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Liberal wipe-out: ‘lowest professional experience of my adult life’

Oliver Peterson
Article image for Liberal wipe-out: ‘lowest professional experience of my adult life’

The Member for the North Metropolitan Region has unleashed in the wake of the Liberal’s landslide loss in the state election.

Speaking with Oliver Peterson, Tjorn Sibma said the election was conducted as a Presidential-style campaign “in a manner Western Australia has never seen before.”

Mr Sibma said people he spoke with at pre-polling locations didn’t know Mark McGowan was the Premier of a Labor government.

“What was staggering to me was candidates would introduce themselves not as the Labor candidate but as Mark McGowan’s person running in that seat.”

While the loss was expected, Mr Sibma is reeling from the scale of the defeat.

“I was expecting on Saturday to receive a pretty severe haircut, what we received was a decapitation,” he said.

On the short-lived leadership of Zak Kirkup, Mr Sibma was complimentary of his role saying he wasn’t to blame and he was “the person who had the courage to step up when others would not.”

However when it comes to the party’s late announced energy plan, which included reaching net-zero government emissions by 2030 and shutting down the Collie Power Station, Mr Sibma said it was an “absolute disaster.”

“The day before it was released I urged the party headquarters not to proceed with it.”

After the loss in 2017, Mr Sibma didn’t mince words in saying the party had lost its way and had “failed to confront” the reasons why.

“We have become progressively, over the last four years, but I’d argue eight years, become estranged from our philosophical purpose, estranged from our core constituencies, we have fundamentally vacated the fields in policy development and community outreach,” he said.

Three leaders in four years has been a “fundamental fault.”

“I’ve seen three leaders destroyed in front of me,” said Mr Sibma.

“Each of those people had fine attributes… but there was fundamentally a lack of ability to build a leadership team.”

As counting continues, Mr Sibma is hopeful of holding onto his seat in the upper house, despite sitting second on the ticket below power broker Peter Collier.

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Oliver Peterson
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