Albanese to join WA Labor campaign trail

Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese will campaign alongside Premier Mark McGowan on Thursday.
Federal Labor leader Anthony Albanese will campaign alongside Premier Mark McGowan on Thursday.

Anthony Albanese is set to join Premier Mark McGowan on the campaign trail in Western Australia, nine days out from the state election.

The federal Labor leader will arrive on Thursday for a two-day visit, his first to WA since the coronavirus pandemic arrived on Australian shores.

Polls are showing Labor is on course for a crushing victory at the March 13 election, with Mr McGowan enjoying a level of popularity his Canberra-based counterparts could only dream of replicating at a federal level.

But the premier has been on the back foot in recent days after signalling that WA will retain border restrictions beyond the pandemic.

He was forced to back down from a suggestion that authorities might continue to enforce tracking of incoming travellers to curb drug trafficking.

Mr McGowan also defended comments made at a business breakfast, where he questioned "the full efficacy" of coronavirus vaccines in the context of whether it was necessary for WA to retain its controlled interstate borders.

"I don't know how well the vaccine will work but I encourage everyone to take the vaccine," he later told reporters.

"We don't know how many people are going to take it. I want everyone to get vaccinated - I'll get vaccinated, my family will get vaccinated.

"Obviously having borders as a weapon to confront COVID is a good thing and we're going to keep that in our arsenal."

Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup accused Labor of undermining "an unprecedented global effort by the world's best medical scientists to find a vaccine".

Mr Kirkup has been largely left to fight alone in his first election campaign as leader as he battles to save his own marginal seat of Dawesville.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been absent, leaving federal cabinet minister Michaelia Cash as the most senior Liberal to attend the party's campaign launch this week.

More than 150,000 West Australians have already voted, with the total number of early votes expected to reach more than one million.

Australian Associated Press