Being the guest speaker at Fremantle’s Chamber of Commerce breakfast this morning was Mark McGowan’s first formal event since becoming the leader of the opposition a week ago. He was flanked on the Fremantle Sailing Club stage by Peter Tinley, Sue Ellery and Ken Travers and seemed in need of their support. Mark came across as a person with a long way to go when it comes to understanding Fremantle issue. On the other hand Peter Tinley came across as informed and confident, he performed like a leader. Yes he had the advantage of having an electorate adjacent to Fremantle, but the contrast between the two men was startling.
The numbers in today’s Legislative Assembly are very tight, so one may consider Labor has a chance of taking control in the next year’s election, however judging on this morning’s evidence the new Labor regime has a long way to go to come close to achieving this. Opposition Leader McGowan needs to be much better prepared on local issues when he stands in front of a room full of business people, or else he will continually have to rely on the likes of Peter Tinley to carry him through. Now, who will be preselected by Labor for Fremantle? While he has formally stood down from the race Josh Burn was in attendance this morning.
Questions were varied, as were the responses. Sue Ellery is clearly unhappy with Federal Labor’s new bill relating to disability in the workforce and was keen to get information from life skills provider SMP on their take on the bill. Ken Travers was all for light rail, as long as it did not cost too much, his convoluted response prompted Paul Loring to ask him if his answer was a yes or a no? Mark McGowan believes Fremantle should focus on small home based businesses, because they are the ones who want to go out and drink coffee. He sidestepped a question related to locating a larger government department in Fremantle and said CBD development should focus on housing. In response to Helen Hewitt asking about Labor reducing the financial burden on developers of housing to make homes more affordable the leader said it was a hard question that warranted some consideration.
All in all an enlightening event, with great views and bad coffee.