The West

Moore backs Barnett

The Premier insists he is a lobbyist, Norman Moore says he is not - but the new State Liberal president believes Colin Barnett will and should lead the party to the next election in March 2017.

A week after his election, Mr Moore yesterday refused to discuss the Premier's edict this week that he be treated as a lobbyist.

Mr Moore is chairman of lobbying outfit Cannings Purple and works there one day a week, but insists he does not do lobbying work, instead providing strategic advice to the firm's clients.

With lobbying scandals tearing the NSW Liberal Party apart, Mr Barnett appeared to try to head off any controversy by ruling this week that Mr Moore would be treated as if he were a lobbyist under the State code, meaning any contact Mr Moore has with ministers, staffers or public servants must be recorded.

Federally, Prime Minister Tony Abbott has decreed Liberal office bearers cannot be registered lobbyists. Mr Moore is not on the WA register, even though Mr Barnett is treating him as if he were.

Liberal Party State director Ben Morton is understood to be one of a group of Liberals who approached Mr Moore about running for president. Others included Durack identity Gordon Thomson, Senator Mathias Cormann and former senior vice-president Richard Wilson.

Mr Moore said he had not sought the job out but believed those who did valued his experience, regarding him as a safe pair of hands as the party heads into a two-year election-free period.

He said he wanted to make membership of the party, which sits at about 8000, more meaningful by encouraging genuine policy debates. He also wants the Liberals to shore up their financial future by buying their own premises. After decades of occupying a floor of Menzies House in West Perth for free, the building's owner, Kreepy Krauly magnate Terry Jackson, began charging rent this year.

Mr Moore, whose disagreements with Mr Barnett before he became Premier were legendary, acknowledged he and Mr Barnett had not always seen eye to eye but said he had done an "excellent job".

"I have no idea (if he will run again in 2017), I haven't discussed it with him, but I imagine he would, yes," Mr Moore said.

The West Australian

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