The West

Barnett takes aim at Labor
Premier Colin Barnett. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

UPDATE 1.50pm: Colin Barnett today challenged Labor to fight next year's State election on law and order issues as he revealed new measures to tackle out-of-control parties.

In a spirited speech to the party faithful at the annual Liberal Party State conference, the Premier took aim at several Labor frontbenchers and Leader Mark McGowan, saying he was a "fence sitter" whose position on several policy fronts such as the Carbon Tax, waterfront, major sports stadium and power prices was unclear.

"He will be judged on his policy commitment if he has one," Mr Barnett said.

"If you're going to be a leader you have to take a side on major public issues."

He said Labor lost Government because of five sacked ministers embroiled in Corruption and Crime Commission inquiries and singled out shadow ministers John Quigley for "being investigated twice", Mick Murray, who he described as an "abalone poacher", and Fran Logan, who was "so disgraced" he was "hidden" throughout the 2008 election campaign.

However, Mr Barnett later said "we will not be running a personal attack on any Labor member of Parliament".

"I have never done that in my 20 years in politics and I'm not about to go down that path."

Speaking for 30 minutes, Mr Barnett said his Government was not a "one-trick pony" and had set a broad policy agenda, including on shopping hours and seniors issues, since taking office via an alliance with the Nationals in 2008.

He said it had been a progressive and reforming Government and it would continue to push forward with a law and order agenda.

"(Shadow attorney-general) John Quigley and Mark McGowan don't want law and order to be an issue in this election," he said.

"But I'm sorry it's going to be."

Mr Barnett outlined five new measures to address out-of-control parties, including a doubling of the dog squad and extra powers for police to enter properties and disperse crowds.

Under the proposed new laws, irresponsible party hosts could also be fined up to $12,000 and face up to one year in jail.

Two prisoner transfer vans will also be converted into "mobile police stations" to be deployed as needed to parties.

Mr Barnett said the party had to retain its current seats and flagged an "aggressive" campaign against Labor to boost its numbers in the Lower House.

"This election is very much about Liberal versus Labor," he said.

"They're our opponents and we're going to take them on like never before."

Mr Barnett reaffirmed a commitment to an ongoing alliance with the National Party "no matter what the outcome".

Mr Barnett warned a return to Labor would see unions controlling Government "from the inside" with 11 sitting Labor MPs former senior union officials and a further four union officials running at the election.

In a speech given two standing ovations, Mr Barnett did slip up when he twice inadvertently said "Labor" instead of "Liberal" when referring to which party delegates should support.

"We all make mistakes," he said.

The West Australian

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