Tony Simpson to focus on local constituency after quitting State Cabinet

Tony Simpson.
Tony Simpson.

AS he was about to take part in what would be a defeated spill motion, Darling Range MLA Tony Simpson reportedly said it was good the party room could get “this s**t off our chest”.

On Friday, when Mr Simpson suddenly quit Cabinet he said he no longer had confidence in the direction and leadership being offered by Premier Colin Barnett and that the Premier did not have his full support.

On August 25, Mr Simpson would not comment on polls he had not seen – referring to claims by Labor’s pre-selected candidate Barry Urban that an Electrical Trade Union survey showed the Darling Range would be a 50-50 contest.

Electorate boundary changes shaved just over 2 per cent from the seat’s margin, bringing it down to 13.1 per cent and Mr Urban predicted the “Barnett factor” would remove a further 5 per cent, giving him a chance to win.

Mr Urban had said the Liberal Party was forgetting Darling Range, a statement Mr Simpson refuted at the time.

Yet in his media statement on Saturday announcing his abdication from his role as Local Government Minister, and the Youth, Community Services, Seniors and Volunteering portfolios, Mr Simpson said: “In any case, relinquishing my Ministerial duties will give me more time to devote to my electorate and the task of retaining the seat of Darling Range”.

“Our Government won two elections based on good policies and effective leadership, but has now lost its way and offers neither of those things,” he said.

On September 17, Mr Barnett issued a statement thanking Mr Simpson for his service,

“I understand he wants to focus on winning his seat at the next election and I wish him well,” he said.

Mr Simpson had previously told Comment News there was no specific strategy to retain the seat other than his continued commitment to work hard for his community who will ultimately decide whether he has fulfilled their expectation as a Local Member.

Mr Urban, of Jarrahdale, ran in the last State Election for the Darling Range electorate Mr Simpson has held for 12 years.

Mr Urban was not prepared to disclose his campaign strategy but said he was pounding the pavement and on the phones and said people in the electorate feared privatisation of Western Power.

Mr Simpson said since being elected he had successfully lobbied for a new police station in Mundijong which will be opening at the end of the year, two new primary school set to open next year, and the Byford Secondary College.

A local bus route was provided and free fuel vouchers were given to seniors in postcodes 6124, 6125 and 6126.

“I worked tirelessly with the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale and Planning Department to support and promote the creation of our much needed industrial park,” he said.