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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.

Barnett’s Pilbara cities dream sours

The key Royalties for Regions project threatens to sap the government as it fends off claims of favoured treatment and political donations.

Fancy footwork from the EPA

Both the EPA and Colin Barnett wished the bad headlines would go away … and to a large degree they did.

Liberals nervous about Vasse

Labor may not be able to snatch Vasse from the conservatives, but it could muddy the waters in the by-election brought about by the departure of Troy Buswell.

Barnett fires up on tax take

A second ratings agency downgrade has prompted Colin Barnett to ratchet up the tough talk on the GST.

Cracks in Liberal-National alliance

The state coalition alliance partners may revert to the squabbling siblings of old if Nationals members feel their needs are being ignored.

Denials amplify Synergy whispers

A recent Economic Regulation Authority report would bolster the government’s case for the sale of Synergy –if it were to make one.

Keeping rail costs on track

The state government’s decision to give top priority to the construction of the Forrestfield-airport rail link is bold, strategic and expensive. To be operating by 2020, the move is also political.

High stakes on school funding

Education Minister Peter Collier has embarked on a bold strategy aimed at reallocating his $4.6 billion budget among the state’s 700 secondary and primary schools. It is a move fraught with political risk.

Heavy wager on Burswood build

The state government has a lot of political capital invested in a successful build of its Burswood stadium.

GST test for Liberals

Pressure is mounting for WA Liberals to lead the way on GST reform.

Big leadership calls ahead

Opinion polls have always presented a dilemma for political leaders, with the temptation to comment when they are favourable almost impossible to resist; but polls can be fickle.

Labor building bridges

WA Labor’s road to reform got off to a good start at last week’s annual conference, but the momentum must be maintained.

Nalder talk drives succession plan

While unchallenged as premier and Liberal Party leader, Colin Barnett has to go sometime.

Seniors savings a pressure point

State and federal governments need to tread carefully when making changes to pensioner ‘entitlements’.

Get ready for the real pain

A stubbornly strong dollar and tumbling iron ore prices will test the budget assumptions.

It’s time … to move on

Labor can’t face the challenges ahead if the party remains focused on bitter battles and disputes of the past.

Barnett takes it up to Palmer

The fractious relationship between Colin Barnett and Clive Palmer has echoes of an earlier stoush between a 20th century premier and a mining magnate.

Slow burn could engulf WA Labor

The problems keep mounting for federal Labor in WA, with former colleagues speaking out against each other in a very public stoush.

Backed into a corner on GST

Whether state and territory leaders like it or not, federal cuts to education and health put GST reform front and centre.

Mixed messages cloud budgets

Liberal governments in WA and Canberra are finding few friends in light of recent budget measures.

Playing politics with pay talks

Savvy union leaders know they’re in a strong position to negotiate for their members when an election’s around the corner.

Gallop pops Sir Charles 'trust myth'

Geoff Gallop says Labor got sucked into the political view only the Liberals could be trusted with the economy.

Voters brace for tough budgets

The WA and federal budgets will test the political resolve of the governments to make the hard decisions.

Reform takes a back seat

The Barnett government has lost the ticker to make the changes recommended by the Economic Regulation Authority.

Labor verging on irrelevancy

If it wasn’t clear already, last week’s Senate poll delivered a stark warning to the Labor Party.

Barnett no longer teachers’ friend

The government can expect the teachers’ union to keep up the pressure all the way till the next state poll.

Preference system needs overhaul

There’s an easy fix for the busted Senate preference system currently in operation, but little political will to take the first step.

New-look team faces the music

Dean Nalder’s elevation to state cabinet may have surprised some, but Mike Nahan has the runs on the board to perform as treasurer.

The Buswell bombshell

Troy Buswell has left the political stage to face his personal issues, but he’s left the government with a few problems of its own.

Does more pay mean better MPs?

The public has a poor opinion of politicians but seems loath to pay more if it meant attracting better candidates.

Nerves ahead of fresh Senate vote

There’s plenty on the line for all contenders at the upcoming half-Senate election in WA, following the loss of 1,370 ballot papers at last year’s poll.

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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.

most commented

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.