For all the noise, fury and money, in the west the status quo prevailed.
Today the rest of the nation caught up to Western Australia’s way of thinking, sending Kevin Rudd packing from the Lodge.
It was a comprehensive result and Tony Abbott will have a commanding majority somewhere in the vicinity of 35 seats. Labor richly deserved this result after the past 4 years of bitter infighting and division.
Stephen Smith, the retiring Member for Perth and former defence minister, said it best when he conceded the election result on ABC television tonight before the first votes were even counted.
Disunity is death.
Federal Labor’s brand is trashed here by the carbon tax, mining tax and the perception that it treats WA as an ATM, with our disappearing GST share the issue that underpins that belief.
While it did not lose any seats tonight, hopes from the party’s strategists that 2010 might have been Labor’s low watermark appear to be unfounded.
With 55 per cent of the votes counted tonight, Labor’s primary vote had fallen a further 2.6 per cent to just 29 per cent of the total. Its two party preferred result was just 42 per cent to the coalition’s 58 per cent, easily the worst result of any State or Territory in the nation.
Now the reality of a coalition government will bite.
Despite its enthusiasm for the coalition, on the evidence available WA will get no better financial deal from Mr Abbott.
Julie Bishop, the deputy Liberal leader, foreign minister and WA’s most senior politician, has made clear an Abbott Government will do nothing to change the GST.
We know that $500 million of rail funding over ten years is now gone, outweighing an extra $200 million for the Swan Valley bypass road.
And $500 million of funding for upgrades to the Great Northern Highway and the North West Coastal Highway is gone too. Now it’s merely an aspiration to be considered, along with every other national infrastructure priority.
Colin Barnett — who has defined his premiership by “standing up for WA” — has been silent on all this during the campaign.
How he will approach negotiations with Canberra from here on in will be fascinating to watch, and a test of his mettle.
There will also be some head-scratching tomorrow morning in both local campaigns. Labor will be asking why the voluble resources it spent on Adrian Evans in Hasluck failed to make a dent in the Liberals’ Ken Wyatt.And the Liberals’ joy at winning the election will be tempered by a failure to slay Gary Gray in Brand and an apparent failure to knock off the Nationals’ Chub Witham in O’Connor.