A controversial State politician is hoping to connect parliament to regional WA, and test the Labor Government’s commitment to residents outside Perth.
Daylight Saving Member for the Mining and Pastoral region Wilson Tucker launched his “Bring Your Own Question” campaign on Monday, an online tool which will allow voters to lodge questions directed at ministers in the McGowan Government, which Mr Tucker will ask on their behalf in parliament.
He launched the project in Kalgoorlie-Boulder because it is the biggest city in his electorate, with potential to expand in other regional centres such as Karratha and Broome.
To participate people will need to register their phone and email address, but Mr Tucker — who has a background in the tech industry — ruled out using this data for political advertising and promised to purge people’s details from his computer system.
Mr Tucker was controversially elected to the Legislative Council with fewer than 100 primary votes at the 2021 election, sparking a process of electoral reform which will see all upper house seats, including Mr Tucker’s, removed in favour of one Statewide electorate.
This triggered fears for representation of regional communities in State Parliament, with concerns politicians will focus their campaigns on Perth where the vast majority of votes can be won.
The Government has played down these concerns and said it would allocate a fair number of candidates to bush electorates and stay committed to the regions, but Mr Tucker said his new campaign would put this to the test.
“The debate on electoral reform ended with the Government more or less saying that even though there may be fewer regional voices under the new legislation, the outcomes for regional WA will be just as good because ‘Labor cares about the regions’,” Mr Tucker said.
“If Labor is true to their word, they’ll answer the people’s questions sincerely and take action on any shortcomings that they may reveal.”
Local members are already contactable via phone or email, but Mr Tucker said his campaign was different because it would allow voters to control the narrative and directly pose questions to the Government.
He expected COVID-19 rules, recent power blackouts and the controversial electoral reforms to feature heavily in people’s questions.
“Regional WA is a big place. My hope is that by making myself more accessible online, more people will choose to participate in our democracy,” Mr Tucker said.