Rundle ready to rumble

Dorothy HendersonThe West Australian
New MP for Roe, Katanning farmer Peter Rundle.
Camera IconNew MP for Roe, Katanning farmer Peter Rundle. Credit: no copyright

As the dust settles after the election, candidates are recovering from a gruelling campaign.

Incoming MLA for the seat of Roe, Nationals representative Peter Rundle, said the past 12 months had been “hard work” and the outcome was a consequence of the values the Nationals were seen to promote.

He dismissed the 7.9 per cent swing to One Nation in the Roe electorate as a further indicator of the disillusionment of voters with the major political parties, and said this was a phenomenon that was being seen around the globe.

“This figure is part of an overall dissatisfaction. People are tired of major political parties,” he said.

Get in front of tomorrow's news for FREE

Journalism for the curious Australian across politics, business, culture and opinion.


“I don’t see that lasting.

“People want a candidate that is part of the region, part of their community; someone with a track record.”

Mr Rundle said the situation with the plethora of micro-parties now threatening the ability of governments to govern was “silly” and an issue that needed to be tackled by the new State Government.

“We should be looking at some kind of electoral reform similar to that implemented by the Federal Government to lessen the negative impact of the abundance of micro-parties.”

The Katanning farmer is now preparing for his new life as an MP, working through the intricacies of what to do with cropping programs and the 3500 sheep he runs on the farm as the reality of the election outcome sinks in.

He said he came on to the scene as “the new person on the block”, with political opponent and sitting Eyre MLA Graham Jacobs running for the same seat and with the support of established electorate offices and networks.

“I was preselected in February 2016, and attended the Wagin Woolorama as the Nationals candidate for Roe,” he said.

Mr Rundle said he had spent the whole year campaigning, attending “every footy match and every hockey match” that he could get to in order to familiarise himself with the electorate, and allow his potential constituents to get to know him.

Mr Rundle said the new seat of Roe, which had not been contested since it was won by the Liberal party in 2005, included areas which had previously been the domain of Terry “Tuck” Waldron as part of the Wagin electorate, and the Shire of Esperance.

He said while his success could be attributed to the fact that Mr Waldron had done a great job of representing his constituents and creating a stronghold for the Nationals in that area, this benefit was countered by the fact Dr Jacobs was the sitting member for Eyre, an electorate now included in the seat of Roe.

Mr Rundle said he believed the Nationals had been successful, despite predictions that the Liberal Party and One Nation influences would render the party irrelevant, because people wanted parties that cared about them.

“At this stage, people can see that the Nationals are about caring for the community, and about caring for the regions,” he said.

“They can see that there is little room for egos in our party and that we are about caring for communities and making the regions a better place to live, work and invest.”

Mr Rundle said while the fate of former Nationals leader Brendon Grylls was sealed in losing his seat of Pilbara, “he is a once-in-a-generation politician, for the whole of regional Western Australia.”

He said he was hopeful the agricultural policies the Nationals had worked on to encourage a healthy industry in WA would be looked at seriously by the new government, and he was pleased to note that Labor was committed to maintaining the Royalties for Regions program.

He also said one of his first priorities was to ensure that attention was paid to those families, individuals and businesses adversely affected by floods earlier this year.

“I feel that the areas affected by the floods, including Ravensthorpe, Hopetoun and Jerdacuttup, did not receive the attention they deserved because the damage occurred during the lead up to the election,” he said.

Dr Jacobs, in a message to his constituents posted on his Facebook page, congratulated Mr Rundle and thanked the people of Roe for giving him the opportunity to represent his community.

“I look forward to re-entering permanent medical practice to serve in a different capacity,” he wrote.

He was back at work in his medical practice the Tuesday after the election.

Nationals candidate for the Agricutural Region in the State’s Upper House, Colin de Grussa, was also pleased to win.

Mr de Grussa had come close to removing Dr Jacobs from his Eyre seat in the 2013 State election, leading the polling at one point before the tally swung against him.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails