Colin Barnett has continued his attack on the Liberal Party for not preselecting his preferred candidate Kate Lamont for Church
lands, saying she had the potential to be a future premier.
Still smarting from Ms Lamont's 22-5 rejection by party branches, which chose Afghanistan war veteran Sean L'Estrange, the Premier said his party had missed an opportunity.
"An exceptional woman who succeeded in business, in tourism and clearly was a stand-out senior member of a future government, if not even a premier, and we missed it," Mr Barnett told ABC radio.
The Premier's support for Ms Lamont, the outgoing Tourism WA chief and well-known restaurateur, resulted in the party's State council having to reopen nominations after she joined the Liberal Party in March.
Mr Barnett said that, apart from making his views on Ms Lamont clear, he never interfered with the final decision-making process. I didn't seek to interfere," he said.
"I didn't ring people on the preselection committee. "I didn't try to persuade them to vote for Kate. I stayed right out of it."
But he believes preselections should involve a broader base of the party rather than a few branches.
"These are not necessarily the most democratic processes," he said.
"I'm not seeking to overturn the result. All I sought was for Kate to have a chance."
A source close to the preselection process said suggestions of Liberal Party "factions" being at play were wrong and there were only "one or two" delegates "rusted on" to Mr L'Estrange before last Saturday's meeting.
"She (Ms Lamont) was good, but the claim she was the standout candidate is not true," the source said.
"Both (candidates) had a good knowledge of policy and the economics, but Sean knew the local issues better and that's what matters to the preselectors. He has a better political mind."
Mr Barnett said he did not expect Ms Lamont's name to surface in any other Liberal preselection battles, including the seat of Bateman, which is being vacated by former treasurer Christian Porter at next year's election.
"I don't think that's likely," he said. "I think in Bateman we'd be looking for a good local candidate."Mr Barnett said his involvement in the preselection was motivated by wanting more quality women MPs in Parliament.
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