Wildly popular Premier Mark McGowan has unveiled his new cabinet, revealing another historic first amid speculation he will take on a key role.
Wildly popular Premier Mark McGowan has unveiled his new cabinet, revealing another historic first amid speculation he will take on a key role.

History-making call in WA parliament

Western Australia has its first female speaker of the Legislative Assembly after the massive Labor caucus was forced to squeeze into parliament's dining room, with no other space big enough to accommodate the epic team's first meeting.

Labor's historic annihilation of the Liberals in the state election on Saturday was so colossal it left seasoned political experts gasping, as even traditionally conservative seats got swallowed up in a sea of red, leaving the party on track for an epic 75-member caucus.

Wildly popular Premier Mark McGowan laughed on Monday when he admitted he could not remember everyone's names or fit them all into the caucus room.

He reiterated he would have a big say in who was appointed to his new-look cabinet on Wednesday and has been widely credited as the main reason for Labor's staggering election win after his profile soared during the pandemic due to his tough border stance.

His police minister last term, Michelle Roberts, has been appointed speaker of the Legislative Assembly, while there are five new ministers: Tony Buti, Amber-Jade Sanderson, Reece Whitby, Don Punch and John Carey.

Michelle Roberts is Western Australia’s first female speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Picture: Rebecca Le May/AAP
Michelle Roberts is Western Australia’s first female speaker of the Legislative Assembly. Picture: Rebecca Le May/AAP

Peter Tinley, who was the housing and fisheries minister, has been dumped.

"My cabinet team includes a mix of experience and renewal, with members from the city and the regions," Mr McGowan said after the caucus meeting.

"Our new ministers worked extremely hard during our first term and have each proven themselves ready to take on a new role on behalf of the WA community."

The allocation of portfolios will be announced on Thursday amid speculation Mr McGowan could take on the all-important Treasurer role himself.

It was held by Ben Wyatt, who was Australia's first Indigenous treasurer and brought Western Australia's finances back into surplus.

He has retired to spend more time with his family and is likely to take on a private sector role but hasn't ruled out a tilt at federal politics in the future.

The departure of Ben Wyatt is a huge loss to the Western Australia parliament. Picture: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian
The departure of Ben Wyatt is a huge loss to the Western Australia parliament. Picture: Jackson Flindell/The West Australian

Roger Cook has been considered a likely choice for treasurer but may remain health minister instead given the pandemic continues.

The Liberals now have just two lower house seats, Cottesloe and Vasse, but could get a third, with the party's Sean L'Estrange inching ahead in Churchlands by just 31 votes on a two-candidate preferred basis after 76.19 per cent of the ballots have been counted.

Another tight race is the lower house seat of North West Central, where the Nationals' Vince Catania leads Labor's Cherie Sibosado by just 244 votes with 64 per cent of the ballots counted so far.

ABC political guru Antony Green called it on Wednesday for the regional lower house seat of Warren-Blackwood, saying National stalwart and the party's former leader in Western Australia, Terry Redman, had been defeated.

Labor's Jane Kelsbie was ahead by 654 votes on a two-candidate preferred basis when 79.1 per cent of the ballots had been counted.

Mr Redman had held the seat since 2005.

Originally published as History-making call in WA parliament


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