Pundits had predicted Western Australia could be influential, with the possibility of a swing nearing 5 per cent impacting the national result.
But in delivering changes as big as 10 per cent across the board, WA voters have made Labor’s wildest dreams come true, and played a key role in taking Anthony Albanese to the Lodge.
And some may argue, it came down to one man.
For months, Western Australians have been told this election wasn’t about the state’s wildly-popular Premier Mark McGowan.
But the election result tells a different story. It tells the story of people who placed their trust in McGowan to lead the state through the most frightening time of this generation.
Ever since, they’ve largely been rewarded for that trust, so when it came time to decide who should next lead the nation, it was little surprise they trusted McGowan’s judgement yet again.
It’s a hard truth even the state’s most senior Liberal, and a fierce campaigner, Michaela Cash acknowledged on the night.
“We lived a fundamentally different life to the eastern states … and that has obviously played out tonight,” she told Channel Seven’s election coverage.
Labor’s western fairytale might have played out very differently though if it weren’t for two fateful decisions by Scott Morrison and his government.
When he opposed WA’s hard border and supported Clive Palmer in his High Court challenge, many West Australians felt it was another example of Canberra being out of touch with the west.
Initially, he stood strong on both before backflipping when he realized the political cost of those choices.
But the damage was done, presenting easy campaign fodder for Labor, which has been keen to remind voters of both decisions.
While most were unanimously that those issues, as part of the broader “McGowan factor”, would define the election, almost all underestimated by just how much.
Some in the Liberal Party had already resigned themselves to losing Swan and Pearce but maintained hope the swing would be less than 5.9 per cent.
That would at least mean respected Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt could hold onto the seat he has represented for more than a decade.
But when Hasluck fell, bad things got worse.
Tangney, held on a comfortable margin of 9.5 per cent, was rarely spoken about during the campaign.
To see it change hands, from a close friend of Morrison’s, Ben Morton, to local police officer Sam Lim, shows just how widespread McGowan’s popularity is for voters on both sides of the political divide.
But to say the result was only about those factors belittles Western Australian electors.
The scare teal independent Kate Chaney was able to deliver in the Liberal stronghold of Curtin gives another insight into voters’ minds.
With nearly $1 million in donations behind her, Chaney was able to do what many other Climate 200-backed candidates did around the country.
They cut through the left-right divide to bring to the fore two issues moderate Liberals felt they weren’t being heard on – the need for an independent corruption watchdog, and the need to act on climate change.
In a state that’s drying out and burning more because of a warming climate, it’s little surprise that traction delivered a significant swing in what’s usually a Liberal stronghold.
Saturday’s result is also devastating for the state Liberal Party machine, which has been limping along since last year’s landslide state election.
That left them with just two Lower House members and forced the party to hand leadership of the Opposition to the Nationals.
After being told they were “headed for the door” by a scathing internal review in the wake of that result, it seems they’ve been able to make little progress in changing voters’ minds.
No doubt Western Australians will be told of the soul searching ands WA Liberals will be undertaking reflection in the weeks and months ahead.
But having taken another big step towards that proverbial door, the party will have to make some big changes to bring itself back from the brink.
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