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Joe Bullock holds out hope for running mate Louise Pratt in WA election

Date

James Massola, Matthew Knott

Controversial Labor senator-elect Joe Bullock says his running mate Louise Pratt could still claim the sixth spot on the Senate ticket.

And Mr Bullock, who has previously argued the ALP needs to distinguish itself from the Greens, said on Monday he believed the party needed to reclaim the political middle ground rather than chase votes on the political Left.

Speaking to Fairfax Media in his central Perth office on Monday, a cautious Mr Bullock admitted he had endured a "rough week" after a recording of him describing ALP members as "mad” and disparaging Senator Pratt emerged in the final days of the Senate by-election campaign.

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Greens savour WA result

It's not just Labor struggling in Western Australia - Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says the Liberal vote is also in long-term decline.

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The senator acknowledged many in the ALP were blaming him for Ms Pratt’s struggle to hang on to her seat but said he was hopeful she would still claim the seat.

“I am optimistic that Louise is in with a real shot, but we have to wait until the count is complete. The Palmer vote will slowly come down, he got a surge in the final weeks,’’ he said.

With 68 per cent of the vote counted, Coalition candidates, including number three candidate Linda Reynolds, were on track to win three Senate seats in the west, while the ALP, Greens and Palmer United Party are each on track to pick up one.

However, Mr Bullock said, Palmer candidate Dio Wang may end up relying heavily on Ms Reynolds’ preferences to secure a quota, which could lead to Ms Pratt sneaking through.

Asked about the furore created by his controversial comments Mr Bullock said he “did not want to comment on that at all”. He said he would remain focused on his job as secretary of the WA branch of the Shop, Distributive and Allied workers union until he takes his place in the Senate in July.

Senator Bullock’s comments came as his predecessor in the Senate, Mark Bishop, warned the ALP could be overtaken by the Greens as the dominant progressive party in the state in the wake of its “disastrous” WA Senate performance.

Labor suffered a 5 per cent swing against it at Saturday’s WA Senate re-run, leaving the party languishing with a primary vote of 22 per cent. The party may be left with only three senators in WA - sitting senators Sue Lines and Glenn Sterle and former union boss Joe Bullock - if Senator Pratt misses out.

“This is a disastrous outcome for the ALP - I think it’s virtually unprecedented,” Mr Bishop said,

“The Greens are now no longer in this state to be regarded as a minor party,” he said. “They are now virtually on equal terms [as Labor].”

Mr Bishop said Labor’s support for the carbon and mining taxes had damaged the party in the west. The focus on east-coast matters such as the declining manufacturing sector also played a role.

"The mining tax, the carbon tax have been an ongoing problem for at least five years [for the ALP] …why on God’s green earth we defend a failed tax that doesn’t raise money I will never understand."

Finance Minister Mathias Cormann seized on Senator Bishop’s comments on Monday, arguing Labor’s WA vote had collapsed because of the anti-WA carbon and mining taxes.

"We don't want Labor's mining tax, we don't want Labor’s carbon tax,” he said.

"Labor should listen to their own senator for Western Australia, Mark Bishop, and stop defending a failed, anti-Western Australian tax,"

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29 comments

  • The reason the mining tax hasn't raised any revenue is that the
    miners were allowed to get all the construction deduction up
    front. Now when construction is finished and production is starting
    the tax will raise revenue that will be used to lower tax for other
    Australian businesses. The reason the miners agreed to the tax
    was that they bet Abbott would get in (they certainly contributed
    enough) and stop it before it cost them money.

    Commenter
    Greven
    Date and time
    April 08, 2014, 7:10AM
    • Gillard and Swan were so desperate to get the MRRT deal done they agreed to deductions of retrospective costs going back decades.

      Even if the MRRT remains it will be many years yet before it raises anything like what was "projected" by the ALP.

      Commenter
      Andie
      Date and time
      April 08, 2014, 9:30AM
    • Absolutely, Abbott is going to "gift" the mining industry, which is 80% foreign owned, with billions and he's going to "fix" the budget by slugging the hell out of those on average incomes

      Meanwhile, through a sensible plan based on a base level of government ownership and a mining super profits tax Norway has used the windfall from the mining boom to build a sovereign fund that is now the equivalent of one years GDP, last year they used 5% from the fund to build a new hospital

      Commenter
      havasay
      Date and time
      April 08, 2014, 9:41AM
    • @Greven: The proposed mining tax repeal by the Abbott government is one of the great con jobs in Australian political history. When will the mug punters wake up to the simple fact that we must maximise the benefits of the resources boom because these resources are a one off finite asset that can never be replaced. The crocodile tears being shed by the mainly foreign owned mining companies is theatre at its greedy exploitative best. When the last shovel of irone ore or coal is extracted, its back to Zurich and the champagne corks will start popping. Got away with that one will be the toast or the boast.

      Commenter
      JohnC
      Location
      Gosford NSW
      Date and time
      April 08, 2014, 9:56AM
    • This is yet another excuse for another Labor failure. I think outgoing ALP member Mark Bishop, described Labor in a nutshell. He is reported as saying that Labor was out of touch with WA voters. Mr Bishop is also reported as saying what most people already know : “Why on God’s green Earth we defend a failed tax that doesn’t raise money, I will never understand.”
      When your own people are attacking you, you know something is really terribly wrong with your party.

      Commenter
      Mark
      Date and time
      April 08, 2014, 10:07AM
    • Abbott opposed the mining resources rent tax (MRRT) but supported the petroleum resources rent tax (PRRT).

      Hypocrite much?

      Commenter
      Tristan
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      April 08, 2014, 10:08AM
    • JohnC, Nup once it's all dug up, then we can flog off the holes. Could always turn them into that idiotic thought bubble of dams in every imaginable spot. Tough luck about the state of rivers and marine life dependant on flows.

      Commenter
      A country gal
      Date and time
      April 08, 2014, 10:21AM
  • How do the latte lefties look at themselves in the mirror each morning.

    Their political party is infested with union representitives

    They are funded by money slushed away from hard working union members who would probable want the money spent on better union services for them.

    Finally their public political voice is funded by redneck taxpayers. You know the ones they hate.

    Oh to be a latte leftie ! to have such STRONG political views but not have to pay for them

    Commenter
    abc
    Date and time
    April 08, 2014, 7:11AM
    • Is a Latte Lefty the opposite of a Rabid Righty ???!! Just wondering....
      "How do the latte lefties look at themselves in the mirror each morning." ...pretty easily actually. I do it every morning just before I start work earning money for my multi million dollar turnover small business. I do actually prefer cappaccinos in the morning, lattes I drink in the afternoon.
      "Finally their public political voice is funded by redneck taxpayers. You know the ones they hate." That one you'll have to rewrite in understandable English ....

      Commenter
      Lefty
      Date and time
      April 08, 2014, 1:18PM
  • Oh Joe - Your support for Louise has been outstanding this election campaign. Displaying the best qualities and affection we all saw between Gillard and Rudd - what a guy, what a party.......

    Commenter
    Smack
    Location
    City of the Fallen
    Date and time
    April 08, 2014, 7:35AM

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