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 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.

Court keen on tax change

What chance a federal government under budgetary pressure may decide to cede future tax wealth to the states?

Not so easy to axe this tax

It takes a fair degree of political skill to effect changes to even the most unpopular of taxes.

RPH treatment no emergency

The future of RPH as a tertiary hospital is as unclear as when the Liberals ‘prioritised’ the issue before the 2008 election.

Reform requires political will

Colin Barnett has every reason to cheer the goals set out for the national commission of audit, but it’s follow-through that counts.

Liberals on the money

Well behind the Liberal Party when it comes to fund raising, state Labor needs to rethink its strategies.

Asset sales gather steam

The sale of state assets will always be unpopular with some sections of the community.

Spotlight on Serco following escape

Taxpayers are entitled to know exactly what went wrong when two prisoners escaped from Geraldton Airport under Serco's watch.

Memo Barnett: beware Senate vote

Federal and state issues will intersect sharply in Western Australian politics over the next few months because of uncertainty over whether a new half Senate election will be ordered following the debacle over last September's poll.

Work ahead of new-look cabinet

Colin Barnett needs his new-look cabinet to hit the ground running in the New Year.

Trainer wheels need some oil

The honeymoon period for the coalition government, if indeed there was one, is over.

Assets sales to plug budget leaks

The state government is running the rule over assets for sale early next year.

Departing Grylls bares Nats’ ills

Having had its influence eroded at this year’s state poll and now their dynamic leader, Brendon Grylls, the Nationals face a tough road to stay competitive.

Growth no magic bullet in politics

Despite WA’s outstanding economic and social growth of the past half-century, there has been no shortage of controversy to bring our premiers undone.

Belt-tightening time for Barnett govt

A slowing of capital works spending and a brake on public sector recruitment are among the premier’s measures for reining-in debt.

Some pain before Labor can gain

Across-the-board commitment is vital if state Labor is to achieve much-needed reform.

A tale of two conferences

WA Labor is hoping to rediscover its mojo on the back of the recent federal leadership contest, and the Barnett government’s inertia.

Remedy will taste bitter for some

Faced with a financial test partly of its own making, the Barnett government may deliver tough medicine now in the hope of a quick fix.

Looming challenge to credibility

The Barnett government is struggling to take the public with it in terms of proposed cuts to spending.

Senate system is broken

The house of review needs a review of its own, but getting bipartisan agreement on the best way forward will be difficult.

Tax reform: playing the long game

Premier Colin Barnett and Treasurer Troy Buswell have embarked on a hazardous journey; they have

Instability stalks Liberals

Bad economic news and some personnel mismanagement are putting pressure on Colin Barnett’s leadership.

Make or break for Labor

Federal Labor’s leadership ballot, which will involve rank-and-file members for the first time, has the capacity to make or break the party – including in Western Australia.

Will GST make the menu?

Progress may be slow at first, but federal tax reform will be high on the Abbott government’s agenda.

Poised for promotion

A coalition win on Saturday will bring added responsibilities for a quartet of WA Liberals, but what it means for Colin Barnett down the track is another matter.

Doing it tough amid prosperity

Colin Barnett is in danger of losing the PR battle over the reasons he’s asking Western Australians to tighten their belts.



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.