Mark McGowan misstep not the fly in the beer Liberals had hoped – WAtoday

Posted: March 5, 2021 at 5:22 am

The whole shemozzle brought out Police Commissioner Chris Dawson, who went on a mini-media blitz on Wednesday to try to distance the force from politicisation during an election.

He told 6PR about how regardless of who won the election he wanted to introduce a legislative reform package, through the minister for police and the attorney general, after March 13 to try to remove some of the red tape around stop-and-search laws for declared drug routes.

Im not saying we stop absolutely every vehicle, what Im saying is if we can refine the powers similar to what we do to protect the states biodiversity meth is actually just as, or even more destructive for our community, he said.

Mr Dawsons ultimate goal is to be able to carry on the same stop-and-search powers provided in an the current state of emergency beyond the pandemic at drug entry points to WA.

Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup, whose party came up with stop-and-search laws in 2009 which it wanted to employ in areas such as Northbridge and Fremantle, has continued to blast the Premier for trying to overreach despite the similarities to old Liberal policy.

Mr McGowan screwed up his nose at suggestions Labor was trying to enable stop-and-search and spun the Liberal messaging to accuse the opposition of not wanting to have more police to prevent drug trafficking.

The Premier also bypassed traditional media on Wednesday to take his own message to the masses on Facebook to talk about how his comments had been misrepresented.

When asked on Thursday if this misrepresentation was by traditional media, Mr McGowan pointed the finger at the opposition rather than news outlets.

Its the Liberal Party, the Liberal Party misrepresents, thats what they do, he said.

He further tried to explain his flip-flopping by stating he tries not to rule things in or out when Im asked questions at press conferences.

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The Liberals are continuing to run with attack ads on the border issue to try to stop its base from voting Labor but theyll have to shout a bit louder.

The general trust in Mr McGowan does not appear to have faltered because unlike any of his predecessors he has the reach to share his thoughts directly with a massive chunk of WA.

Mr McGowans social media post about being misrepresented, which we were talking about a few paragraphs up, had the potential to be viewed by his now more than 361,000 followers on Facebook.

Those same followers have been lapping up the Premiers premium content with a combined 739,800 views for just three recent videos in late February.

That was the question WA Senator Michaelia Cash asked on Monday at the Liberal campaign launch as her opener to try and electrify the party faithful.

She got a pretty decent cheer from the more than 200-strong crowd.

Ask the same question five days later, however, and you wonder what WA Liberals state and federally will soon be left.

Labors online advertising spend keeps rising as votes continue to roll in over an unprecedented early voting period where West Australians have been able to go to the polls most days of the week.

On one hand Mr McGowan had $34,446 pumped through his Facebook page on positive ads where he features heavily in photos with a rotating gallery of candidates.

The Premiers party also spent $17,477 on attack ads from February 20 to 26 featuring Liberals and Clive Palmer.

Another block of ads in Riverton, Mount Lawley, and Bateman turn the oppositions own campaign language of asking punters to vote Liberal locally against them.

The ads, which feature opposition candidates next to Pauline Hanson, criticises local Liberals for preferencing racist One Nation over McGowan Labor.

Labor attack ads featuring Liberal candidates Matthew Woodall and Liza Harvey with Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer.Credit:Facebook

Meanwhile the Liberals, who were chirping on Monday about trying to win electorates seat by seat, are using the rhetoric of dont give Labor too much power which takes them back to white-flag language that lends itself to the Democrats kind of keep the buggers honest catch cry.

Labor is once again flipping the Liberal messaging by accusing the opposition of just wanting the power to block Mark McGowan.

There have also been attack ads from Labor targeting the Nationals over a $75,000 donation from Mr Palmers company Mineralogy to the party.

Only the money in question went to the organisations federal branch in 2019-20 rather than the state division.

The Nationals have been running their own variation of the Liberal total control message and have been doing so for months.

The regionally orientated party has been warning bush voters in its ads that Labor getting majority control would lead to one vote, one value a concept of providing equal voting weight between city and country seats being introduced to the upper house and less country representation as a result.

Mr McGowan has stated such a move is not on his agenda but the Greens remain open to the possibility.

Labor has made $250 million in promises since last Friday with its total commitments this election, not including recently announced initiatives already in the budget, close to $3 billion.

The impact on the budget over the next four years for these pledges is about $2.2 billion as of last week.

There wont be any more big pledges from Labor after Friday as it will make its last submission to the Treasury as part of the election costings process.

The Liberals meanwhile got a bit quiet with their biggest announcement of the week in Malaga for an $85 million expansion of the North Wanneroo horticulture precinct.

As a side note, the Liberal candidate for that area, Dave Nesbit, was nowhere in sight despite Mr Kirkup asking voters at the press conference to back their local Liberal.

Might have had something to do with Mr Nesbit promoting an unproved anti-parasite drug as a cure for COVID-19.

The total Liberal spend is uncertain as announcements are made through media releases but also the social media of individual candidates.

Labor claims the Liberals and Nationals would have a budget impact of $11 billion, but also say the total commitment from those two parties is closer to $16.5 billion.

Mr McGowans party is also running online ads saying the Liberals and Nationals have $26 billion of uncosted promises.

WAtoday has clocked the Liberal promises as being worth close to $6 billion but the party will finally release its costings on Wednesday or Thursday.

Peter de Kruijff is a journalist with WAtoday.

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Mark McGowan misstep not the fly in the beer Liberals had hoped - WAtoday

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