Mediscare and Libs failure to sell policy lost votes: Wyatt

Mediscare and Libs failure to sell policy lost votes: Wyatt

Member for Hasluck Ken Wyatt will serve a third term after retaining his seat at the weekend. Photograph – Matt Devlin.

Member for Hasluck Ken Wyatt believed the nationwide swing against the Liberal Party was a combination of a failure to sell policy voters cared about and Labor’s Medicare privatisation scare campaign.

He has retained his seat despite a close battle, which saw his margin decreased to 1.8 per cent on a two party preferred basis.

“The Mediscare campaign certainly impacted and was problematic but that in itself was an absolute lie because as the Assistant Minister for Health I can say there was no plan to do what Labor suggested,” he said.

“But people also wanted to know about education, they wanted to know what made our borders secure and they wanted to know that our roads were being looked after.”

Labor’s candidate Bill Leadbetter finished with 48.2 per cent of the vote after preferences following a 4.3 per cent swing against the Liberal Party in the electorate.

Mr Hasluck attributed his success to the attention he paid to his constituents and focus on local issues.

“I think in a nutshell it’s the fact that I engage with the community, I listen and I give attention to issues that people have,” he said.

“If you work well within your electorate and you work for the people who elect you then that is often reflected in the ballot box and they are likely to give you the opportunity to continue in the role.

“It’s when you ignore people within your electorate that you lose it.”

He said other issues constituents raised with him included renewable energy, mental health, climate change, concerns about aged care and closing the gap for Aboriginal people.

“The issues were varied but each of them was important,” he said.

“What was said to me as I was going around the booths was ‘you didn’t have a position on this matter as a government, so that has a bearing on what I’m thinking and how I’m going to react in the booths’.”

Mr Wyatt acknowledged the change in leadership from former prime minister Tony Abbott to Malcolm Turnbull last year may have impacted the outcome of the election but said he did not regret the change.

“To be quite truthful I had people who said to me, ‘I’m not voting for the Coalition because you dumped Tony Abbott’, there were individuals,” he said.

“But people have got to remember too that Tony challenged Malcolm for leadership when he was leader and only won it by one vote.

“I wonder if the same people reacted then in the same way as they did this time.”

Mr Wyatt said he would now focus on the needs of people in the new part of his electorate in the Shire of Mundaring as well as continuing to work for people across Hasluck.

“The issues range but whatever is important to that individual or family is part of my work as well,” he said.

The seat was also contested by the Green’s Patrick Hyslop, Australian Christians’ Phil Twiss and Rise Up Australia Party’s Henry John Barnard.