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No progress made by Liberals and Nationals in negotiating a change in Opposition Leader

Anna CoxMidwest Times
Liberals leader Libby Mettam speaks to the media following the scrapping of the heritage laws on Tuesday morning.
Camera IconLiberals leader Libby Mettam speaks to the media following the scrapping of the heritage laws on Tuesday morning. Credit: Kelsey Reid/The West Australian

Shane Love does not appear to be any closer to forfeiting his Opposition Leader mantle to the Liberals’ Libby Mettam less than 18 months out from the next State election.

Discussions to leverage the Nationals’ alliance with the Liberals in the next election have been happening since February, according to Mr Love.

“We have been talking to the Liberal Party about arrangement for the upcoming election, but no agreements have been reached,” the Nationals WA leader and Moore MP said on Monday.

At the Liberal Party’s State conference on the weekend, Ms Mettam declared her party can win the 2025 election — just four years after the bloodbath of the 2021 poll left the Liberals with only two Lower House MPs and losing official Opposition party status to the Nationals, who won four Lower House seats in 2021.

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Mr Love said he had seen a strong appetite for change in the past six months, which he put down to a cocktail of mishaps on behalf of the Cook Government.

Despite his declaration that the public wanted change, Mr Love did not seem keen on handing the Opposition Leader baton to Ms Mettam.

The exchange would likely see Mr Love step aside in exchange for prime positions on a combined Upper House ticket.

Mr Love said there had been ongoing discussions to reach an agreement between the two opposing parties before the election.

Under parliamentary protocols, the Opposition party is the one with the second most amount of seats in Parliament. The loophole appears when two parties are able to reach an agreement to transfer the title of Opposition Leader.

Mr Love said the focus for him was on ensuring the regions had a government which listened to them.

He said both parties had work to do before they could climb the hill and secure a majority.

“The election is 18 months away so its not imminent, but there is still work to be done,” he said.

Mr Love said the Liberal Party was still willing to work constructively with the Nationals, while the way forward was discussed.

The Nationals have previously revealed plans to contest some metropolitan seats at the next election.

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