“I remain very hopeful that I’m returned in Dawesville, but this is always the prospect, I understand that. It just continues to reinforce why it’s so important as we get out there for the next day and a half really.”
The Opposition Leader said he just needed to keep pushing and ask the public to consider what a landslide would mean.
Mr McGowan rubbished the “bad for democracy” talk coming out of the Liberal camp and urged the public to vote how they feel because it was indeed a democracy and it was their choice to give his government a mandate.
Labor control in both houses would mean the party has no excuses when it comes to passing its backed-up legislative agenda and delivering on major projects like Metronet.
Metronet delays seem all but assured, however, with the WA under treasurer warning it would be difficult to deliver on the timelines for all the proposed infrastructure in the pipeline.
A sprawling Labor backbench will also test the mettle of the ever-patient Premier, who will need to juggle how he hands out cabinet positions in a major re-shuffle post-election while appeasing the union factions, as well as the more ambitious and hard-working members of the party.
The loss of Treasurer Ben Wyatt and reported impending departure of chief of staff Guy Houston will leave Mr McGowan without two experienced heads in his circle of trust which will have an influence on the day-to-day of the Premier’s office.
Concerns around electorate office behaviour and culture will also not be going away for Labor and the impending end to the rental moratorium will create an immediate crisis for Mr McGowan to respond to.
Where to for the Liberals?
With WA’s iron curtain looking set to close on Mr Kirkup, whose only certainty at this stage is that he will get back into his ambulance volunteering after the election, the direction of the Liberal Party is at the mercy of their Saturday result.
As much as a 10 per cent swing would leave the Liberals with just Sean L’Estrange in Churchlands, David Honey in Cottesloe, and Deputy Leader Libby Mettam in Vasse.
Such a result would actually mean the Nationals become the official opposition with four seats but the Liberals would still need to pick their own leader.
Mr L’Estrange, the shadow treasurer, was spotty on the details of key Liberal promises at Thursday’s costings event and repeatedly told reporters he was just there to talk about how he had made the calculations for his party’s policies fit the budget forward estimates.
The performance gives him room to scrap things like the energy plan if he were to become the new leader.
Ms Mettam’s unbridled enthusiasm and familiarity with the transport portfolio puts her in a good position to take on the top job, however, with scrutiny of Metronet and an overflowing infrastructure schedule to become a major point of debate in a new Parliament.
Dr Honey’s energy plan will have a tough time surviving a new Liberal caucus if the party suffers a major loss in electorates like Murray-Wellington, which had looked like one of the only places the opposition would gain ground.
In the upper house, the Liberals look to be in danger of losing at least two seats and dropping down to just seven representatives.
How to follow along on election day
WAtoday will be live blogging on Saturday from 3pm with the latest updates from the McGowan and Kirkup camps into the night, a seat-by-seat call, and analysis on the ramifications of the results.
With Mr McGowan expected to romp home, the election could be called within an hour in the event of a Labor landslide.
The 2012 Queensland election was declared by analysts just 48 minutes after the polls closed as the Liberal-National Party, which won 78 of 89 seats in the one-house parliament, went on to record 49 per cent of the primary vote and 62.8 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.
A similar showing in WA will see the dissection of the opposition’s strategies and hot takes for its future in full swing with no shortage of political insiders on radio and television from 6pm.
Nine News Perth, owned by the same company as this masthead, has one of the more interesting commentator line-ups with the state’s potential new treasurer in Rita Saffioti alongside the man who could have been opposition leader Dean Nalder, who has retired from politics and will be free to give his two cents without fear of party repercussion.
Switching to the wireless and 6PR, also in the Nine media stable, has revered columnist and presenter Gareth Parker, political sciences professor Martin Drum, and WAtoday’s very own Tess Ingram.
On ABC, TV viewers have two veteran politicians in Police Minister Michelle Roberts and the first of the three opposition leaders during the past parliament in Mike Nahan, who also served as treasurer under the previous government.
Mr Kirkup’s old boss, former Premier Colin Barnett, will be heard with federal Labor MP Madeleine King, and the bloke who wrote the book on WA premiers, Peter Kennedy, in the ABC’s radio coverage.
Whether Labor achieves the ‘total control’ in the upper house the Liberals keep talking about could take a few more days, given the complexities of counters sifting through the preference maze of ballots which feature 19 parties.
You’ve heard of democracy sausages but Mr McGowan is taking full advantage of his cult status in the kebab hospitality sector by encouraging people to get their hands around a wrap on election day.
Labor has been wringing Mr McGowan’s moment of pop culture levity for everything it is worth but all that kebab talk will probably start to subside post-election as the social media boffins in the Premier’s office switch their strategy to stoking the public to back his future moves in Parliament.
The promises you might have missed this week
There has been no new money pledged by the Liberal Party for about two weeks but its costings announcement on Thursday was a shambles.
The Liberals say they will only create a $1.4 billion impost on the budget but a lot of their major projects were back-ended to beyond the out years and relied heavily on federal grants.
Labor kept rolling out tens of millions of dollars in promises and revealed its commitments would cost $2.4 billion over the forward estimates.
Mr Kirkup cut short a planned last-minute bush blast hitting up towns between Kununurra and Albany on Thursday and Friday.
Instead he just ducked into Kalgoorlie, a marginal seat which was a marginal three-way contest in 2017, on Thursday afternoon after a trainwreck reveal of the Liberals’ election promise costings.
Mr Kirkup said the trip had to be cut short to meet media commitments in Perth ahead of polling day, which was easily spun as another knock against the Liberals’ regional efforts.
Mr McGowan was also in Kalgoorlie on Thursday, where he was chased by a No Mandatory Vaccination candidate, following a stop-over in towns like Kalbarri in the electorate of Nationals MP Vince Catania.
Kalbarri has been this year been included in North West Central – which only has about 10,000 electors – after a boundary re-draw, but is still firmly Nationals territory.
Dedicating time in the last week of an election to a country seat which requires a 9.5 swing to win shows just how confident Mr McGowan is at this point, targeting electorates that don’t seem all that marginal but could very well be swept up by a red tsunami, with some polling still suggesting a 60 per cent two-party preferred vote for Labor.
Mr McGowan would have also got a kick out of campaigning in Mr Catania’s seat, with no love lost between the two after the latter defected from Labor to the Nationals in 2009.
Peter de Kruijff is a journalist with WAtoday.