POLITICS

WA Premier Colin Barnett Denies Leadership Crisis After Two Cabinet Ministers Quit

'I am the Premier of WA and I intend to stay here.'

18/09/2016 9:44 AM AEST | Updated 18/09/2016 7:18 PM AEST
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Colin Barnett, Premier of Western Australia, has had two ministers quit in a day.

West Australian Liberal MP Dean Nalder has confirmed that he will stand against Premier Colin Barnett in the event of a leadership spill.

Nalder resigned from cabinet shortly after the resignation of Local Government Minister Tony Simpson on Saturday. He said he is fed up with Colin Barnett's "erratic and illogical" decision-making.

Both senior ministers have suggested that the leadership situation for the Western Australia Liberal Government is at a crisis point.

"If the partyroom does put a spill motion on Tuesday, I will nominate for the position of leader" Nalder said in a press conference.

He said that after trying to meet unsuccessfully with the Premier for weeks, he rang and left a message regarding his resignation on Saturday night but didn't hear back and had to contact Barnett's chief of staff.

In a press conference on Sunday afternoon, Barnett said his leadership position was safe despite the fact that two senior cabinet members handed in their resignations in the last 24 hours.

"I am the leader. I am the premier of WA and I intend to stay here," Barnett said in a press conference.

The Premier slammed Nalder and Simpson for not being forthright with their decisions.

"I am personally disappointed that neither had the courage to tell me face-to-face of their decision.

"I expect people to keep confidential their discussions in the cabinet and in the party room if you like but most of all I expect people to get on with their job, to do their job and not indulge in their own self interest."

Deputy Premier Liza Harvey has said she would not support a leadership spill motion and that the internal party conflict has been caused by "a number of disgruntled, disaffected individuals who have been causing this problem from day one".

"The vast majority of people support the Premier as I have done unequivocally from day one and I don't think a spill motion will be successful," she said in a media conference.

Nalder told the ABC the tipping point for his resignation was Barnett's refusal build a tunnel for the second stage of the $1.9 billion Perth Freight Link heavy haulage road project to Fremantle Port.

At a media conference, Tony Simpson said he did not take his decision lightly but he no longer had confidence in the Premier.

"I have taken this step reluctantly and with a heavy heart, but it has come to the situation that the Premier's leadership and the Government's direction is no longer serving, I think, the people of Western Australia," he said.

These resignations have increased pressure on Barnett's leadership with less than six months before an election.

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