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Former challenger Smith applauds win

Federal Member for Perth, Stephen Smith talking about the medical insurance hike proposal.
Federal Member for Perth, Stephen Smith talking about the medical insurance hike proposal.

Former Federal Labor MP Stephen Smith, who challenged Mark McGowan for leadership of the party last year, has congratulated the premier-elect for running a “disciplined campaign”.

Approached by The West Australian, Mr Smith applauded Mr McGowan for his election victory.

“I warmly congratulate Mark McGowan on his election victory and on becoming premier of Western Australia,” Mr Smith said.

“Under Mark’s leadership Labor ran a focused and disciplined campaign which maximised the focus and pressure on the Barnett government.”

Mr Smith also congratulated Mr McGowan’s shadow ministers for their efforts over “81/2 long years in Opposition”.

“I also congratulate those about to be appointed ministers, particularly those becoming ministers for the first time.”

Mr Smith, who retired from Federal politics in 2013, launched a surprise challenge to Mr McGowan’s leadership in March last year, saying he had been approached by State Labor MPs who were concerned Mr McGowan would not be able to defeat Colin Barnett.

The challenge backfired, with Labor frontbenchers and backbenchers locking in behind Mr McGowan.

Mr McGowan is thought to have relied heavily on union backing — particularly from the Left.

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