Peter Kennedy

Peter writes the Political Perspective column. He started in full-time journalism at The West Australian in 1970 and covered politics in Sydney and Canberra for The Sydney Morning Herald from 1977-84. He was press secretary to deputy premier Mal Bryce in the mid-80s, and joined the ABC in 1990, presenting both the Morning and Drive programs on 720 6WF, and then was state political reporter for ABC TV News for 11 years. Peter graduated from the University of WA with a bachelor of arts (economics) and a diploma of education.

ALP tyro learns a bruising lesson

Ben Wyatt’s short-lived challenge for leadership of the Labor Party has highlighted the influence of the key powerbrokers, namely unions on both the right and left.

Policy debate to heat up in 2011

Labor’s hoping to open a few cracks in the government’s defences and zero in on problem areas for the premier and his team.

Conservatives to pressure COAG

Colin Barnett is still annoyed at his most recent COAG meeting experience, and will be hoping for a change in tone when the council next meets.

NSW next stop on Liberal train

Colin Barnett may have some surprise fellow travellers at the next COAG meeting.

Forget polls, Libs need new schtick

It’s not Colin Barnett’s style to let an opinion poll alter his course, especially when it involves his path to victory at the next state election.

Libs searching for a new strategy

The fragile nature of the Liberal-National alliance has been exposed by the contentious stop and search legislation.

Buswell back before Christmas?

Troy Buswell’s likely return to state cabinet will require someone to stand aside. But who?

Straight talk from state Labor

Misplaced loyalty can prove costly in politics, and it seems state Labor has finally woken up to the fact when it comes to relations with the federal government.

Reality exposes political overreach

Being seen to be tough on crime was an assured vote winner in the past, but recent setbacks to the government’s stop and search powers have shifted the debate.

Pay claims process needs overhaul

The piecemeal wage and salary fixing mechanism for public sector workers is a political issue that won’t go away, as inaction by both sides of politics demonstrates.

Pressure on over population push

Post-election indications that Julia Gillard is prepared to look at population needs on a state-by-state basis are good news for WA, where skilled workers are needed.

Better numbers a mixed blessing

Colin Barnett has a job on his hands to balance public expectations with the realities of a growing economy, particularly with regard to household prices.

Barnett on top at half-way mark

Despite major hikes to household expenses, Colin Barnett’s first two years as premier of WA have put the government in a secure position.

Who is the real winner here?

The once-cosy relationship between the state and federal political leaders requires a delicate balancing act in the wake of a new Labor government.

Pressure point for Labor ministers

The WA ministers in Julia Gillard’s new government will have their hands full juggling the competing interests of their state and federal responsibilities.

Colin Barnett’s defining moment

As the premier prepares for the 2013 state election, he needs to strike a delicate balance to avoid ongoing hostilities surrounding James Price Point and state spending.

Resource tax sealed Labor’s fate

Not that anyone needed reminding, but the federal election clearly showed the divide between east and west is as wide as ever.

Nationals’ success sends a warning

The rise of the Greens nationally and the resurgence of the Nationals in WA has thrown down the gauntlet to the major parties.

Contests hinge on grass-roots issues

The proposed mining tax was never going to be a winner in WA, and Liberal Party coffers are evidence of that, with the local branch kicking-in $1 million for the federal campaign.

Star turn may not play out so well

Colin Barnett played a star role at the Liberals’ federal campaign launch last weekend, but some of Tony Abbott’s plans may concern the WA premier.

Mine tax funds for Perth Gateway

While Colin Barnett is pleased with federal Labor’s $480 million commitment to the Perth Gateway Project, he remains opposed to the tax that will be levied to provide the funds.

Time to pick up the baton and lead

Through the campaign so far and during the debate, neither Tony Abbott nor Julia Gillard is showing the type of leadership required to inspire voters at the upcoming poll.

Don’t take the west for granted

It may have only 15 seats in a 150-seat federal parliament, but WA could still play a determining role in the August election.

PM ticks the boxes in visit west

WHEN Julia Gillard flew into Perth for the first time as prime minister last week, she had two key objectives.

Biting the bullet on retail reform

Colin Barnett may like to accentuate the positive, but he got a grilling at a recent business forum when the topic turned to retail trading reform.



Union pressure on McGowan

ANALYSIS: The union movement hasn’t wasted any time reminding Premier-elect Mark McGowan that it wants a share of the spoils, even before he has moved into his new West Perth office.

MacTiernan bounces back

ANALYSIS: Freshly recycled Labor MP Alannah MacTiernan has been fast tracked into Premier-elect Mark McGowan’s new cabinet, even though she will not formally start her term in the Legislative Council until mid-May.

Business players in Liberal branch push

Three leading professionals have joined forces to take control of the Peppermint Grove branch of the Liberal Party, which is influential in the preselection process for Colin Barnett’s state seat of Cottesloe.

Grylls, Francis losses a major blow

ANALYSIS: The failure of Nationals WA leader Brendon Grylls and straight talking Liberal frontbencher Joe Francis to retain their seats is a devastating blow to their parties. But it can only get worse.

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Scaffidi gets a reality check

Lisa Scaffidi is no stranger to the responsibilities of public office, which is why the imbroglio currently surrounding her is so perplexing.

Tensions remain over council change

The premier may be lining up for a second dig at local government reform.

Canning a psephologists’ nightmare

Despite the Liberals’ big margin in Canning, the government is taking nothing for granted as the by-election nears.

GST first of many tests for Labor

OPINION: The McGowan government will need to get straight down to business, given the backlog of issues it needs to address.