Barnett to retire from WA politics after Burswood stadium opens



· JANUARY 03, 2015 6:00PM
WA Premier Colin Barnett is tipped to step down in 2018 if he wins 2017 election.
PREMIER Colin Barnett will retire from politics after he tosses the coin at Perth’s new football stadium, according to informed sources.

If he wins a third term at the 2017 election, it is understood Mr Barnett will remain as Premier to see the Burswood stadium open the 2018 AFL season and retire later that year.

Insiders were also adamant that Mr Barnett would not spend any time on the backbench if he steps down as Premier – leaving his prized Cottesloe seat open for a newcomer.

The 64-year-old announced in October that he would vie for a third term as Premier.

The latest Newspoll, published in The Australian this week, shows he is in good stead with the electorate.

The primary vote for the Liberal-National coalition is currently at 42 per cent compared with the Opposition’s 33 per cent.

In September, Mr Barnett will clock up seven years as Premier.

Mr Barnett this week refused to answer questions put to him by The Sunday Times about whether he would serve out a full term of government if he won the 2017 poll.

Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said he had an “obligation to come clean and tell West Australians whether or not he will commit to a full term”.

Political analyst Harry Phillips said he expected Mr Barnett would not serve out a full third term of government if he won the 2017 poll.

“In the modern era, serving even five years as Premier is a big job and he would have served nine years as Premier by 2017,” Dr Phillips said.

“The problem that Colin Barnett has got is that if he goes to the 2017 poll saying he will stand down after the election that will weaken him.

“So I’d expect him to say he will do a full term if he wins.

“But I think there would be a fair expectation from the public that Mr Barnett will at least do two years of a third term as leader and do a good job while he is there.”

Sir David Brand was WA’s longest service Premier, leading the state for 11 years and 11 months.

Mr Barnett would need to remain Premier until September 2020 to beat that record.