THE Pastoralists & Graziers Association (PGA) has slammed Premier Mark McGowan and Electoral Affairs Minister John Quigley for their dishonest and underhanded approach in abolishing regional vote weighting and replacing it with a one-vote, one- value system.
Despite Mr McGowan repeatedly stating throughout the election that electoral reform was not on the government's agenda, Western Australians have now witnessed the first, and certainly not the last, broken promise from the Premier, with the greatest casualties being the voters of regional and rural WA, who will now see their voice dismissed.
It is clear that the Premier and Minister Quigley were only waiting to push through what is the most significant electoral change for this State in 130 years, once they knew they had total control of both Houses of Parliament.
Their so called Ministerial Review was nothing but a Clayton's consultation, especially as the legislation had already been drafted before the final report was tabled in government.
This new one-vote, one-value legislation is not about electoral fairness, it is about improving WA Labor's results at future elections by silencing the voices of regional and rural Western Australians.
Regional people are faced with many challenges often taken for granted by those who live and work in Perth, including accessing affordable quality education, proper health and aged care, as well as reliable internet and mobile accessibility, and it was only through the regional proportional weighted electoral system in the Legislative Council that their issues were brought forward or even considered by successive governments.
Which begs the question, what is the purpose of having two Houses of Parliament if they are essentially doing the same thing?
And for those pundits in metro Perth who support the removal of regional proportional weighting, perhaps they should ask themselves if they would be happy for the Australian Senate to follow the same path, and limit WA's representation from 12 seats to four.
If it wasn't for our regional MPs, who personally understand the impact of dealing with drought, wild dogs, the impact of a ban on live exports, or the important role of GM technology, regional WA would gradually wither until it consisted of a series of open mining pits surrounded by national parks.
It is clear that the Premier has not realised that written on Parliament House are the words Parliament of Western Australia, not Parliament of Perth.