Politics

Labor tightens grip in latest WA count

Both the Liberals and Nationals could face further losses in Western Australia as the count continues after Labor’s landslide election victory.

Labor is streaking ahead in the Nationals-held electorate of Warren-Blackwood, while Sean L’Estrange’s hopes of retaining the seat of Churchlands for the Liberals have shrunk with the tallying of pre-poll and absent votes.

Mr L’Estrange led by just 63 votes on Tuesday afternoon with the trend favouring Labor candidate Christine Tonkin.

Former Nationals leader Terry Redman has meanwhile lost his lead in Warren-Blackwood, with pre-poll votes putting Labor’s Jane Kelsbie more than 500 votes ahead.

Labor also remained ahead in the blue-ribbon Liberal seat of Nedlands, setting them up to potentially claim 53 out of 59 lower house seats.

The Nationals would hold four seats and the Liberals just two under that scenario.

Depending on the final numbers in the upper house, the Nationals would appear likely to take over opposition status from the Liberals.

Labor now appears certain to win control of both houses, a scenario party strategists had deemed highly unlikely prior to Saturday’s barnstorming victory.

Labor’s enlarged caucus is set to meet on Wednesday to finalise the composition of a new-look cabinet.

Premier Mark McGowan is expected to have almost unprecedented authority over selections given the size of Labor’s win.

Five new ministers are expected to be sworn in with Peter Tinley set to be dumped from his housing and fisheries portfolios.

Other vacancies arise from the retirement of Treasurer Ben Wyatt and veterans Fran Logan and Mick Murray, as well as Michelle Roberts’ expected new role as Speaker in the lower house.

Amber-Jade Sanderson, Don Punch, Reece Whitby, Tony Buti and John Carey are expected to be the new faces.

“We’ve got to make sure that as the government goes forward, new people get experience and we have new ideas, new blood, new enthusiasm and new thoughts,” Mr McGowan said this week.

Mr McGowan has not ruled out himself serving as treasurer, something his Liberal predecessor Colin Barnett also briefly did.

Deputy Premier and Health Minister Roger Cook and Transport Minister Rita Saffioti are the other two contenders.

The new cabinet is expected to be finalised on Wednesday and sworn in on Friday.

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