Bullock dismisses controversies
Labor's top Senate candidate Joe Bullock and second-placed Louise Pratt. Picture: Megan Powell/The West Australian

Under fire Labor candidate Joe Bullock maintains controversial comments dumping on the party and his running mate Louise Pratt will have “negligible” impact on the party.

But high profile WA Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan admitted the controversy had taken a toll.

Mr Bullock again apologised at the polling booth for damaging comments he made while addressing a Christian group in November, in which he admitted he had voted against Labor and the party could not be trusted.

He was also scathing of Senator Pratt, accusing her of undermining him and mocking her sexuality.

A recording of the speech and question and answer section emerged on Friday, timed to hurt the party.

Mr Bullock and Senator Pratt put on forced smiles when they voted together at Dianella Heights Primary School in the morning.

“I said some things I shouldn’t have said: I do apologise,” Mr Bullock said after voting.

Mr Bullock tried to brush off the controversy in election night interviews.

“I think it will have negligible impact. I think by far the larger impact will be made by the level of turnout,” he told the ABC.

If turnout is down, I think that will adversely affect us. Historically when turnout is down the Labor Party suffers more.

Mr Bullock said the Labor Party was representative of a range of views, just as was the community.

“While Louise appeals sections of the electorate, I probably appeal to some other sections of the electorate,” he said.

He dismissed suggestions he could quit the Labor Party and become a crossbencher.

Speaking to the ABC on election night, Senator Pratt admitted her running mate’s comments had been a “bit of a distraction” during the past two days of the campaign.

“I think Joe has taken his medicine and that’s been very clear over the last couple of days,” she said.

Earlier, Senator Pratt pointedly made the decision to vote below the line and fill in all 77 boxes when she cast her ballot.

“Am I sending a protest vote? No. I voted for myself and I voted for Joe,” she said.

“How it can be a protest for myself and my Labor colleague – that’s a ridiculous suggestion.”

Ms MacTiernan told Sky News the controversy had damaged the party.

“In many places it hasn’t seemed to register, in other areas we have had some commentary on it,” she said.

She described the mood of voters as “subdued” as they headed back to the polls for the third time in 13 months.

NSW Labor Senator Sam Dastyari said he had been told turnout at big booths was 15 per cent down compared to previous elections.

But the tension within Labor ranks over its ticket was reflected by its how-to-vote cards carrying no mention of Mr Bullock and Senator Pratt.

Instead the cards brandished pictures of Bill Shorten or Labor’s three federal MPs Alannah MacTiernan, Gary Gray and Melissa Parke paired with State Labor MPs, including Mark McGowan.

The West Australian

Popular videos

Compare & Save

Our Picks

Compare & Save

Follow Us

More from The West