Preferences to decide key seats

Preferences to decide key seats


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Nationals WA president Colin Holt said it was clear that Labor saw the Nationals as a clear threat to how Labor wanted to run the State.

Nationals WA president Colin Holt said it was clear that Labor saw the Nationals as a clear threat to how Labor wanted to run the State.

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WA Labor's political preferences could see the Nationals lose up to three key seats and the balance of power at this year's State election.

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WA Labor's political preferences could see the Nationals lose up to three key seats and the balance of power at this year's State election.

Political parties could have been accused of playing politics over the last week with preferences from each major party set to have a major bearing on the outcome of some key regional seats.

The decision by WA Labor to preference the Liberal Party ahead of the Nationals in six out of the 17 seats, was an interesting move and has opened the door for a number of possible upsets in some of the Nationals' key seats, in particular Warren-Blackwood, where Agriculture and Food Minister Terry Redman will now be potentially fighting for survival against Liberal candidate Ray Colyer.

The same could also be said for Nationals candidate for Central Wheatbelt Mia Davies, who will be up against the Liberal candidate Stephen Strange, who will receive the preferences from Labor.

The Labor Party announcement will be a severe hit for the Nationals in its attempt to win the seats of Geraldton, Eyre and Kimberley.

Nationals leader Brendon Grylls was quick to hit back at the preferences by WA Labor saying Labor was trying to destroy the Nationals.

"The Labor Party would rather get rid of the Nationals and just be in a government with Liberal Party and Labor Party MPs," Mr Grylls told ABC.

"It's quite clear that they've changed their strategy, that the Nationals are now the biggest target for the Labor Party in country areas.

"And, that is a sign of credit to the Nationals, that we've been able to build our profile and our role in WA politics to that level."

But WA Labor state secretary and a key player in making the party's preferencing decisions, Simon Mead said Mr Grylls was outright lying.

"We fully support Royalties for Regions and we have recommended seats to the Nationals in 11 out of the 17 seats," he said.

"We are not trying to destroy them at all."

Mr Mead said it made no difference to WA Labor who it preferenced because as far as the party was concerned the Liberal-Nationals were a coalition.

"They are all part of a government that has jacked up electricity prices for every consumer in WA, they are all part of the government that has made life more difficult for everybody," he said.

"So choosing between a Liberal Party candidate for a seat and a National Party candidate for a seat is just like choosing between two government candidates for us.

"Honestly we are trying to win each of those seats.

"They are a Coalition.

"They are governing together and they will govern together after the election no matter what happens, unless we win."

Mr Mead said the Labor Party had taken on board local advice before choosing which candidates to support with preferences.

He said the Nationals' idea that Labor was against Royalties for Regions was wrong.

"He (Grylls) is trying to pretend that we are trying to destroy Royalties for Regions, that is what they are campaigning on," he said.

"But we are passionate about Royalties for Regions and we want to try and improve it."

Another surprise move by Labor, was the decision to preference Mr Grylls in the seat of Pilbara, where he is expected to go head-to-head with popular Labor candidate Kelly Howlett.

"We are clearly not trying to target the National Party," Mr Mead said.

"In Pilbara and Wagin we are preferencing the Nationals' leader and deputy leader.

"We are trying to win the Pilbara.

"I want Kelly to win the Pilbara, I don't want Grylls to win the Pilbara, I want Kelly to win."

Nationals WA president Colin Holt said it was clear that Labor saw the Nationals as a clear threat to how Labor wanted to run the State.

"They don't like the Nationals and they don't like what they have been able to achieve over the last four years and they don't like Royalties for Regions, they don't like spending money in the bush," Mr Holt said.

"There major projects and major announcements are all centred around the city, why would you entertain a rural party to show some influence and I think that is clearly been shown in our preference deal.

"Those preference deals will bring Liberals to those seats and in fact could well deliver government to the Liberal Party.

"So what they are actually saying now is that we will give government to the Liberals for the next four years - because they know that we favour regional WA and people in regional WA matter, even though we are out numbered in seats, we play a pretty big part and they don't like it."

Preferences will also play a key role in organising the Upper House as rural independents Max Trenorden and his teams have chosen to preference the Liberals ahead of Labor and the Nationals.

The Nationals will also preference the Liberals.

Labor will preference the Rural Independents ahead of the Liberals and Nationals.

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