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Ripper out, McGowan in

It is being universally reported that Eric Ripper will officially stand aside as leader of WA's Labor opposition today, with R

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It is being universally reported that Eric Ripper will officially stand aside as leader of WA’s Labor opposition today, with Rockingham MP Mark McGowan to fill the vacancy unopposed. Ripper had survived as Opposition Leader for three years and three months since assuming the position in the aftermath of the 2008 election – not bad going by modern standards. However, polling throughout the term has consistently indicated that Labor has failed to seriously trouble the government, and a post-CHOGM blowout in the Liberal lead to 59-41 in the Newspoll published on January 6 may have been the last straw.

The decisive moment came on Friday when Ripper was told he had lost the support of the seven-member “Missos” Left, including the party’s lower house deputy Roger Cook and upper house leader Sue Ellery (not to mention United Voice a.k.a. LHMWU state secretary Dave Kelly). This development activated the latent opposition to Ripper among the eight-member element of the Right which had supported Ben Wyatt’s abortive challenge last year, which included both the mooted contenders – McGowan and Peter Tinley. While some who didn’t like the idea of the former evidently gave encouragement to the latter, Tinley simplified matters by declaring himself too inexperienced. There were also at least three members of the “Metallies” Left (Mick Murray, Fran Logan and David Templeman) who saw things the same way as the Missos, together with factional independents Tom Stephens (a long-standing Ripper foe) and Tony Buti.

This collectively made for at least 19 members willing to back McGowan over Ripper out of a caucus of 37. The tipping point having been reached, by yesterday any holdouts among the Metallies faction had come round to Ripper. Ripper’s only remaining loyalists were the “New Right” faction, which is an alliance built around Michelle Roberts and the “Shoppies” Right, together with Ripper himself and his partner Ljiljanna Ravlich (once colleagues in the now barely existent Centre faction). The West Australian today reports that Ripper retained 12 supporters in total, so I presume by process of elimination this must have included one out of Adele Farina (who has a background in the Centre) and Linda Savage (an independent).

Part of the steady drip of bad news for Ripper was Monday’s announcement by Bassendean MP Martin Whitely that he would not seek another term, which came with a suggestion that Ripper should follow his example. Whitely further complained of “factional bullies who have tried to end my career on two previous occasions”. One of those he may well have been referring to, the aforementioned Dave Kelly of the Missos, was tipped by Gary Adshead of The West Australian yesterday as a possible successor to his seat. Adshead also identifies the proposal which has been floated for Nollamara MP Janine Freeman (whose seat has been renamed Mirrabooka in the redistribution) to recover Morley from the Liberals as being motivated by a desire to gain a further seat for the Missos, and further reports the faction has designs on Ripper’s own seat of Belmont. It had earlier been reported the seat might be of interest to state secretary Simon Mead, who is also associated with the faction.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, is one of the most heavily trafficked forums for online discussion of Australian politics, and joined the Crikey stable in 2008.

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100 comments

100 thoughts on “Ripper out, McGowan in

  1. Have confined my comments to other WA PBers at this point.

    Tough game politics. I heard a good comment attributed to Lyndon Johnstone – apparently – to the effect that (being in politics) if you wanted a “friend” get a dog!

    A grim but accurate insight though I am told there are some strange across-the-chamber friendships right now in Oz.

    I guess its like any work place – you have to work with some people but you don’t have to be or want to be friends.

  2. Bilbo’s former Boss Sayz 🙂

    [Political analyst from Notre Dame University in Fremantle Martin Drum says Mr McGowan will have his work cut out for him.

    “A further challenge for Labor will be coming up with policies that capitalise on one of their central themes which is the increased cost of living in WA,” he said.

    “So they need to say what they are going to do about that and how their approach may differ from that of the current government.”

    Dr Drum also says the state Labor party is undergoing a process of rejuvenation, with at least four MPs deciding not to contest the next election.

