New Labor Leader in Western Australia
Mark McGowan, 44 and former Minister for Education and the Environment, who takes over as leader of the Labor Party in Western Australia, is every bit as smart and focused as his friend Kim Beazley declared, quoted from Washington in today’s Financial Review.
There was little point in McGowan taking over leadership of the state Labor Party unless he was prepared to change two policies holding it back. It appears that he has acted decisively to do this.
He announced a change in the party’s position on Sunday trading. Up until now, WA Labor, moving in tandem with the Shop Assistants Union, has been opposed to extending shopping hours. He has also indicated he would move away from another fatally unpopular policy: the commitment to close down any newly approved uranium mines if Labor were to win office in 2013. In the resource boom state, this was untenable. And it raised questions about sovereign risk and general business confidence.
The Labor Party view is that it was headed for a catastrophic defeat, but the change in leadership and policy give it a chance of maintaining its position and being competitive in the election after next.