Mark McGowan has touted Anthony Albanian’s economic credentials as federal Labor appears to be following a wave of support in Western Australia to win the government.
The popular WA Prime Minister on Sunday introduced Mr Albanese as “Australia’s next Prime Minister” at the launch of Labor’s election campaign in Perth.
Labor insiders remain convinced that the party can win three WA seats occupied by the Liberal WA – Swan, Pearce and Hasluck – in the May 21 poll.
It would require a reversal of the party’s poor recent record in a state that has long been a stronghold of the federal coalition.
Federal Labor has sought to capitalize on the strong popularity of Mr McGowan, whose government won reelection last year in one of the most one-sided results in the country’s history.
The Prime Minister said on Sunday that Mr Albanese understood the importance of the resource-rich state to Australia’s prosperity, thereby highlighting his own government’s track record in managing the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said WA had produced two of the nation’s greatest citizens in wartime, Prime Minister John Curtin and Bob Hawke, the latter having told him “he always identified as a Western Australian”.
“We know that it is Labor governments that best manage our economy and manage our finances responsibly,” said Mr McGowan.
Labor has sought to portray Mr McGowan and his federal counterpart as close allies, downplaying previous visits to WA by Mr Albanian in which the pair did not appear in public together.
It has reminded voters that the Morrison administration initially backed billionaire Clive Palmer’s challenge to WA’s hard border.
The federal government withdrew its intervention after facing opposition in WA, and the Supreme Court ultimately ruled against Mr. Palmer.
“Imagine where we would be, where Western Australia would be…if the Liberals and Nationals and their fellow traveler Clive Palmer had been successful in trying to undermine our hard work,” said Mr McGowan.
The Prime Minister said a decision by the Liberals to send affiliations to Palmer’s United Australia Party in the Senate – though not in WA – was “desperate” and an insult to Western Australians.
He described Mr. Albanian as resilient, authentic and one of the most accomplished political figures in the nation.
“He is a fundamentally decent person, driven by empathy and a deep sense of social responsibility,” said Mr McGowan.
“I have every confidence that he will be a great prime minister.”