    Eric Ripper joins Kimberley MP Carol Martin, Pilbara MP Tom Stephens and the member for Bassendean Martin Whitely who have already announced they will not run in the March 2012 ballot.

    Dr Drum says it is not uncommon for a number of MPs to leave politics after a period in Opposition.

    “The Labor party at the moment sees this an an opportunity to bring in a few new faces and for some of the people that have been around a while to stand aside and to get new candidates in, and I suppose that’s evident in the retirements of people like Martin Whitely and Tom Stephens,” he said.
    ]

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-01-19/mcgowan-to-focus-on-cost-of-living-in-next-election/3782560

    Btw I knew Dr Drum whn he was a but humble Electorate Officer for the Memember for Swan Hills in 2002 🙂

  3. I heard M this morning and there seemed a bit on an edge to what he had to say.

    Eric always sounded reasonable and balanced but this did not seem to cut any ice with much of the electorate.

    Labor can win the next election.

    It was galling to see how easily the last one was lost to the damn conservatives. I largely blame Carpenter for his lack of political nous.

    For instance, Bob Kucera, in Mt Lawley, was a high profile member recognised by the elderly in his predominantly, as it was then, old-demographic electorate. He was not re-endorsed despite his high profile although the electorate boundaries had changed a little.

    Nonetheless, some young hopeful was parachuted into what was essentially his seat, and now we have a right-wing ex-Jappie as a member.

    It was apparent that high profile Labor candidates got back in while the young hopefuls, fresh out of Labor back office, did not know which way was up.

    At one booth I was at lots of hopeful – probably Labor voters – did not even know the name of the Labor candidate but the Liberal one was there and had been on display for weeks on a trailer on the corner of a very busy street.

  4. [At one booth I was at lots of hopeful – probably Labor voters – did not even know the name of the Labor candidate but the Liberal one was there and had been on display for weeks on a trailer on the corner of a very busy street.]

    you can thank that huge donation from the 500 Club for that.

  5. You could blame the 500 club but you could also blame the weather, if you were sensible you’d look at candidate selection – if if you have yet learned that factions aren’t infallible you could start to consider how long you might give the wildly inappropriate preselected candidates to find their seats and establish networks to help in the campaign before you called the suicide early election.

    For west swan I understand there are three or four potential candidates that all will start well ahead of your friend Rita so unless she is identified as at risk and had union guys flown in to man booths she could well suffer the same fate and it will have zero to do with the 500 club.

  6. [59

    WeWantPaul

    Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    You could blame the 500 club but you could also blame the weather, if you were sensible you’d look at candidate selection – if if you have yet learned that factions aren’t infallible you could start to consider how long you might give the wildly inappropriate preselected candidates to find their seats and establish networks to help in the campaign before you called the suicide early election.

    For west swan I understand there are three or four potential candidates that all will start well ahead of your friend Rita so unless she is identified as at risk and had union guys flown in to man booths she could well suffer the same fate and it will have zero to do with the 500 club.
    ]

    Yeah Yeah

    Factiopns BOOO

    Get a new bloody Record

  7. WWP I think you will find that Rita has already established a strong network including a ALP branch of community members and a strong local support base.

    Judging by her functions etc she has built up quite a following.

    I’m not sure that unions on polling booths as you claim would be the required.

  8. [62

    Woeisme

    Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    WWP I think you will find that Rita has already established a strong network including a ALP branch of community members and a strong local support base.

    Judging by her functions etc she has built up quite a following.

    I’m not sure that unions on polling booths as you claim would be the required.
    ]

    Exactly.

    WWP is once again talking out of his arsk – and once again showing his lack of local knowledge.

    His verballing of her stance on the Ellembrook Railway is a prime example where I heard from her own mouth at her Xmas Drinks that the Ellenbrook Rail line will be one of her major platforms this year.

  9. Would be great to be wrong, and a marginal would expect an injection of extra helped for unions in any event. Not to say West Swan is a marginal.

