Roger Cook set to become the next Premier of Western Australia

Roger Cook is set to become the next Premier of Western Australia after Amber -Jade Sanderson dropped out of the leadership race on Tuesday evening.

Sanderson, who is the current Health Minister, said she was withdrawing her candidacy for the leadership position “in the interests of unity and stability”. Her decision came after key powerbrokers voiced support for Cook with current Transport Minister Rita Saffioti as his deputy.

The search for a new Premier followed the shock resignation of Mark McGowan on Monday afternoon. The Premier announced he would resign from his position and leave politics completely at the end of the week.

Cook, 57, has served as the Deputy Premier since Labor came to power in 2017 and was the Health Minister throughout most of the Covid pandemic. He was replaced by Sanderson in a cabinet reshuffle in 2021 which saw him move to the portfolios of state development, trade and jobs.

The emerge of a clear leadership choice means the party will not have to go to rank-and-file members for a vote, a process that would have taken a month to complete. It is expected members of the parliamentary party will meet on Monday to sign off on the new leadership team.

The departure of McGowan means the government will also be seeking a new treasurer for the state, as the Premier held dual roles.

Prior to entering politics Cook worked in public relations, but he was a notable figure in student politics in the 1980s where he served as the inaugural President of the National Union of Students. After graduating he worked for a number of Labor MPs including Stephen Smith, Jim McGinty and Chris Evans.

He worked with a number of Indigenous organisations including time as a policy coordinator for the Western Australian Aboriginal Native Title Working Group, as CEO of the Yamatji Marlpa Barna Baba Maaja Aboriginal Corporation, and as government relations manager for the South West Aboriginal Land and Sea Council.

Cook entered the parliament at the 20008 state election representing the newly formed seat of Kwinana. He was quickly elevated to the position of Deputy Leader of the party under Eric Ripper. When McGowan replaced Ripper as Opposition Leader in 2012 Cook retained his deputy position.

OIP Staff

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