Australia’s Liberals have made significant gains in the conservative state of Western Australia (WA). There are still results to come in but there is a real possibility that the Liberals will be able to form a coalition government with the National Party. Since John Howard’s defeat last year the Liberals have been out of power across Australia. The embattled Liberal leader, Brendan Nelson, will take heart from the result. More at Bloomberg.
The ruling WA Labor party called the early election to take advantage of a forced leadership change in the Liberals. A few factors seem to have brought them to the brink of defeat:
- Successful Liberal attempts to complain about Labor ‘cutting and running’;
- A website that attempted to exploit former WA Liberal leader’s sniffing of the chair of a female colleague. The Australian described the website as "every bit as offensive to women as Buswell’s initial antics". Labor were forced to close it down;
- Internal tensions in the Labor party of New South Wales which unhelpfully broke out on the eve of the WA ballot.
Canada’s minority Conservative government will hope for more success when Stephen Harper announces an early General Election, probably tomorrow.