Wednesday, April 17, 2024

WA Premier resigns: “I’m exhausted”

Western Australian Premier, Mark McGowan has today resigned as the State’s leader, midway through his second term in office, saying “I’m exhausted”.

Mr McGowan held a snap press conference this afternoon, where he confirmed his intention to step down as Premier and as the member for Rockingham.

This will be the departing Premier’s final week in the WA Parliament.

He said that as Premier he had “loved the challenge of solving problems, making decisions, getting outcomes, and helping people”.

“But the truth is I’m tired, extremely tired. In fact, I’m exhausted.

He was elected as Premier of Western Australia in March 2017. Prior to that, he served as Opposition Leader for more than five years.

“All up, I have held the privileged position as WA Labor Leader for more than 11 years,” Mr McGowan said in a lengthy statement on Facebook, which follows:

I’ve served in Parliament for around 26 years as either Premier, opposition leader, minister, shadow minister and parliamentary secretary, and of course, as the Member for Rockingham.

Prior to that, I served for three years as a Rockingham City Councillor and Deputy Mayor.

That’s nearly 30 years in public life. It’s been an honour and privilege to serve the people of this state and my community over this time. It’s way beyond what I ever envisioned my career would amount to.

When I drove across the Nullarbor in my Corolla as a young Navy officer to begin my posting at Garden Island, I never imagined I would one day become Premier.

When I eventually was elected as Premier, I had ambitions for our State. I wanted Western Australia to become the strongest, most successful state in the nation. To further diversify our economy, and have the strongest public finances. To be socially reformist, with the landmark achievements in conservation and environmental protection. To provide our citizens with quality public services and long-term infrastructure – for our long-term future.

I stand here today, and I know our State is in the position I set out to reach.

We have the strongest economy in Australia, and one of the strongest in the world. We turned our finances around, returning the Budget to surplus, and debt being repaid. We regained the AAA credit rating. We secured our fair share of GST. We have the best funded healthcare, police and education services in Australia. We invested in TAFE and training, significantly reducing TAFE fees and embarked on major upgrades to TAFE campuses across the state.

We are taking climate action, with a massive program of national parks expansion, safely transitioning out of coal-fired power stations and we are stopping the logging of our native forests.

We’ve passed ground-breaking social reforms – including voluntary assisted dying laws, and achieved the long held ambition of making our parliament truly democratic.

We have invested significantly in a wide range of industries – creating quality jobs for Western Australians into the future.

We are building the economic and social infrastructure for our State’s future.

The biggest ever expansion of our public transport system is under construction across our suburbs.

METRONET will connect communities, connect people to job and training opportunities – and deliver affordable transport options for Western Australians long into the future.

We’ve embarked on a significant program of upgrading our public hospitals across our suburbs and our regional towns. The new Women and Babies Hospital is fully funded and ready to be built.

And the foundations are now there for WA’s next major port – to serve our state for the next 100 years.

I’ve loved the role. I’ve loved being able to deliver on our agenda for the benefit of our State and I’ve loved the challenge of solving problems, making decisions, getting outcomes, and helping people.

But the truth is I’m tired. The role of political leadership doesn’t stop. It is relentless. It comes with huge responsibility, that is all consuming, each and every day. And combined with the COVID-19 years, it’s taken it out of me.

I’m convinced that WA Labor can, and will, win the next election in 2025.

But, I just don’t have the energy or drive that’s required to continue in the role as Premier.

This job is like no other. After seven elections across nearly three decades, now is the right time to step away from the job I have loved. Therefore, I will be resigning as Premier and the Member for Rockingham. This week will be my final week.

To all of my ministerial and caucus colleagues – thank you for the support over nearly three decades. The Cabinet team I leave behind is full of quality, experience and energy – ready to take this State forward.

To the Western Australian branch of the Australian Labor Party, its members and affiliated unions – thank you.

All of us in public life are nothing without the Party and its members and supporters. I’ll be forever grateful and loyal. And I am honoured to have led the WA Labor Party for as long as I have.

I would like to thank my ministerial and caucus colleagues, the WA Labor Party and its members and affiliated unions, and all those I have worked with throughout the years. Our State is richer because of your many contributions.

To my wife Sarah and our three children – Samuel, Alexander and Amelia – thank you for everything over so many hard years.

And to the people of this great State – thank you.

Wherever you live, or whatever you do, or however you vote – thank you.

It has been an absolute privilege to serve as the 30th Premier of Western Australia.

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