Occident Prone

Welcome to Australia’s wild West

Buswell’s gone … now what?

Posted by occidentprone on August 4, 2008

Troy Buswell has quit as leader of the WA opposition. He’s learnt the meaning of the word ‘opposition’ this past few weeks with backbenchers, a former leader and the state’s daily all working against him and working towards this moment. 

Colin Barnett, who failed to set the electorate alight with his personality – and that was against Geoff Gallop – is waiting in the wings. Buswell is in his first term, while Barnett has been a politician for 18 years. 

Earlier today, Liberal forces revealed that Mr Buswell saw internal party polling on Friday night which showed him that the Liberals would be devastated under his leadership at the next election.

It is understood Mr Buswell decided to stand down regardless of whether Mr Barnett can be persuaded to lead the party.

The polling is believed to to mirror a recent WestPoll which showed that the Liberal Party would be competitive at an election under Mr Barnett.

However high profile lawyer Deidre Willmott appears to be standing in the way of Mr Barnett’s return. The political hopeful has already been endorsed for Mr Barnett’s blue ribbon seat of Cottesloe and sources say she is “refusing to budge”.

It is understood party officials are trying to persaude her this morning to put her political career on hold for the sake of the party.

If Ms Willmott insists on retaining her endorsement, it is possible that deputy leader Kim Hames or Treasurey spokesman Steve Thomas would step up for the top job. (Source: The West Australian)

Buswell told media today he was not ‘unelectable’ but that the Libs had a better chance with a change.

Some background from the ABC

Mr Buswell’s leadership deeply divided the party during his six months at the helm.

He has survived two leadership spill motions this year.

They followed revelations of inappropriate behaviour towards female staff members at State Parliament in Western Australia.

In February this year he publicly apologised after admitting to snapping the bra strap of a Labor staff member during a drunken night at Parliament last year.

In May, he initially refused to be drawn on accusations that he sniffed the chair of a female Liberal staff member, then fought back tears when he eventually confessed.

The incident drew national and international media attention and senior Liberal MPs were reportedly furious with Mr Buswell for his behaviour.

He narrowly won a leadership spill in early May and shortly afterwards sacked former Liberal leader Paul Omodei, saying he would not tolerate public attacks.

Another leadership plot was hatched in June and Mr Buswell again retained his job.

However Mr Buswell and the Liberal Party have suffered in the polls and many Liberal MPs seem concerned the party would be decimated at the next election if he remained leader.

Speculation is mounting that Premier Alan Carpenter will call an election soon.

So now what? The anti-Buswell camp have got what they wanted after summoning all their backbiting, white-anting passive-aggressive superpowers but what’s the alternative? 

Buswell was the fourth opposition leader since the last election. That points to something and here’s a hint, its not depth of talent.

So with an election soon, can the opposition to learn the meaning of the word ‘opposition’ and stick it to the government?

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3 Responses to “Buswell’s gone … now what?”

  1. Retarius said

    I predicted this. ( )They thought they were badly off with Omodei…the fools. Now they’re back to “Canal Boy”. Sheesh, I give up. So, what’s our new party going to be called?

  2. occidentprone said

    I don’t understand how all the vitriol and ridicule directed at the grand canal seems to have dissipated and all of a sudden Barnett’s the great white hope. The quieter a pollie seems, the more wise he seems when contrasted with all the me-me-mes grabbing air time and spruiking rubbish — just look at Costello’s recent rise to leadership contention, and he hasn’t said a word.

  3. skink said

    the canal thing hasn’t been forgotten – as soon as Barnett agreed to stand, the ABC ran the footage of the canal debacle:

    COLIN BARNETT: And all the details of all the policies, they’re all here and they all add up.

    JOURNALIST: No, they don’t.

    COLIN BARNETT: Yes, they do – they do.

    ALL TOGETHER: NO, THEY DON’T!

    from Crikey:

    “Remember, if you can, 11 October 1997, almost eleven years ago. That’s the last time the Liberal Party won a state election anywhere – a lapse of time completely without precedent.

    Since then, 24 state Liberal leaders have been dispatched — mostly by resignation in the face of impending defeat. It chews up a lot of personnel. It was only to be expected that eventually the oppositions would start running out of options and have to start over.”

    currently, the most senior Liberal in elected office is the Mayor of Brisbane

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