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Transcript of doorstop interview of the Leader of the Opposition: Perth, WA: 14 December 2004: Western Australian State Election.

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Subjects: Western Australia State Election

LATHAM: After our federal election loss I’ve visited every part of the country listening and learning about the issues and the main purpose of this visit is to talk to the business community about important issues. I had a good meeting with small business this morning and off to Kalgoorlie later in the week to talk about the skills shortage which is holding back the further growth of the national economy. Just here with Geoff Gallop, it’s good to hear about the booming state economy and the need for skill development, for expansion, for

infrastructure support out of Canberra because with a record low rate of unemployment and record productivity and growth in Western Australia the economy is booming and of course there is no reason to change the State Government. They’ve got things well and truly under control and no-one would take a risk with the Barnett Opposition so it’s good talking to Geoff about those issues and listen to the business community from a Federal perspective on how Federal Labor can improve our policies for the future.

JOURNALIST: And what role do you think you might play in the State Election Campaign?

LATHAM: Well we don’t know the date do we of the election and we’ve got our Federal Parliamentary sittings in February, but obviously as required the Federal colleagues are always willing to help the State colleagues.

JOURNALIST: Did Dr Gallop invite you back, say in January?

LATHAM: Well, we don’t know when the election is going to be, do we? But we spoke about the Federal Parliamentary sitting schedule and the fact that I am here listening and learning on the Federal issues and wanting to help out in that regard.

JOURNALIST: If they do decide to go on the date that it is set down in February…

LATHAM: What is the date that’s been set down for?

JOURNALIST: The date that Peter Kennedy can probably pinpoint. Well there is a date in February, it’s one of the Saturdays in February. Any time between the 5th and the 26th.

LATHAM: Well look, I’m not the State Premier, he sets the election dates. Let’s just see what he does in due course.

JOURNALIST: But would you expect to be back in February?

LATHAM: I always love coming back to Western Australia. I always love coming back to Western Australia. We don’t know when the state election date is going to be, but we do know that there are federal parliamentary sittings in February, but of course, we’ll be back here to help out.

JOURNALIST: But so on that score…

LATHAM: I’ve answered your question, so unless you can give me the election date, that’s the best that I can do.

JOURNALIST: Are you here at the invitation of Dr Geoff Gallop?

LATHAM: I don’t need an invitation to come to Western Australia as I just said that I was here State Election or no State Election for the reason that after our Federal Election loss I’ve visited every State in the Commonwealth to listen and learn about the issues, talking to the business community, in particular, where we can improve our economic policies and that’s standard fare and that’s why I’m here through the course of this week.

JOURNALIST: Is there concern though that the results from the federal election will have some flow on effect in Western Australia?

LATHAM: Well no I respect the intelligence and capacity of the Western Australian people - they know the difference between a federal election and a state one and that’s always been the case and I’m sure it will be in the future. Thanks very much.