WA’s premier-in-waiting makes shock withdrawal from the race to replace Mark McGowan after back-room deal by her rival
- WA premier Mark McGowan quit on Monday
- Deputy premier’s deal sees opponent drop out
Roger Cook is set to become the 31st Premier of Western Australia after Amber-Jade Sanderson withdrew from the running, just hours after winning the endorsement of a major faction.
Earlier on Tuesday, 28 United Workers Union (UWU) MPs voted to back Ms Sanderson, the Health Minister, as their preferred candidate over Deputy Premier Roger Cook to replace Mark McGowan, who quit suddenly on Monday.
But by Tuesday afternoon, Ms Sanderson had withdrawn when it became clear Mr Cook had made a deal with another contender – Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
The replacement for Mark McGowan, who quit suddenly on Monday, is set to be announced as WA’s new premier and it’s not who most people expected
Roger Cook is set to replace McGowan after he made a deal with transport minister Rita Saffioti that led to Ms Sanderson dropping out
‘As I said this morning I was going to talk to my colleagues,’ Ms Sanderson told The West Australian.
‘I have done that and in the interests of unity and stability I will not be putting myself forward.
‘I have 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 fast turnaround from the confidence she had shown after the left faction meeting.
‘I’ve been chosen with a clear majority to be the candidate to go forward for the leadership,’ Ms Sanderson said following the meeting.
‘I will now reach out to my family. I will now reach out to my colleagues across the caucus with a focus on unity and stability.’
Mr Cook had left that meeting without making comment.
Ms Saffioti on Monday had flagged her interest to succeed Mr McGowan.
She said on Monday, following Mr McGowan’s resignation, that she was sounding out a potential leadership tilt with her colleagues.
Ms Sanderson also needed the support of the metalworkers union, whose members are also part of WA Labor’s Left faction.
The deal between Mr Cook and Ms Saffioti, and the withdrawal of Ms Sanderson from the race, appears to have ended the need for the entire Labor caucus to vote in a ballot.
On Tuesday, 28 United Workers Union (UWU) MPs voted to back Amber-Jade Sanderson, the Health Minister, as their preferred candidate but that wasn’t the deciding factor
Mr McGowan announced on Monday afternoon that he was stepping down as premier and Rockingham MP because he was ‘extremely tired’
If Mr Cook becomes premier, Ms Saffioti will be his deputy and treasurer under a deal between the pair, the West Australian said.
Mr McGowan announced on Monday afternoon that he was stepping down as premier and Rockingham MP because he was ‘tired, extremely tired.’
‘In fact, I’m exhausted,’ he told a media conference, citing six years in the role, including three dealing with the Covid pandemic, as having taken its toll.
He remains premier until next week.