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Basil Zempilas announces he wants to shift to state politics

Perth’s Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas has confirmed his intention to join the Liberal party and run for a spot in the state parliament at the next election.

The move comes just months after Zempilas signed up for a four-year term as the Lord Mayor. Speculation that the Channel Seven sports broadcaster and politician would nominate for preselection for the seat of Churchlands has been circulating for months.

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Zempilas made the announcement via an interview with The West Australianwhere he also publishes a weekly opinion column.

In the interview the Lord Mayor said politics was “in my blood” and he wanted to restore balance to the corridors of parliament. The Liberal party hold only two seats in the Legislative Assembly after a disastrous outcome at the 2021 election.

During his time as Lord Mayor Zempilas has regularly butted heads with government mister over planning issues and tackling homelessness. In his exclusive interview with The West, Zempilas said these experiences had “drawn me up to this next step”.

Zempilas has declared if selected to represent the Liberal party he will remain in his role as Lord Mayor until the state election campaign in 2025. He has ruled out challenging current leader Libby Mettam for her leadership position.

Many party members have speculated that Zempilas could be installed as leader even though he’s not currently a member of parliament. They’ve cited the 2012 Queensland election where Campbell Newman became Premier at the election while serving as the city’s Lord Mayor. Unlike Western Australia, local government is politically partisan.

Zempilas was heavily criticised by LGBTIQA+ community leaders when he first became Lord Mayor over an offensive comment he made about transgender people in his role as a 6PR radio presenter.

The Lord Mayor subsequently met with representatives from the transgender community and has largely spoken in favour of a wide range of initiatives and funding for LGBTIQA+ projects during his time in office.


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