Liberal leader Liza Harvey quits just months out from state election

Western Australian Liberal leader Liza Harvey has quit, just four months out from the state election.

The Liberal leader made the shock announcement on Sunday morning saying the party needed a new leadership team.

In a message to Liberal party members Harvey said with a new team at the helm the party had a chance of winning the March 2021 state election.

“I am standing aside to give the Liberal Party — with a new leadership team — the opportunity to reset our election strategy and give the public a real choice at the March election,” Harvey said.

“I’m also standing aside to give our very fine candidates the opportunity to be elected as the new generation of members representing the Liberal Party,” she said.

“This decision will give them clean air. They are energetic young men and women who will be strong, hard-working members for their communities.”

There had been speculation that Harvey might have faced a leadership challenge at the final party room meeting of state MPs last week, but her position in the run up to the election looked to be assured when no contenders challenged her.

Shadow Treasurer Dean Nalder has told the ABC that he will stand to be the new leader. The Bateman MP previously unsuccessfully challenged Premier Colin Barnett in 2016.  Health spokesperson Zak Kirkup and Cottesloe MP David Honey are also seen as potential party leaders.

Whoever takes over the top job will face a big challenge at the state election with current Labor Premier Mark McGowan enjoying record approval ratings in the wake of the Covid-19 epidemic.

The 2017 state election saw Labor enjoy a landslide victory, and the Liberals lost 18 seats in the parliament. Whoever takes over leader will face a monumental challenge to return to government.

While Nalder and Honey have safe seats with decent margins, Kirkup’s Dawesville seat has one of the slimmest margins. A swing of just 0.7 could see him unseated, although he has been one of the opposition’s best performers.

Harvey has confirmed that she will recontest her seat of Scarborough at the election, but will not remain as leader.

A party room meeting will be held on Wednesday to select a new leader.

OIP Staff

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