader. Most liberals first found out about this when a statement was sent to their WhatsApp group on Sunday morning before confirming it within a three-minute press conference an hour later.
Your future has been an open question within the Liberal Party for months. MEPs became increasingly desperate over poor polls and feared that they would be released on Jan.. March would be heading for an election cliff.
Talk of a challenge went on for a long time, but that window went by when no one raised their hand at the last party conference before the elections.
That left a bloodless transition as the only realistic path for change – and Harvey’s resignation will make that happen.
« I stand aside to give the Liberal Party – with a new leadership team – the opportunity to reset our electoral strategy and give the public a real vote in the March elections, » said Harvey in her resignation statement.
But liberals are now faced with all kinds of uncertainty about an election that is just around the corner.
And the search for a realistic alternative for voters – in just under four months – will not be easy.
Health spokesman Zak Kirkup and shadow treasurer Dean Nalder have both declared their hands and confirmed they will be nominated for the position.
Other nominations may still be possible – Cottesloe MP David Honey and Churchlands MP Sean L’Estrange were previously considered possible candidates – but Kirkup and Nalder are seen as the most likely winners.
As for the deputy, Vasse MP Libby Mettam appears to be a strong contender to replace Bill Marmion, who is likely to be under pressure to give up his plum seat in Nedlands for new blood.
Those who take on the top position have little time to make political decisions and sell themselves to the public as an alternative to Prime Minister Mark McGowan.
In potentially controversial policy areas, such as. B.. a re-examination of the sale of Western Power or a major tax reform, great demands must be made.
Bringing together a liberal team that has grappled with internal tensions for years will also be a top priority.
Harvey had high hopes for Harvey when she took over the helm from Mike Nahan in mid-2019.
She had ministerial experience, a compelling backstory, and what she saw as sympathy and charisma to win shame.
Initially, opposition MPs were encouraged by the results, but concerns arose during the pandemic – particularly about Harvey’s decision-making on the interstate border.
Polls had warned the Liberals could be headed for obliteration, with the party far behind on a number of key seats, including Harvey’s own.
Even so, some Labor Party members believed that the opposition would be better off with Harvey than without.
But some major liberals had resigned for months, and the best they could hope for was to hold their tiny bottom while admitting that there was serious danger that things could get worse.
The new leader won’t have much time to turn the ship around – but from the position he is in now, simply saving the furniture may be considered a decent result by some liberals.
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Liza Harvey, Liberal Party of Australia (Western Australian Division), Dean Nalder, opposition leader
World News – AU – Liza Harvey’s decision leaves WA Liberals facing an uncertain future
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