Mt Lawley and Perth Liberal members have differing views on preference deal with One Nation

Perth MLA Eleni Evangel. Picture: Facebook
Mt Lawley MLA Michael Sutherland. Picture: Facebook
Perth MLA Eleni Evangel. Picture: Facebook Mt Lawley MLA Michael Sutherland. Picture: Facebook

INNER-CITY Liberal MPs have been dealt a blow by the Liberal-Pauline Hanson One Nation deal, expert pollsters claim.

WA Liberals cut a deal with the far-right party, distributing their upper house preferences to One Nation even above their governing partners, the Nationals.

In return, the party that once claimed Australia was being “swamped by Asians” will preference the Liberals in lower house seats.

The deal caused shockwaves across the country, with Federal Nationals expressing dismay.

Pollster William Bowe predicts the deal puts at least six Liberal seats in peril.

Perth and Mt Lawley, along with Balcatta and Morley, have no One Nation candidates, meaning members for Mt Lawley Michael Sutherland and Perth Eleni Evangel gain no advantage from the deal.

Mr Sutherland acknowledged the deal would not help him, but said he did not believe the party had turned its back on inner city MPs.

He took aim at the WA Nationals, who responded to the deal by directing preferences to the Greens ahead of the Liberals.

“The actions of the WA Nationals over the last few years have not endeared themselves to many in the Liberal Party,” he said.

“They have not been in a coalition but in an alliance which enables them to do what they like; especially their policy of late of a new mining tax.”

Mr Sutherland added Labor had “continually taken and given preferences to the Greens”.

The current speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Mr Sutherland said it was “long overdue to have a good look at the whole question of preferences”.

“Perhaps we should have first past the post which will make people decide what result they really want without having the ‘shadow boxing’,” he said.

“(Or) we should consider a system similar to NZ, with some MPs elected first past the post, and some by proportional representation on a list.”

The Mt Lawley MLA said he was “bunkered down in the trench” with “no major party going back for the ammo box for me”, appearing to suggest he was fighting the election without adequate support from his party.

Despite saying he did not believe the deal alienated voters, Mr Sutherland forwarded correspondence to the Guardian Express, perhaps inadvertently, from a resident advising him that he had lost at least one vote as a result.

Ms Evangel told Guardian Express she had “no time whatsoever for intolerance or discrimination of any form”.

“A significant proportion of this electorate are born overseas, or are the children of migrants, myself included. In this democratic nation people must be free to live according to their own beliefs regardless of where they were born, and to celebrate their ethnicity, sexuality, or religion,” she said.

“As long as I am the local MP for Perth, I will fight for us to be a welcoming community that allows freedoms for individuals and families as long they don’t hurt others.”

Ms Evangel said there was no deal involving the Perth electorate.

“I do not support One Nation or their policies. I have never taken this electorate for granted and if re-elected I will continue to deliver for the people of Perth,” she said.

Mt Lawley was exclusively Liberal or independent MPs held sinces its creation in 1950 to its abolition 39 years later.

Mr Sutherland was elected member for the seat when it was re-established in 2008 and was re-elected in 2013.

In the 83 years since 1933, Labor has held Perth for 71 years, with the Liberals holding it for 11 years and Labor-turned-independent Ian Alexander for two years.