Covid Success Gives Labor Landslide Victory in Western Australia
(Bloomberg) -- Western Australia Labor Premier Mark McGowan won a sweeping state election victory on Saturday, reducing the opposition Liberal Party to just a handful of seats.
The scale of the swing meant the Australian national broadcaster called the vote for McGowan less than 45 minutes after polls closed. The ABC projects Labor will win 52 of 59 lower house seats, with the Liberals taking three and the National Party four.
McGowan’s success was built on a platform of record high approval ratings, which at one point reached 91%, for his handling of Covid-19.
While controversial at a national level, McGowan’s policy of sustained hard border closures with the rest of the country have been popular locally.
Life in the isolated state continued largely as normal throughout the pandemic with a run of 10 months without a case of community transmission. Potential flareups were stamped on hard -- a single case detected in a hotel quarantine security guard in January plunged Perth into a snap five-day lockdown.
Now the focus is on what comes next: lack of visitors has hurt the state’s tourist industry, while businesses have complained about staff shortages.
“The magnitude of what happened today is not lost on me,” McGowan said in a victory speech. “We must govern for all people in Western Australia.”
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