Labor's thumping loss in the State election has sparked calls for Julia Gillard to fall on her sword, with party insiders saying the ALP's toxic Federal brand undoubtedly cost Mark McGowan several seats.
Premier Colin Barnett declared his resounding victory marked a fresh start for the Government, with ministries up for grabs and the level of Nationals representation around the Cabinet table an open question.
The Liberals have claimed seven extra seats in the Legislative Assembly and could win more, with the results in Belmont, Collie-Preston and Midland among those still too close to call.
The outcome in country seats Kalgoorlie, Eyre and Kimberley also hinges on the final flow of preferences, with Nationals minister Terry Redman likely to lose in Warren-Blackwood to the Liberals' Ray Colyer.
Brendon Grylls won Pilbara as part of his audacious strategy to retain the balance of power by expanding the Nationals' base but the tidal surge to the Liberals - particularly in Perth's northern and eastern suburbs - means the leverage he was able to assert after the 2008 election has largely evaporated.
It is understood ALP research estimated the impact of the anti-Federal Labor backlash was at least 1.5 per cent on a two-party preferred basis - enough to influence the results in at least three electorates. A senior State Labor figure said the "drag" caused by the Gillard Government's unpopularity peaked as high as 6 per cent, according to continuous polling over 40 days.
"We would have been awfully close without the millstone of the Federal Government but we would still not have won," the source said.
However, Mr Barnett said: "This was not an election about how people regarded the Prime Minister.
"Federal issues, the GST and the mining tax, yes - they were part of the background.
"But this campaign was about transport, it was about State finances, it was about the stadium at Burswood, it was about Elizabeth Quay, it was about independent public schools and reforms in education and health."
Former State Labor minister Alannah MacTiernan said to prevent Federal Labor facing disaster at the Federal election in September, Ms Gillard had to go.
"I think she should step down," she said.
"There can't be a challenge. The only way for us to extricate ourselves from this terrible Greek tragedy that has engulfed us since Kevin Rudd's sacking is for the Prime Minister to stand down."
Federal ministers Stephen Smith and Gary Gray condemned Ms MacTiernan for her "intemperate" comments.
But Ms MacTiernan said she spoke "in sorrow, not anger".
"Unfortunately, people don't see her as a leader," she said, adding that she had developed this view after doorknocking during the campaign.
In a stern warning to the PM's detractors, Mr Gray said Labor could learn from the way Colin Barnett had managed to "manage and balance very real internal stresses and tensions" within his minority Government.Federal Parliament resumes tomorrow for a fortnight sitting period and Labor MPs agitating for a return to Mr Rudd as prime minister are hoping a series of terrible polls may convince their colleagues to switch allegiances.
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