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Liberals have learned a lesson, says Nahan

The only contender to have emerged for the post of State opposition leader, Mike Nahan, says remaining Liberals will put aside divisions of the past to unite against Labor.

Dr Nahan, who retained his seat of Riverton in the face of a rampant Labor Party, said last week’s devastating election loss had been a clarifying experience for those who remained.

“If we don’t work as a team we are really dead, and I am confident, and I’ve talked to all my colleagues, that all the issues have been put aside,” he said.

“They are willing to work and do what’s necessary to rebuild the Liberal Party.

“Survival does strange things to people and we’ve learned a lesson.”

Outgoing Minister Joe Francis has made a scathing attack on the Liberal Party’s bad campaign, broken promises and the leadership.

Dr Nahan defended the Liberals’ election policies but claimed the problem was communicating them to the electorate.

“The West Australian public were telling us loud and clear that the issues were jobs and investment,” he said.

“We did a lot on that area, but we didn’t communicate it in an articulate way through the campaign.”

Can Labor and Mark McGowan keep their promises? Check out every pledge on our special Promise Tracker.

Dr Nahan, the driving force behind the push to privatise Western Power, said it had been a sound policy but it should have been acted upon sooner and the benefits communicated better.

As treasurer, he took some responsibility for the level of communication, he said.

Dr Nahan was unsure whether selling Western Power would remain a Liberal policy.

“First, I have to talk to my colleagues, but in four years time, I’m not sure Western Power will be as valuable as it is now due to challenge from things such as renewables,” he said.

“Second, the market, the prices being offered for Western Power and those types of assets are at a historic level, they won’t remain at that level.”

Dr Nahan said he would criticise Labor if it tried to offload the utility.

“Labor clearly have a mandate not to sell it so if they were to do a fiddle and say they want to sell it, they have a mandate to privatise no assets and we will hold them to that mandate, except perhaps for TAB,” he said.

“We have been the subject of a multimillion-dollar campaign by the ETU and the Labor party saying that we shouldn’t sell it so if they turned around and tried to sell it, well we would do our best to stop them.”

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