McGowan’s left hook and knocking Barnett out

The last night debate was the only opportunity for Western Australian voter to compare the depth of arguments and strength of characters that both leaders of two major parties will bring to the office. It was the only televised debate because incumbent Premier and WA Liberal Party leader Colin Barnett so decided.


Even if he often appears not able to connect with a real life, he knew exactly that the early rounds will be close and surely will get a powerful punch from his political opponent immediately after they step into the ring. And this is exactly what happened last night.


Mr. Barnett was clearly a shell of his former glory and easy prey for more coordinated, concise and direct in his answers Labor leader.

In the moment when Labor leader Mark McGowan began counting real problems of the state, one could feel like he had been throwing punch after punch right into the heart of Colin Barnett’s Liberal government infamous record: “the highest unemployment in Western Australia, major problems in our health-system, significant problems with transport”.

McGowan was well in control of the whole debate when he said: “I want to make sure that a government that I lead has a plan for jobs and preference for local workers.”

With his opponent barely recognizing the joblessness despite the fact that probably every fifth viewer who watched the leaders debate had his family member, friend or colleague affected by the unemployment or underemployment, it was obvious that he lost not only contact with reality but also his balance.

“I am also very much aware that many people over the last couple of year have found life to be pretty tough. There have been job losses, job insecurity and many families are struggling to manage their budgets.”

Mr. Barnett was clearly a shell of his former glory and easy prey for more coordinated, concise and direct in his answers Labor leader.

His first words of self-appreciation, causing massive reverberations during the whole debate like the ringing of a bell, were an almost self-defeating: “I am proud”.

Then it was that McGowan’s master punch: “I will not sell Western Power.”

Liberals leader was visibly harmed but did not react on the observation made by his political rival that Western Power will be privatized for foreign investors. (Although in other day he devoted great deal of time to talk about the sale as an opportunity investment for Australian stakeholders and families.)

If anyone had any doubts it was turning point.

It was almost a reminiscence of another fight that had not less of cultural and political weight than the last night debate of leaders.

It was 1938. A year, in which mistakes made by politicians decided about lives of millions of people around the world in the next seventy-two months.

It was also one of the shortest and highest ranking matches in history. During the World Heavyweight Championship African-American boxer Joe Louis in the opening round knocked the former champion Max Schmelling out.

Yesterday’s match of arguments and facts in Perth was also short.

Question after question Labor leader built insurmountable lead on the scorecards of voters.

Colin Barnett never found his rhythm and mojo. Looking clearly as exhausted and beaten down from the questions about his dirty deal with One Nation party. Premier could not defend his choice.

“Pragmatism” and “mathematics” could not entertain understandably concerned and even irritated journalist.

Mr. Barnett opens the kitchen door to Parliament for political group, that only goal is a quest for power. Perhaps even absolute power.

McGowan with repeated reference to his opposition as the “Liberal-National-One Nation team” like with a headbutt weakened his opponent even more.

With every passing minute Premier appeared to be fighting: “the Labor leader had virtually no international experience”.

But near the final round he found himself in a clinch: “The reasons drugs are high here is because incomes are high – that’s a reality”.

It was clear that he tried to switch his strategy and basically in the last moments of the debate run from his political foe.

But Labor leader pulled the plug with his left hook and knockout.

“We know unemployment is the highest in the country. We have the worst debt and deficit on record. And the plan is now is to sell Western Power and then retire”.

McGowan took the fight.