Barnett issues law and order challenge
Barnett issues law and order challenge

Colin Barnett has challenged Labor to fight next year's State election on law and order issues as he fired the first salvo with new laws to tackle out-of-control parties.

Rallying the party faithful at the annual Liberal State conference yesterday, the Premier said the Government was not a one-trick pony and had set a broad policy agenda that stretched from Sunday trading reform to providing free public transport for seniors.

In a wide-ranging speech covering the economy, mining, education and health, Mr Barnett said his had been a progressive and reforming Government which would continue to push forward with a law and order agenda.

Mr Barnett said policies such as the sex offenders' register, stop and search laws and prostitution laws had all been opposed by Labor.

"Every single measure that this Government has sought to put in place to protect the citizens of this State has been opposed, resisted by the Labor Party without exception," he said.

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

"Well, I'm sorry - it's going to be.

"People are scared, elderly people in particular, about home invasions, about violent and unprovoked attacks on people in the street."

They were also concerned about out-of-control parties and Mr Barnett outlined tougher new measures in a "no tolerance" approach.

He said key issues for second-term government would include the fight for a better share of the GST, taking aim at Federal shadow treasurer Joe Hockey, who recently shot down WA's GST claims. "If you're listening Joe, this is the most important issue for WA," Mr Barnett said.

"Toll roads are not an alternative to a fair share of the GST."

Mr Barnett said other issues would be the expansion of the public transport system, cost of living policies and broadening WA's economy.

He vowed to again govern with the Nationals. "We are a good Government and I might say that we deserve to be re-elected but you can never take that for granted," Mr Barnett said.

Mr McGowan said law and order should not be used for political point scoring but should address issues in a targeted, sensible way.

"The next election will be more about cost of living issues of families and core services in health, education and police," Mr McGowan said.

Mr Barnett warned that a return to Labor would see unions controlling government with 11 sitting Labor MPs former senior union officials and four more nominated for safe Labor seats.

In a speech that received two standing ovations, Mr Barnett twice inadvertently said Labor when thanking supporters for helping the Liberal Party.

"We all make mistakes," he said.

The West Australian

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