Nationals weigh up opposition leadership

Paul OsborneAAP
National Party leader Mia Davies says her team is up to the challenge of being the WA opposition.
Camera IconNational Party leader Mia Davies says her team is up to the challenge of being the WA opposition.

West Australian Nationals leader Mia Davies says the next state parliament is going to be difficult for the opposition to manage, but her party is up to the challenge.

Ms Davies, who represents Central Wheatbelt, is on track to be state opposition leader following a wipeout of the Liberals in Saturday's election.

Her party is on track to hold five seats in the parliament's lower house, compared to the Liberals' likely two.

"We can't pretend this isn't a terrible result for the Liberal party," she told ABC radio.

"It's going to be a difficult parliament."

But she said the Nationals had been around for more than a century.

"We have never shied way from a challenge, we'll deal with that bridge and cross it when we come to it."

However, she may not get a free run to retain the leadership given the changed circumstances in the parliament.

Nationals MP for North West Central, Vince Catania, said it would be up to the party room "how we go forward".

Asked on ABC radio whether he would contest the leadership, he said: "I'm not saying 'no', I'm not saying 'yes'".

"We need to talk about how best to structure the National party going forward."

Former WA premier Colin Barnett said there would be consequences in having an opposition which represented regional areas but had no representatives from metropolitan Perth.

However Ms Davies said she believed "if you look after regional areas the entire state thrives".

"We're there as a party that is focused on regional Western Australia but should that opportunity present and we are the official opposition I've got no doubt that we have the people in our team and the capability to do the job."

Ms Davies, who was first elected to the state parliament in 2008, made history five years later when she became the first female party member to be appointed deputy leader of the Nationals in WA.

She was elected party leader following the 2017 election.

Former Liberal leader Mike Nahan said the Liberals should work more closely with the Nationals in the coming term.

"I always thought for a long time the Liberal party has to govern and actually act in opposition in concert with the National Party," he told the ABC.

"We have failed to do that effectively during this last term. We have failed to be a coalition in facing a tsunami against us and that speaks badly of both parties."

Ms Davies said the working relationship with the Liberals would not be solely up to her.

"We are a democratic grassroots-run organisation. They'll be the things we'll be talking about over the course of the next few days."

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

Sign up for our emails