McGowan push for WA Labor cabinet posts

Tim DorninAAP
WA Premier Mark McGowan says Labor's ministry should have strong representation from his state.
Camera IconWA Premier Mark McGowan says Labor's ministry should have strong representation from his state. Credit: AAP

Western Australia should have strong representation in Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's cabinet after the state's overwhelming support for Labor at the federal election, Premier Mark McGowan says.

Labor picked up four seats in WA with double-digit swings across a number of electorates.

Mr McGowan said it would be good for WA to have more MPs on the government side in the new parliament, and that should also be reflected in the ministry.

"I do think they need to have strong representation from Western Australia," the premier told reporters on Monday.

"There's lots of ambition and there's lots of talented people and not everyone who wants a role can get it. That's the reality."

"I just urge them to have strong representation from WA."

Mr McGowan said he believed the coalition government's stoush with WA over border closures at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic was a "big factor" in the election result in the west.

In particular, he singled out the commonwealth's decision to intervene in support of mining magnate Clive Palmer's court challenge of the border rules.

"It was a terrible decision. It was bad for health, it was bad for the economy and it was stupid," the premier said.

"The optics and frankly the decision to join with Clive Palmer ... what were they thinking?

"Western Australians have good memories. They know that the border (closure) saved lives and saved countless jobs and that the Liberal Party was trying to bring it down.

"It was a terrible look. It was just the wrong decision."

Mr McGowan also took a swipe at the supporters of Mr Palmer's United Australia Party describing them as "misfits and losers".

"They scream and yell at voters, they shove things in people's faces. I'm glad that Australians haven't supported them," he said.

Labor remains on track to pick up the seats of Hasluck, Pearce, Swan and Tangney and remains in the hunt to win Moore after Saturday's poll.

That could give the party nine or possibly 10 representatives from WA in the new parliament, something the premier said would ensure the state's interests were heard.

He said he planned to press the incoming government on a range of issues, including more support for remote indigenous communities and the state's stressed health system.

The premier said the election of a federal Labor government was an opportunity to re-set Australia's relationship with China.

"You can have a very strong relationship with the United States and Britain and our other allies and a productive relationship with China in which the differences are dealt with diplomatically," he said.

"I just urge a re-set on the relationship."

Mr McGowan was also critical of outgoing defence minister Peter Dutton, who is among the frontrunners to take over the Liberal leadership.

"He's an extremist. I don't think he fits with modern Australia at all," the premier said.

"He's extremely conservative. I actually don't think he's that smart."

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