WA’s PM shockingly pulls out of race to replace Mark McGowan after backroom deal with her rival
- WA Prime Minister Mark McGowan resigned on Monday
- The deputy prime minister’s deal causes the opponent to drop out
Roger Cook is set to become Western Australia’s 31st Prime Minister after Amber-Jade Sanderson pulled out of the election just hours after winning the endorsement of a major faction.
Earlier on Tuesday, 28 MPs from the United Workers Union (UWU) voted for Health Secretary Ms Sanderson as their preferred candidate over Deputy Prime Minister Roger Cook to replace Mark McGowan, who suddenly stepped down on Monday.
But by Tuesday afternoon Ms Sanderson had pulled out when it became clear that Mr Cook had struck a deal with another contender – Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
Mark McGowan’s replacement, who suddenly quit on Monday, is being announced as WA’s new prime minister and it’s not who most people expected
Roger Cook will replace McGowan after striking a deal with Transport Secretary Rita Saffioti that led to Ms Sanderson stepping down
“As I said this morning, I went to talk to my colleagues,” Ms Sanderson told The West Australian.
I have done that and in the interest of unity and stability I will not put myself forward.
“I acted with integrity and respect for my colleagues and the process, and I look forward to working with the new leadership team.”
It was a quick reversal of the confidence she had shown after the left wing meeting.
“I was elected by a clear majority to be the candidate for leadership,” Ms. Sanderson said after the meeting.
“I will now contact my family. I will now reach out to my colleagues in the caucus with a focus on unity and stability.”
Mr Cook had left that meeting without comment.
Ms Saffioti had indicated on Monday that she was interested in succeeding Mr McGowan.
She said on Monday, after Mr McGowan’s resignation, she gauged a possible inclination toward leadership among her colleagues.
Ms Sanderson also needed the support of the metalworkers’ union, whose members are also part of WA Labour’s left-wing faction.
The deal between Mr Cook and Mrs Saffioti, and Mrs Sanderson’s withdrawal from the race, appears to have ended the need for the entire Labor caucus to vote.
On Tuesday, 28 MPs from the United Workers Union (UWU) voted for Health Secretary Amber-Jade Sanderson as their preferred candidate, but that was not the deciding factor
Mr McGowan announced on Monday afternoon that he was stepping down as Prime Minister and Rockingham MP because he was ‘extremely tired’.
If Mr Cook becomes prime minister, Ms Saffioti will be his deputy and treasurer under a deal between the pair, the Western Australian said.
McGowan announced on Monday afternoon that he was stepping down as prime minister and Rockingham MP because he was “tired, extremely tired”.
“Basically I’m exhausted,” he told a media conference, citing six years in the role, including three years dealing with the Covid pandemic, which have taken its toll.
He will remain prime minister until next week.