Former Liberal advisor predicts political chaos should Barnett government be returned

Colin Barnett.
Colin Barnett.

A FORMER political advisor has claimed Western Australia would be almost “ungovernable” should Colin Barnett’s Liberal government be returned at the March 11 election.

Most political pundits are tipping a bloodbath for the Liberals in next month’s poll, with a big swing toward Labor predicted in most polls.

Jason Marocchi, the managing director of bipartisan independent advisory firm GRA Everingham, is a former advisor to several State Liberal leaders.

He told a seminar of Perth business leaders on Tuesday the best result he can envision for Mr Barnett was his party clinging on to power by a one-seat margin.

But should that be the case, Mr Marocchi said the premier would be facing stormy seas in both the upper and lower houses of Parliament.

“If the government does just get over the line, things are going to be extremely difficult for them,” he said.

“It will almost be an ungovernable situation that Colin Barnett will find himself in.

“Firstly in the lower house, he’ll have to do a deal with Brendon Grylls … let’s assume he wins his seat of the Pilbara.

“Brendon wants to slap a massive mining tax on our two biggest irone ore exporters, and Brendon’s spending that money as well.

“In his mind he’s raising $7 billion over the next four years and he’s throwing it around the State to try and win votes.”

Mr Marocchi and his colleague, GRA Everingham chairman and former state treasurer Eric Ripper, said there was a strong chance One Nation could win as many as three upper house seats, making for an unpredictable legislative council.

“Not only does he (Mr Barnett) have to do a deal with Brendon to form a government in the lower house, then he’s got to deal with Pauline Hanson, or her representatives, in the upper house,” Mr Marocchi said.

“They don’t support the sale of Western Power.

“Colin is going around the electorate promising new schools and all these pieces of infrastructure based on the sale of Western Power.

“If he cannot get sale legislation through the Parliament, he will not have that money to spend.”

Mr Marocchi predicted chaos in the aftermath of a Liberal win.

“Everyone will be claiming mandates,” he said.

“The Liberals will say ‘well we have a mandate to sell Western Power’, One Nation will say ‘well we have a mandate to stop it in the Upper House’.

“Brendon Grylls will say ‘I’ve been returned, we’ve got a few Nats here – you can’t govern without me: I’ve got a mandate to implement the mining tax’.”