    As would be great if she recommits to the Ellenbrook Railway which despite his constant claims the documents Frank himself posted showed the railway had slipped into the maybe category and was not the definite commitment category; which is exactly what I heard.

    But talking absolute rubbish despite the obvious facts is a personal second favorite of his after mindless abuse.

  10. [64

    WeWantPaul

    Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    Would be great to be wrong, and a marginal would expect an injection of extra helped for unions in any event. Not to say West Swan is a marginal.

    As would be great if she recommits to the Ellenbrook Railway which despite his constant claims the documents Frank himself posted showed the railway had slipped into the maybe category and was not the definite commitment category; which is exactly what I heard.

    But talking absolute rubbish despite the obvious facts is a personal second favorite of his after mindless abuse.
    ]

    Were YOU at Rita’s functions where she committed to the Railway ?

    I was.

    End of story.

    Might be an idea to quit while you’re well and truly behind.

    Oh and I don’t rely on the boheyman of Unions and Fsctions to attack.

    You must be pissed off they saw through your complete and utter BS you post here.

  11. [WeWantPaul

    Posted Thursday, January 19, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    All the hard evidence you produced supported me … go read it.
    ]

    Wrong as per usual.

    Oh and the Transport Committee is more than Ken travers you know.

    I suggest you stop relying on your liberal clowns

  12. Missed this from Jon Ford’s Twitter stream re that so -called Powerbrokeers meeting that the ABC led with last Thursday:

    [

    fordmpJon Ford

    @AshleeMullany & the AMWU meets before every State X meeting. The ABC asked me 2 days ago if I supported a leadership change & I said no!!

    12 Jan FavoriteRetweetReply

    fordmpJon Ford

    @

    @AshleeMullany hey having a ABC camera stuck in my face without a journo doesn’t confirm a meeting to discuss anything,this story is fantasy

    12 Jan FavoriteRetweetReply]

  13. (he used to be, but Chris Tallentire is the key MP there now, and we get regular visits from a number of people including one Mark McGowan.)

  14. [
    Andrew Owens

    Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Not actually sure if I’m meant to say this, but Ken Travers isn’t even the designated MP on the UP&T committee.

    72

    Andrew Owens

    Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    (he used to be, but Chris Tallentire is the key MP there now, and we get regular visits from a number of people including one Mark McGowan.)

    ]

    Thanks for that 🙂

  15. From the above link

    [
    LABOR’S slated new leader in Western Australia has declared Tony Abbott likely to be the next prime minister and urged his federal counterparts to “let him” go through with a pledge to repeal the mining tax.

    “You would have to say he’s (Tony Abbott) the favourite nationally to become the prime minister,” Mark McGowan said on ABC Radio yesterday. “That’s what the opinion polls say.”

    He said the federal Opposition Leader’s declaration to repeal the minerals resource rent tax was a bluff but his federal Labor colleagues should not stand in the way.

    “If he decides to attempt to deliver on it, my view would be let him because then he will have enormous problems when he has to wind back tax cuts and take away people’s superannuation and infrastructure,” the soon-to-be West Australian opposition leader said.

    “That will be his problem. It’s just a bit of friendly advice (to federal Labor MPs) . . . call his bluff because if you call his bluff then he has to find another $11 billion or thereabouts in that loss of income.”
    ]

  16. Patricia from WA:
    [A pity that Alannah McTiernan didn’t get the leadership earlier and now seems unlikely to come back into state politics. She’d have wiped the floor with Barnett and made a great Premier. ]

    Have to agree there. Alannah’s biggest asset is substance – she was one of the most intelligent and capable frontbench forces in WA Labor, and I think she’d make an excellent premier, but is correct about her chances of the party letting her. I think Ripper did the best job he could at it, although I foresaw 3 years ago that he was put in as a caretaker leader as neither Cook nor McGowan was ready (and forget Wyatt – my by-election run against him aside, he’s a very weak contender and is a follower, not a leader).

