The surprises kept coming in the wash-up of the West Australian election
yesterday, with both sides of politics scrapping over internal leadership and
While the ALP's factional powerbrokers jostled for jobs in the new Cabinet,
Liberal leader Mr Richard Court defied predictions that he would resign from the
position and announced he would stay on for up to eight years.
Mr Court, who has spent 19 years in State Parliament and eight as premier,
was tipped to retire from politics and be replaced by his long-term deputy, Mr
An angry Mr Barnett, who has never made a secret of his leadership
aspirations, stormed out of Parliament House after the meeting. Mr Barnett's
spokesman said he would challenge Mr Court for the leadership next week.
Mr Court announced his decision during a special meeting of Liberal MPs the
first gathering since the Coalition was swept out of power by Dr Geoff Gallop's
Outside Parliament, Mr Court said the Liberal Party had been dealt a severe
blow. ``Now is not the time to make rash decisions, as easy as it would be for
me to say `well I'm off'," Mr Court said.
He said the Liberal Party had treated him well over the years and he wanted
to help rebuild the party and develop strategy to win back government. ``If I
take on that responsibility, to me, that will be an eight-year commitment."
Meanwhile, the Premier-elect, Dr Gallop, had his hands full trying to
squeeze his ambitious back bench into only 14 Cabinet positions. Dr Gallop
promised during the campaign to reduce the Cabinet from 17 ministers.
But with 31 MPs in the Lower House and another 17 in the Upper House, he is
facing some tough decisions about who to promote to the frontbench. The ALP
Caucus is expected to thrash out the final Cabinet make-up today.