View Comments
Spooked Libs want Barnett to lift game
Spooked Libs want Barnett to lift game

Liberal backbenchers have flagged the prospect of a delegation of MPs using the party's upcoming regional "love-in" to tell Premier Colin Barnett to lift his game in the face of worrying poll figures.

A weekend Newspoll recorded the Liberal primary vote having fallen more than 11 per cent since the March State election to 36 per cent, and for the first time Opposition Leader Mark McGowan led Mr Barnett as preferred premier.

Despite the gloom, a move on Mr Barnett by the Liberal Party room appears unlikely for now because of a lack of clear successor.

"There's no one. Simply no one," a senior Liberal told _The West Australian _ yesterday.

"People talk about Troy (Buswell) as the logical successor but it's quite problematic. He's indicated that he's not prepared to do it and secondly, there is quite a degree of disaffection for Troy and as soon as he took over it would be relentless."

One Liberal backbencher said Mr Barnett had a "very closed office" and an overnight party gathering in Bunbury on February 13 before Parliament resumed could be the best opportunity to voice concern.

"Whether he's prepared to meet a delegation, I don't know," the MP said. "There are a lot of backbenchers not happy. Leadership style is one (complaint). He doesn't consult."

Liberal MLC Brian Ellis, who is organising the gathering, said it would not be unusual for such views to be aired, but he was unaware of any plans to do so.

"There are some people who can get worried, I suppose, about their position and their seats for the next election but that wouldn't be unusual for people to express their concerns to the leader," he said.

Wanneroo Liberal MP Paul Miles said the Government's year since the election had been "quite atrocious" but it was too early to panic.

Mr McGowan said the public had realised the Barnett Government was "dishonest and economically irresponsible" but admitted Labor, on a two party-preferred deficit of 49-51 per cent, had to lift its primary vote.

Mr Barnett declined to comment.