    We’ll never have another Gallop, but McGowan is the best chance we have of breaking through – his military days give him a directness and thoroughness we’re not used to seeing in politicians, and he’s intelligent. Labor when it’s dominated has done so through *not* being presidential – they can have a reasonable front bench team with divided responsibilities and a level of factional compromise, and with the exception of Porter, Hames, Grylls and Day, the Barnett cabinet is utterly useless, so it should be fun to watch.

  17. [We’ll never have another Gallop, but McGowan is the best chance we have of breaking through – his military days give him a directness and thoroughness we’re not used to seeing in politicians, and he’s intelligent. Labor when it’s dominated has done so through *not* being presidential – they can have a reasonable front bench team with divided responsibilities and a level of factional compromise, and with the exception of Porter, Hames, Grylls and Day, the Barnett cabinet is utterly useless, so it should be fun to watch.]

    Though why they run Presidential style campaigns is beyond me – Barnett at his Campaign Launch looked so fake – yet they Criticised Carps – and I was there for te latter – shook his hand as well 🙂

  18. I was there too… was pretty crazy! Carpenter failed to convince me with his delivery, it sounded forced. I also shook his hand at the lunch afterwards.

  19. [79

    Andrew Owens

    Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 at 3:16 am | Permalink

    I was there too… was pretty crazy! Carpenter failed to convince me with his delivery, it sounded forced. I also shook his hand at the lunch afterwards.
    ]

    I shook his hand as he approached the lectern – got on TV 🙂 I was the one in the Wheelchairf 🙂

  20. Mark McGowan is getting a very nice run from The West with all this “Labor’s fresh start” stuff. The banner on top of page 6 today could almost be an advertisement for a “new and improved” ALP.

  21. [William Bowe

    Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Mark McGowan is getting a very nice run from The West with all this “Labor’s fresh start” stuff. The banner on top of page 6 today could almost be an advertisement for a “new and improved” ALP.
    ]

    Yep, but did you check out Adshead’s video ?

  22. [Tricot

    Posted Friday, January 20, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    As did the PM on her elevation to her new job.

    The West said a lot of nice things back then. Not so kind now.
    ]

    Mind you McGowan has said the right things re the Mining Tax – but when it comes to something else owned by Stokes – well watch the wind change.

  23. Oh Dear – ALP Spin in a Govt Majority Committee ?? Joe Francis should stop playing with his Ute:

    [
    JandakotJoeJoe Francis MLA

    Gotta love those power polls that just started rotting 3 years ago and where all perfect under ALP govt. More unbelievable ALP spin….

    1 hour ago

    papsMLAPaul Papalia

    @

    @JandakotJoe Dude poor spelling undermines your sledging – happy to red pen your pisstakes prior to transmission if it will be of assistance

    41 minutes ago

    Barnsy_LisaLisa Barnes

    @

    @papsMLA @JandakotJoe Hilarious!!! #easilyamused

    36 minutes ago

    in reply to ↑

    @BillJohnstonMLABill Johnston

    @Barnsy_Lisa @papsmla @jandakotjoe ALP spin in a report by a Govt-majority, Govt Chaired report? Is that a lie, or more Liberal spin?]

  24. [ Oh and Josh Byrne has withdrawn as the ALPCCandidate for Freo – due to Crirticism of his Celebrity Status etc ]

    That’s weird – he could’ve won it for them. Who are they gonna get now, Tagliaferri again?

    William at 84: McGowan’s getting a good run from the paper, but a terrible one from Alston – two cartoons in as many days.

  25. [Bird of paradox

    Posted Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Oh and Josh Byrne has withdrawn as the ALPCCandidate for Freo – due to Crirticism of his Celebrity Status etc

    That’s weird – he could’ve won it for them. Who are they gonna get now, Tagliaferri again?
    ]

    According to the Hearld article a couple of East Freo Councillors and an AMWU person are in the running

  26. Well Frank here is hoping a strong local network, a strong promise to build the train on a short term specific committed timeline and her margin should have your friend safe as houses.