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No clear winner after WA vote -

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No clear winner after WA vote

The World Today - Monday, 8 September , 2008 12:15:00

Reporter: David Weber

ELEANOR HALL: To the latest on just who will lead Western Australia. As we heard earlier it looks
like the leader of the National Party, Brendon Grylls, could the king-maker.

This morning both the Labor and Liberal leaders have been putting proposals to the Nationals on how
much they're prepared to spend in the bush to ensure the National Party's support.

Analysts say the Liberal Party cannot take it for granted that the National Party will support them
in coalition and there's still the chance that Labor could get over the line with one or two
Independents.

But a Labor government would still be likely to work with the Nationals to ensure its political
survival.

David Weber joins us now in Perth with the latest. So David, are we any closer to knowing who has
the numbers to form a government?

DAVID WEBER: Well not really Eleanor, there's still up to five seats being worked out. The feeling
is that even if Labor gets enough seats and support from Independents it may still need the
Nationals, to work with the Nationals as a buffer. At least it could be the end of the week before
we know the shape of the government.

ELEANOR HALL: Both Liberal and Labor leaders have been courting the Nationals. Has the National
Party leader given any hint of which party he's more likely to support in a minority government if
it comes to that?

DAVID WEBER: Not really. All he's said is that whichever party is more capable of supporting his
Royalties for Regions policy, which he says is non-negotiable. Now the Royalties for Regions
policies involves up to $700-million a year under his proposal, to be pumped into the bush for
infrastructure purposes - roads, schools, health care and general infrastructure.

And he took this into the election. Colin Barnett, the Liberal Party leader wouldn't even meet with
him to discuss this. He described it as an election stunt and the Government, the then government
had dismissed it out of hand.

But now of course Mr Grylls is taking this to both parties and saying that this is non-negotiable
and if you want to work with us, this is what we need in the bush. This is some of what Brendon
Grylls had to say on ABC Radio in Perth this morning.

BRENDON GRYLLS: The National Party have been doing things very differently for the last three
years. We have campaigned in areas we've never campaigned in before. Our voter support has risen to
a level where it hasn't been for many, many years.

The people that wanted a Liberal government would have ticked the Liberal box on polling day; the
people that wanted a Labor government ticked the Labor box on polling day; and the people that
wanted the Nationals to win the balance of power, to negotiate with both sides to get the best
possible outcome voted for the National Party. I take that vote very seriously.

ELEANOR HALL: And that's the Nationals leader in Western Australia, Brendon Grylls there. David as
you said both the Liberal and Labor leaders were scathing about this policy, but how much humble
pie are they now having to eat?

DAVID WEBER: Quite a lot of humble pie. The then premier, I suppose, Alan Carpenter, now the Labor
leader, was saying that he thinks it would be very exciting to work with the Nationals. It works in
South Australia. He's talking about a coalition of interests and a purposeful, good government.

He was saying, I mean these are not things you would have expected Mr Carpenter to say. But he got
in very quickly to meet Brendon Grylls yesterday and the meeting between Brendon Grylls and Colin
Barnett today.

And then I think what happens under the party's constitution, they have to take whatever decision
is made, or whatever offers come to the National Party, to the membership before it's ratified.

ELEANOR HALL: So when will we know the result of that?

DAVID WEBER: Well that could be the end of the week at least but then we might have a better
picture of who might be able to form government.

ELEANOR HALL: But still several days yet before anyone knows who's leading the state?

DAVID WEBER: That's right. It is a big, I mean this has been a victory for Brendon Grylls because
under the electoral system, under the boundaries that the election was held, the National Party
looked like they were going to be wiped out. Now they really couched themselves as an independent
party.

Brendon Grylls himself, he went into Parliament in his 20s, he's only in his mid-30s, seen as a bit
of a problem child by the hard men in the Nationals. When he made his maiden speech in Parliament
he praised Indigenous people, the disabled, gays, lesbians, members of ethnic communities, and
called for more compassion for asylum seekers. This is in December 2001. So not your typical
National Party leader.

And I think that indeed one National Party MP has told Colin Barnett that he's not prepared to work
with Labor. So there could be a bit of a struggle for Brendon Grylls, but it must be said he
wouldn't be pushing this line unless he had support within his party.

ELEANOR HALL: David Weber, thank you. That's David Weber our reporter in Perth with the latest on
the election there.