Labor ready to deliver outdoor pool, other commitments to Goldfields

Neil Watkinson & Liam CroyKalgoorlie Miner
Labor candidate for O'Connor Shaneane Weldon (centre) and her supporters celebrate Labor's victory in the 2022 Federal election in Kalgoorlie-Boulder on Saturday night.
Camera IconLabor candidate for O'Connor Shaneane Weldon (centre) and her supporters celebrate Labor's victory in the 2022 Federal election in Kalgoorlie-Boulder on Saturday night. Credit: Neil Watkinson/Kalgoorlie Miner

An outdoor pool for Kalgoorlie-Boulder will be among the commitments the newly elected Labor Federal Government will deliver, the party’s candidate for O’Connor says.

Shaneane Weldon finished second in the campaign for the seat of O’Connor at Saturday’s Federal election, taking 43.63 per cent of the two-candidate preferred vote, with 112 of 120 polling places having returned their ballots as of Monday morning.

Liberal incumbent Rick Wilson was elected for his fourth term with 56.37 per cent of the two-candidate preferred vote, however Ms Weldon achieved a swing to her of 9 per cent.

Mr Wilson will sit as an Opposition MP for the first time since he was elected in 2013, after Scott Morrison conceded defeat at Saturday’s election.

With vote counting continuing, there was speculation on Sunday Labor might secure 77 seats to form a majority government.

Otherwise Prime Minister-elect Anthony Albanese will require support from other parties and independent MPs to secure the 76 seats needed to form government.

Ms Weldon and her Labor colleague Madeleine King announced an $8 million pledge for an outdoor swimming pool for Kalgoorlie-Boulder in April.

The same day they also pledged $800,000 for a short-stay camp for Laverton.

Speaking to the Kalgoorlie Miner on Sunday after her party’s Federal election victory, Ms Weldon said the Albanese Labor Government would fulfil the promises it had made.

As a Shire of Laverton councillor, Ms Weldon said she would be particularly invested in the short-stay camp plan.

She attributed the 9 per cent swing to her in the O’Connor electorate as the result of Labor’s focus on cost-of living issues, as well as aged care and Medicare.

Speaking to his team in Albany on election night following his victory in O’Connor but defeat overall for the Federal Coalition, Mr Wilson said it was a difficult night for his party, with some highly rated MPs at risk of losing their seats.

“I’ve got many, many good friends whose seats are in jeopardy and it’s a bit difficult for me at the moment,” he said.

Mr Wilson singled out “superstar” Dave Sharma and Josh Frydenberg — “the most well-liked person in the Australian Parliament” — as two Liberal MPs who would be a huge loss to the party.

“No one’s irreplaceable and we’ll rebuild from this but we’ve lost some great people,” he said.

He said the popularity of Mark McGowan and WA Labor had worked against the Morrison Government.

“There’s no question that there was a feeling that Scott Morrison and the Federal Government were not treating WA fairly or respecting WA is probably more to the point — the decisions that Mark McGowan was making in terms of border closures and so on,” he said.

“I think there’s a fair component of that.”

Mr Wilson said it was “kind of a watershed moment in Australian politics” that Labor was elected with 30 per cent of the primary vote.

“Our primary vote when I looked earlier on was 35 per cent and Labor’s was 30 per cent ... I think the choice as the voters saw it was just who’s the worst of a bad bunch.”

The low primary votes should send a message to both major parties that they needed to present a bold vision to the voters, Mr Wilson said.

“If you don’t stand for something, then why are people going to stick by you?” he said.

“If you don’t give them something to proud of, something to identify with — I think that’s part of the problem with both parties.”

Of the other parties contesting O’Connor, Greens candidate Giz Watson was third with 10.23 per cent of the vote, Pauline Hanson’s One Nation candidate Stan Kustrin was fourth with 7.12 per cent, and Australian Christians’ Justin Moseley was fifth with 2.98 per cent.

The Great Australia Party’s Brenden Barber had 2.61 per cent of the vote, Western Australian Party’s Morris Bessant had 2.36 per cent, United Australia Party’s Tracy Tirronen had 1.75 per cent, and Australian Federation Party’s Isaac Middle had 1.45 per cent of the vote.

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