WA Liberal leader in battle to save seat

·3-min read

Western Australia's opposition leader is confident voters won't abandon him at next month's election despite polls predicting he will lose his seat.

Zak Kirkup holds his seat of Dawesville, an hour south of Perth, by just 0.8 per cent, making it the second-most marginal Liberal electorate.

The first-term MP has raised his profile since taking the leadership in November but will need to defy expectations of a severe swing against the Liberals.

A Newspoll published by The Weekend Australian showed WA Labor leading 68 to 32 per cent on a two-party preferred basis - a result which, if replicated at the March 13 election, would reduce the Liberals to as few as two seats.

Betting agency Sportsbet on Tuesday put Mr Kirkup at $3.25 to hold Dawesville and his Labor rival Lisa Munday at $1.30.

Mr Kirkup dismissed the figures which also had Labor paying $1.02 to retain power with the Liberals and Nationals drifting out to $12.

"They paid out a couple of days early in favour of Bill Shorten (at the 2019 federal election) and clearly they got that wrong," he told reporters.

"I'm very confident that right across Western Australia we're talking to people about the issues that matter most for them ... I would not have stood for the prospect of becoming leader had it not been for the confidence I have in my district to have my back."

The Liberals' fight to save the furniture was underscored on Tuesday by both Mr Kirkup and Premier Mark McGowan campaigning in Bateman.

Held by a margin of 7.8 per cent, the affluent southern Perth electorate is considered a fairly safe Liberal seat but is squarely in Labor's sights.

Lawyer Matthew Woodall is contesting the seat for the Liberals following the surprise retirement of Mr Kirkup's leadership rival Dean Nalder.

"Bateman is an important part of our community. I don't think anyone should ignore any part of WA," Mr Kirkup said.

"Wherever we can, we'll be talking to the people of Western Australia and listening to the issues that matter most to them.

"I don't keep track of where the premier is, that's a decision for them."

Mr McGowan visited a childcare centre to announce an $11.5 million plan to extend free dental care to children aged under five.

"We'll work very hard every single day between now and election day to put a good case forward for why the people of Western Australia should support us," he said.

Early voting centres open on Wednesday with more than a million voters expected to cast their ballots before election day.

Terms of reference will be released later this week for the inquiry into whether Crown should be allowed to continue operating its Perth casino.

The inquiry, which will have the powers of a royal commission, was announced after a NSW report found Crown had facilitated money laundering through bank accounts held by its subsidiaries.