Returning Member for Durack Melissa Price committed to seeing out full term in Opposition

Phoebe PinGeraldton Guardian
Melissa Price with her "blue army" of supporters on Saturday night after retaining the seat of Durack.
Camera IconMelissa Price with her "blue army" of supporters on Saturday night after retaining the seat of Durack. Credit: Kate Campbell/RegionalHUB

Liberal MP Melissa Price has promised Durack constituents she will commit to serving a full term in Parliament, despite being voted into Opposition for the first time in her political career.

The former Minister for the Defence Industry survived the election bloodbath which saw many of her colleagues and friends lose their seats on Saturday.

But the Liberals’ 13.5 per cent margin for Durack took a battering, with a more than 10 per cent swing to Labor recorded for the electorate.

Ms Price said she was “incredibly honoured” to have been re-elected and promised to see out her three-year term.

“Although my vote was not as strong this time, with the swing against the government and I think the ‘time for a change’ sentiment, I am committed more than ever to keep working hard for the people of Durack in this next term, for the whole of the term,” she said.

“My work with the Jetty for Geraldton (community group) will be ongoing, as will my push to continue to diversify Geraldton and the Mid West’s economy.

Candidates on voting day. Melissa Price for Durack
Camera IconMelissa Price casts her vote. Credit: Melissa Price/Facebook

“I have good relationships with my Labor colleagues and will work closely with the new Government to make sure people are not left behind and that they receive a fair share of the resources and funding that is required to ensure that Durack’s needs are met.”

Given her nine years experience in Federal Government and her promotion to Cabinet Minster during her third term, Ms Price could be in the running for a senior position in a Liberal shadow cabinet.

But Ms Price said she would be “happy to take on any role” in Opposition.

“As I head into my fourth term, I hope I can use both my electorate and Cabinet experience to continue to be an effective member of the team and keep the new Government accountable, ensuring they make good decisions for Durack, and regional Western Australia,” she said.

Ousted Liberal MP Ben Morton attributed the strong swing to Labor in WA in part to the Morrison Government’s support of Clive Palmer’s legal challenge against the State’s hard border during COVID.

He told 7NEWS the Liberals were now “at rock bottom”, a sentiment Ms Price said she did not share.

“I don’t believe the Liberal Party has hit rock bottom. The Liberal Party’s beliefs remain as relevant as ever in 2022: belief in a just and humane society, in reducing taxes and government red tape, in equal opportunity for all Australians and in preserving Australia’s natural beauty and the environment for future generations,” she said.

But Ms Price agreed the party had an “image problem” which may have contributed to the devastating loss.

“After such a loss, there must be some serious soul searching,” she said.

“Although there were many factors that contributed — some of which the party could not control — it appears we had an image problem, such as the perception that the Liberal Party does not care about issues important to women or that it was not serious about climate change,” she said.

“I am very proud of our previous government’s policies and investment in both these portfolios. However, if the voters don’t believe us or don’t hear our message, we will not get their support.”

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