Cowper: Liberal government ‘bleeding out’ under Barnett

Murray-Wellington MP Murray Cowper has said he would “absolutely” support a spill motion against the Premier during Tuesday’s party-room meeting and the government was “bleeding out” while Colin Barnett remained in office.

He called on Mr Barnett to step down graciously as leader of the WA Liberal party, but said the leadership issue must be brought to a head if the Premier refused to stand aside.

Mr Cowper said he met with the Premier some months ago to tell him he had lost the confidence of the people of Murray-Wellington.

“At the moment we are bleeding out slowly to such an extent that as every day goes past more and more people are losing belief in the government,” he said.

“I’ve never attacked the Premier, I’ve always gone the ball, but now it’s got to the stage after the events of the weekend that a malaise has swept across the cabinet and it needs to be sorted out and the sooner the better, so we can get back into the serious business of governing the state.”

Contrary to reports he would support former transport minister Dean Nalder for the Liberal party’s leadership, Mr Cowper said he would back any candidate with a vision for the state.

“They’ve got me aligned with Dean Nalder, but whoever puts their hand up and can provide a vision –  whether it’s Liza Harvey or Joe Francis’s dog – then I’ll pick the best person for the job, whether that be male or female, pink or blue,” he said.

“You know the sad part of all of this is that we’re playing into the hands of the Labor party, which just don’t deserve to govern.”

Mr Barnett had failed his electorate on a number of issues, Mr Cowper said.

“This is not about Murray Cowper, but about the people I represent,” he said.

“He [the Premier] is in no doubt about where I stand, or where the people of Murray-Wellington stand on a number of important issues, not least of which is the government’s response to the most recent fires in Waroona and Yarloop.

“There are a number of issue in my electorate that need to be sorted, not the least of which is what we’re going to do with the Country Fire Authority, what we’re going to do with the TAB, the dairy industry, and I find this ongoing internal dialogue a distraction from important issues.”

Mandurah MP David Templeman – a Labor member of parliament – said it was a shame electoral laws did not allow for an early election and criticised the Liberals for failing to provide stable leadership.

“It’s chaotic, it’s not good for the state and it demonstrates the Liberal party is not fit to govern,” he said.

“People would be disgusted with the ongoing damage they’ve done to the state and it underpins the fact the Barnett government is really on the nose.

“People are sick of governments looking inwards at their own personality rather getting on with creating jobs and creating opportunities for people in the state.”

Dawesville MP Kim Hames has been contacted for comment.

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