News State Western Australia News Obvious lessons for all in WA election

Obvious lessons for all in WA election

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In fact, it could go down as a first year uni course, Introduction to Bleeding Obvious Politics.

The first lesson is to get the ballot process right. This is a clear lesson for the Australian Electoral Commission, whose baffling loss of 1370 ballots last year triggered the fresh election.

It should go without saying that ballot boxes should not be left next to piles of rubbish.

Lesson two, for Labor, is pick the right candidates. The choice of union heavyweight Joe Bullock was old-school Labor at its worst.

As former Labor minister Chris Evans put it: “We had a situation where two large unions were able to make a decision about the candidates.

“They’re not necessarily producing the best candidates and they’re not allowing the party rank and file to be empowered.” It could yet see sitting senator Louise Pratt lose her seat.

Labor needs to move towards more internal democracy, including a broad range of members and supporters taking part in “primaries” to select candidates.

The ALP could also learn something from the Greens, who used “people-power” rather than money to garner support and stuck to their principles on issues such as asylum seekers.

Getting a 6.7 per cent swing is a remarkable achievement, both for sitting Senator Scott Ludlam in terms of his personal following, and also for the Greens as a party still hurting from a massive loss in Tasmania.

The lesson for the Liberals is don’t be secretive.

If the government’s third ranked candidate Linda Reynolds does not get up, it will be the worst result for the Liberals in the WA senate for 25 years.

Labor research showed one of the big negatives for the government was the fact that the national commission of audit remains a mystery.

It enabled the opposition to run a scare campaign which largely went unanswered.

There was also some fallout from the Barnett government’s education policy, which Labor and the unions linked to potential Abbott government cuts.

The lesson for billionaire MP Clive Palmer is that money can buy love.

Mr Palmer spent an estimated $6 million on advertising, while keeping his lead candidate Dio Wang – who is a likely winner on current voting trends – largely out of the media spotlight.

The Palmer United Party’s three senators, plus Ricky Muir from the motorists’ party, will form a formidable bloc in the Senate from July.

The next test will be how Tony Abbott navigates the crossbenches to pass his key election promises – axing the carbon and mining taxes and making long-term budget savings.