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Liberals ‘punished’ for Roe 8 go-ahead

Liberal leadership hopeful Joe Francis’ parliamentary future remained in the balance last night as a newly elected Labor MP accused the defeated Barnett Government of an “act of bastardry” in Perth’s south.

Terry Healy, who easily unseated incumbent Peter Abetz in Southern River on the back of a whopping 19.5 per cent swing, said from where he was sitting it was an election on Roe 8.

“It seems like an act of bastardry, to go ahead and do all the things that he did before people had a chance to say what they felt about it,” Mr Healy said.

“Roe 8 just reinforced how they felt about Colin Barnett and Peter Abetz.”

Southern River is one of four possible Labor Party gains in Perth’s southern suburbs, where former TV journalist Reece Whitby picked up the newly created seat of Baldivis.

Outgoing Treasurer Mike Nahan hung on in Riverton and Dean Nalder and John McGrath retained Bateman and South Perth for the Liberals.

Incoming Labor MP Lisa O’Malley, who was consistently neck and neck with Liberal Matt Taylor in pre-election polling, believed strong opposition to Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link had helped deliver her the seat of Bicton.

She said a 121 volunteer-strong grassroots campaign enabled her campaign team to doorknock almost every home in the electorate.

“That gave people the opportunity to give their view,” Ms O’Malley said.

“The theme underlying pretty much every conversation was Roe 8 and the Freight Link and then there was those personal issues of jobs, education.”

“For seniors it was cost of living and (the sale of) Western Power as well.”

Both Mr Taylor and Mr Abetz did not return The West Australian’s calls yesterday. Labor’s Jandakot candidate, Yaz Mubarakai, also stayed silent, opting to spend time at home with his family as he awaited a definitive result.

The seat is on a knife-edge, with Mr Mubarakai sitting on 50.07 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote with 69.4 per cent of the vote counted.

Mr Francis told The West Australian on Saturday night he was likely to be a candidate for the Liberal leadership if he held on to his seat, but that did not necessarily mean he would take on the job.

“I still have to discuss it with my family. I have a two-year-old daughter, who I love dearly and I have hardly seen,” he said.

Mr Mubarakai took to Facebook yesterday to thank his supporters.

“We are about 30 votes ahead right now, and have a lot of counting to go,” Mr Mubarakai wrote.

“Thank you to everyone who helped out. Stay tuned for more updates … count resumes tomorrow afternoon, and might stretch out a few days.”

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