The not so wild west: in Perth change is a dirty word
Is it any wonder Western Australian Nationals leader Brendon Grylls is telling his federal cousins to split from the Coalition.
Here in the wild, wild, west the Nationals no longer get sand kicked in their faces – thanks to a deal they struck with the Liberals 12 months ago.
Liberal leader Colin Barnett needed three National Party seats and help from a handful of Independents to form government in 2008.
But instead of agreeing to a traditional Coalition Grylls insisted on an alliance. He calls it a `power sharing agreement’
As a result of the agreement, Barnett got to form government, Grylls got $800 million to spend in the bush and three positions in Cabinet.
If ever there was a clear example of how this so-called power sharing arrangement works in favour of the Nationals it was last week when Barnett tried to push through new retail trading laws for WA.
Here in the west we are allergic to change. We just don’t like it.
We have said no to daylight saving and we have said no to keeping shops open seven days a week.
In this state of excitement (note the sarcasm) Barnett is now trying to keep shops open an extra three hours – proposing to change the closing times from 6pm to 9pm, Monday to Friday.
But his three National Party ministers won’t support him.
In a show of defiance Grylls has told Barnett he won’t support any changes to retail trading hours in WA – not even a pathetic three extra hours.
Barnett is now looking for support from the Labor Opposition to pass the new shopping laws, but the Opposition is also saying no to more shopping hours in WA.
In parliament last week the Liberals tried to blame their Labor opponents for not allowing West Australians to shop longer. Labor blamed the Liberals.
And while Labor and Liberals MPs were blaming each other for the debacle, Grylls and his two National ministers sat in parliament looking like they had just won lotto.
Through this so-called power sharing arrangement, Grylls got his independence.
To put it bluntly, Grylls has Barnett by the short and curlies and has new found respect in WA politics.
As for WA shopping hours – they remain the most old-fashioned and ridiculous in the nation.
Don’t come to Perth if you love shopping. Shops close at 6pm on weekdays and only open on Sundays in the CBD.
We have great beaches though.
They are open 24 hours, seven days a week.
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