OPINION: COVID-19 crisis the making of WA Premier Mark McGowan

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Mark McGowan addresses the media on COVID-19.
Camera IconMark McGowan addresses the media on COVID-19. Credit: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian

For several months I tried to get an interview with the Premier on radio.

I didn’t really want to front him with the tough political questions, just a casual chat about how he was going, like all of us, with this COVID-19 thing.

So, I went though the normal channels you do, and was told: “Thanks Peter, we’ll do our best.”

Well, I waited, and waited.

Mark McGowan even visited Geraldton at one stage but times just didn’t work out.

And I still waited.

Now, Mark McGowan wouldn’t normally be my first choice for a sought-after interview to headline my radio program but at the moment he’s really earning his share of street credibility.

Due in a big way to his handling of coronavirus in this State, he has an outstanding approval rating.

In a Newspoll survey by The Australian, 94 per cent of the 518 people interviewed in WA said McGowan had managed the COVID-19 crisis well.

I believe that is near on unheard of for any political leader.

It cannot be disputed that the man’s bold, and sometimes defiant, attitude has contributed greatly to WA being the envy of other States and, indeed, other nations around the world.

Despite political persuasion, I have always been interested in the way good or respected leaders tick.

Winston Churchill, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Robert Menzies, John Curtin and Queen Elizabeth II all have genuine qualities that have seen them successfully take on huge challenges.

So, last week I had another go, and contacted the Premier’s media person on the off-chance I could score a chat with the Premier.

You little beauty! Sunday morning was locked in.

I had to record before the radio show, but that was OK, I could go with that.

Sunday morning comes around.

I get to the studio early. So did a couple of my co-hosts — we were keen to have this interview to give a bit of a fun insight into our Premier.

He called right on time.

“Morning Premier. Now, do I call you Premier, Mr McGowan or Mark?”

“Mark will be just fine,” he replied.

From that point I knew this interview was going to be very enjoyable.

Although he was a little reserved to start with, Mark soon got into the swing of things, and he went on to chat, joke and laugh throughout a 15-minute interview.

We talked about his initial reaction when COVID-19 struck the nation, the support of his family, his gut-wrenching feelings for the many affected and his fun visit to The Swinging Pig pub in Rockingham.

Like all of us, Mark McGowan, when all’s said and done, is only human.

But this human has recently demonstrated some strong traits that, I believe, raise him significantly above.

And that’s why I wanted to have an interview with the Premier.

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