News Hanson blames ‘sour milk’ Libs for One Nation’s WA flop
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Hanson blames ‘sour milk’ Libs for One Nation’s WA flop

One Nation's dismal performance was nothing for supporters to smile about, but Senator Pauline Hanson still conjured a grin in Perth late last night. Photo AAP
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Pauline Hanson says Colin Barnett should have been dumped as WA Liberal leader, blaming him for the preference deal with One Nation backfiring.

The One Nation leader blamed her party’s lower-than-expected result in the WA election on the party’s preference deal with the Liberals, labelling it a mistake and likening long-serving Premier Barnett to spoiled milk that should have been thrown out.

One Nation failed to secure a lower house seat despite intense campaigning and initial expectations that it might take as many as six.

Although pollsters were predicting only a week ago that the party could attract a primary vote as high as 13 per cent, it appears the end result will be closer to 5 per cent after a number of high profile gaffes by the Senator Hanson and issues with “inexperienced” local candidates.

Senator Hanson said she remained hopeful the party would win an upper house seat, which was the objective of the preference deal, but she conceded there would be some soul-searching during the election debrief.

“Actually doing the deal with the Libs has done damage to us. In all honesty. It was a mistake,” she said.

“We are really going to have to have a good look at this because all I heard all day leading up to this election was ‘why are you sending your preferences to the Liberal party?’

“It wasn’t One Nation. I think it was Colin Barnett – people did not want Colin Barnett.”

She said the two-term Liberal leader should have stepped aside or been given the boot.

“It’s like when you’ve got milk in your fridge and it’s starting to go sour, you throw it out, and that’s what they should have done,” she said.

She also admitted One Nation’s campaign started late, didn’t have a big party machine behind it and that candidates were inexperienced.

But she still insisted that the dismal result – One Nation was struggling to reach five per cent as counting continued late last night – was actually a triumph of sorts.

“You can’t deny that we’ve done extremely well here – there is a place for One Nation in Western Australia so it can only grow from here,” she said.

“Major parties, have no doubt, they see me and One Nation as a threat to their political existence.”

She labelled Labor “liars cheats and hypocrites” for placing the Liberals above One Nation on how-to-vote cards, adding  “they cannot be trusted.”

“If we win seats in the upper house, we can keep the Labor Party, hopefully, honest.”

She told her party faithful at a function in Perth’s southern suburbs that she didn’t expect to win lower house seats, despite telling reporters when she touched down on Sunday that the party had a chance to win the seats of Pilbara and Kalgoorlie.

State leader Colin Tincknell chipped in to nominate the seats of Albany, Baldivis, Darling Range and Swan Hills.

 Federal fallout

Speaking on ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday morning, Federal Finance Minister and Liberal Party Senator for WA Mathias Cormann refused to concede that his party’s preference deal with One Nation was a factor in the electoral obliteration of his state Liberal colleagues.

The deal favoured One Nation ahead of the Liberals’ traditional allies The Nationals in some seats.

“The overwhelming reason for [the defeat] was the long period of time Colin Barnett had been Premier,” he said.

He cited internal polling that put the Liberal Party primary vote at 29-31 per cent, even before the controversial deal was struck.

Predictions indicate the Liberals will record a primary vote between 31 and 32 per cent.

When pressed on whether the Liberals would rule out a preference deal with One Nation at a federal level, Senator Cormann said: “That is not a decision for me to make.”

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