Mark One of the perks of being a student of politics is the people you get to meet, yesterday I met the recently elected Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan. The Premier of an Australian State is like the Prime Minister of that State, he’s the head of the State Government and in practice has much more power in WA than Malcolm Turnbull (the current Prime Minister). Listening and talking to Mark was a delightful experience and this is the insight he gave me into his personality.
Firstly, he’s been in politics for 20 years so yes, he does give ‘politicians answers’ but he is also genuine when he speaks. For example, my friend Roshni asked him what’s the biggest mistake he’s made in his political career. Mark responded with, ‘when I was starting I was too ambitious’. This is a cope out, I mean seriously mate, you’re like one of those people who in a job interview say their biggest flaw is working too hard. This aside, you couls see his truthfulness and passion in most of his responses, like when asked about a re-surging WA secessionist movement, he spoke about the value of being an Australian first and a Western Australian second with passion and vigor.
Secondly, he actually delivered on his biggest election promise better than I expected. The State election in March was surrounded by two controversies, the most important being the Perth Freight Link extension on Roe 8 Highway. Labor promised to discontinue the extension and I was skeptical that they could deliver on this because the money used to fund the project was given to us by the federal government with strict instruction to use it on Roe 8 and nothing else. However, Mark and the State Treasurer Ben Wyatt renegotiated the terms with the federal government and have managed to stop the project, retain all of the money given to us for the infrastructure AND put that money into 17 new rail projects around Perth. If anyone knows anything about Perth, it’s that Transperth is shithouse.
Finally, he’s just a normal bloke. Mark McGowan is a real family man living in Rockingham who just wants what’s best for the state. He cares about the working classes and he cares about public education. He’s passionate about the rotten deal WA is getting with the GST and he’s passionate about long term progress. I managed to ask him what he’d like his legacy to be, at first he joked and said ‘to be the longest serving premier ever’. Then he looked at me and said, ‘I just want to run a government that has no improprieties and does what’s best for this state’.
Thank you Mr McGowan, here’s to 4 years of a Labor government.