Pollies scared of media blacklash

27 Apr, 2005 08:45 PM

THE chief executive of the Shire of Cunderdin claims WA politicians are not discussing more equitable solutions to electoral reform for fear of press scrutiny.

Michael Keeble was among those visited by independent MLC Alan Cadby, when he was toured around the Wheatbelt by Merredin Nationals MP Brendon Grylls, to speak with country people about electoral reform.

Mr Cadby is likely to have the deciding vote on the State Government's proposed one vote, one value legislation.

Mr Keeble said he informed Mr Cadby and Mr Grylls of his alternate proposal to achieve electoral fairness by creating more metropolitan seats, without taking any from the regions.

"Their response was a very political one," Mr Keeble said.

"They said they would be crucified by The West Australian.

"All the MPs have been talking about this (one vote, one value), but a lot of them are scared they will get crucified by the media for suggesting something else. "Aren't they politicians?

"They shouldn't be letting the press get in the way of them doing their job."

Mr Keeble said there was a need for more politicians because WA's population was growing fast.

"But if it ends up going that way, why do we need to take seats from the country?" he said.

"We can simply create more seats with fewer electors in the city."

He said Mr Cadby seemed intent on keeping his opinions guarded while the reform was being debated.

"But personally I think he saw a lot of merit in the plan, he was certainly scribbling notes rather hurriedly while I was talking," he said.

He said rural people weren't asking for more representation, but were desperate to maintain the status quo.

"My understanding is that if Brendan [Grylls] goes, our local MP will based at Esperance," Mr Keeble said.

"It only takes a bit of commonsense to realise there are problems with that."

The situation was illustrated by funding cuts to Wheatbelt roads in favour of southern areas.

He said his approach to one vote, one value was based solely on retaining representation in the bush, and that he paid no attention to the balance of seats between parties.


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