In a devastating blow to Colin Barnett and the Liberal Party, Mark McGowan and Labor were declared the winners of the WA election inside the first two hours of counting.
The result could see as few as 15 Liberals win seats in the lower house. Here are some of the big picture winners and losers:
MARK MCGOWAN – Becomes WA’s 30th premier on his second attempt. Gets elevated to Labor hero status by leading the party to a crushing and unlikely victory over the two-term Barnett government. He has a big task ahead of him with expectations vs reality. But gets to be feted by the true believers in the meantime.
BILL SHORTEN – The federal opposition leader is in Perth for election day and gets to bask in the reflected glory of McGowan’s win. Will use the Labor victory to attack PM Malcolm Turnbull even though the WA election was fought almost solely on state issues.
BRENDON GRYLLS – The feisty and fiercely rural-focused Nationals leader wasn’t even scratched by One Nation even though Pauline Hanson reckoned his seat of Pilbara was ripe for her party.
COLIN BARNETT – A devastating loss for the man who had been premier for eight and a half years. He could see it coming, but maybe not the extent of the loss. Lost a lot of MPs along the way. Has promised to retire quietly to the back bench, although there may not be enough MPs left to fill the front bench.
PAULINE HANSON – The One Nation leader thought she could disrupt WA politics as she had done federally. But the opinion polls collapsed under her over a series of gaffes from her and her candidates, and the doomed preference swap deal with the Liberals. The Upper House results are some time off, but most (not Hanson) say PHON WA has been a failure.
MALCOLM TURNBULL – Made one appearance in WA during the campaign and wasn’t asked back. Is copping partial blame because during that visit he failed to give Barnett the GST gift he had promised last year. Is also copping grief over his defence of the Liberal-PHON preference deal.