Liberal Churchlands hopeful Basil Zempilas unleashes on Labor in State Council speech

Joe SpagnoloThe West Australian
Basil Zempilas.
Camera IconBasil Zempilas. Credit: Justin Benson-Cooper/The Sunday Times

Basil Zempilas has unleashed on Labor in his first speech to the Liberal faithful — saying the Cook Government was “out of touch, arrogant and has lost its way”.

The Perth Lord Mayor was today officially endorsed as the Liberal candidate for Churchlands at the party’s State Council meeting in Bentley.

Addressing the Liberal attendees, Mr Zempilas let loose on Labor — and Premier Roger Cook.

“At the next election, there will be a clear choice — a tired, eight-year-old Labor government with a premier the people didn’t elect, which is out of touch, arrogant and has lost its way,” Mr Zempilas said in his speech.

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“Or a resurgent Liberal Party with candidates chosen by the most democratic preselection process this State has ever seen.”

Churchlands is one of several seats that used to bleed blue.

But at the now-infamous 2021 State election, Churchlands — as well as traditional Liberal seats like Nedlands, Carine and South Perth — sensationally fell to Labor, which won 53 out of 59 seats in the Legislative Assembly.

Basil Zempilas with Libby Mettam and Michaelia Cash.
Camera IconBasil Zempilas with Libby Mettam and Michaelia Cash. Credit: Ross Swanborough/The West Australian

Only now Liberal leader Libby Mettam in Vasse and Dr David Honey in Cottesloe kept their seats.

Mr Zempilas is the Liberals’ star recruit, and he is already being touted as a future leader of the embattled party.

He cited cost-of-living hikes and the housing crisis as key issues for voters in the upcoming election.

“As they (voters) grapple with paying the bills, finding a home, affording the rent, being safe in their homes,” he said.

“And they negotiate a broken health system, overcrowded schools and a police force with more officers quitting than joining.

“And they contemplate Metronet costing around $12 billion — still not finished and being delivered at any cost — they ask, how can this be?

“The people who put their faith in Labor have been let down.”

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