As One Nation prepares to take up residence in WA Parliament for the first time in more than a decade, its three new MPs are vowing to work with the McGowan Government and respect its mandate following its crushing election win.
- Five conservative Upper House MPs will vote as a bloc, giving them massive sway over the Government
- Labor will need five votes to pass legislation, if as expected a Labor MP is appointed president of house
- The Greens have four seats, giving the conservative bloc power to veto legislation unless Labor gets support from the Liberals or Nationals
It comes after One Nation finalised an alliance with two other conservative minor parties to form a powerful five-member bloc in WA’s Upper House, giving it huge power in a chamber where the McGowan Government will have to rely on external support to pass legislation.
One Nation’s three successful candidates will be sworn in as MPs next week, after which they say they will work as a bloc with returning Shooters, Fishers and Farmers leader Rick Mazza and new Liberal Democrats MP Aaron Stonehouse.
Mark McGowan strongly criticised One Nation during the election campaign but One Nation’s leader in WA, Colin Tincknell, said he could move past that and work closely with the Government, praising the Premier for “pretty brave” decisions made so far.
One Nation’s three MPs — Mr Tincknell, Charles Smith and Robin Scott — will hold caucus-style meetings with Mr Mazza and Mr Stonehouse under their new arrangement.
Mr Mazza said the group would endeavour to almost always operate as one, giving it significant power in the Upper House.
“I am very hopeful this group will stay together and in the vast majority of cases we will vote as a group,” Mr Mazza said.
“There are going to be some social issues there may be some disagreement on … that is fine, they can have a conscience vote.”
If, as expected, Labor MP Kate Doust is appointed Upper House president, the Government will need to gain five votes from other parties to get bills through the Legislative Council.
That means Greens support alone will not be enough for the Government to get legislation through, giving the crossbench conservatives substantial sway.
But both Mr Tincknell and Mr Mazza said they would be respecting the mandate the Government had, following its landslide election win.
“We are not there to purposefully frustrate the government,” Mr Mazza said.
“In principle, as long as there is nothing there we feel particularly passionate about, we will do what we can to work through it.”
The group of five MPs has asked the Premier to provide it with additional resources, saying it needs that to properly scrutinise legislation.
Federal friction won’t be repeated: One Nation
Next week will be the first time One Nation has been represented in WA Parliament since 2004, when the last of what had been a three-member bloc resigned from the party.
Mr Tincknell insisted there would be no repeat, blaming issues with the party federally and surrounding Pauline Hanson at the time for the problems.
“What happened in WA reflected that, now none of that is going on in the federal party and we are united and very strong,” Mr Tincknell said.
“It is a momentous occasion … you have a nervousness about it all but it is also very exciting.”