Liberal leadership gives up on Perth, Fremantle by-elections

Liberal leadership gives up on Perth, Fremantle by-elections
Federal Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann. Photo by Crawford Forum via Wikimedia Commons

Senior ministers in the Turnbull Government have given their endorsement to the party decision not to contest the WA seats in the upcoming federal by-election, citing that it would wasting what they called “limited resources”.

The Liberal party says it will not run any candidates for the seats of Perth and Fremantle in WA following the resignations of Josh Wilson and Labor’s Tim Hammond. Mr Hammond quit the election citing that he wanted to spend more time with his young family.

Mr Wilson stood down from his seat following the High Court’s ruling on Katy Gallagher’s dual citizenship status. Mathias Cormann, the Federal Finance Minister, said he backed the decision not to run any Liberal candidates in the seats.

Mr Cormann said that the Liberal Party had to make decisions that prioritised “limited resources” and that it wasn’t prudent to spend money on a competition that you are “unlikely to win”. He went on to say that the chances of the Liberals winning either seat were non-existent.

Mr Cormann said that the resources would instead be going to help the Liberals win the seat of Darling Range which was vacated by Barry Urban, a disgraced former Labor member.

Mr Urban resigned from the WA Parliament following news that he would be expelled for continually telling lies about his past and now has to face criminal charges. Mr Cormann said that the Darling Range seat would be used to send a message to Labor regarding the circumstances of the former MP’s departure.

The Liberal decision not to throw any candidates into the ring for the two major WA seats comes despite the fact the party only lost Perth by a small margin in the last election. Fremantle was won by Labor with a 7.52% margin which took it out of contention as a marginal seat.