Liberal Democrat Aaron Stonehouse potential kingmaker in WA’s Legislative Council
PREMIER Mark McGowan has a new “best friend” in Rockingham — 26-year-old Liberal Democrat Aaron Stonehouse who is now a potential kingmaker in Western Australia’s Legislative Council.
The call centre manager, from Rockingham, is one five minor party MPs who will have a major say in whether legislation is passed in the Legislation Council.
Mr Stonehouse told PerthNow he was willing to work with Labor on passing “good policy” in the Legislative Council — but would not have a bar of “bad policy”.
So what is good policy?
“Look, the party ethos is never vote for an increase in taxes, or a reduction in liberty,” Mr Stonehouse said.
“And that is very, very important.
“When it comes to issues that don’t fall within that scope, I am willing to work with the Labor Government and support them on good policy — but I will oppose them on bad policy.
“I will treat it issue, by issue.
“They can’t expect me to vote for increases in taxes or anything that reduces liberty.”
At 26, Mr Stonehouse now find himself a powerful player in the WA Parliament.
Who is Mr Stonehouse?
Little is known about WA’s newly elected MP other than he is single, is a call centre manager in Perth and joined the Liberal Democrats in 2014.
As counting closed in the State election yesterday, Mr Stonehouse found himself a newly elected member of parliament — along with three One Nation MPs, and a member of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.
The Liberals could only manage 9 members in the Upper House, the Nationals 4 and the Greens 4.
Labor won 14 spots in the 36-seat Legislative Council, which means it will need to work with Mr Stonehouse and the minor parties to get its agenda passed in the Upper House unless it can convince the Greens to play ball.
Complicating matters is the fact that Labor should make one of its elected 14 the President of the Legislative Council — a move which would diminish its vote even further.
Yesterday, Liberal heavyweight Peter Collier made it abundantly clear the conservatives would not make one of their own the President.
“The Labor Party have spent the past eight years relentlessly banging on about maintaining the integrity of the role of the Legislative Council and now, at the very first opportunity since taking government, they are attempting to destroy that integrity,” Mr Collier said.
“They won government and therefore it is incumbent upon them to provide a President.
“Their attempt to palm off the role of President to another party is based purely upon political opportunism not on maintaining the conventions of the Legislative Council — this is all about gaining a majority on the the floor of the chamber with their good mates the Greens — nothing more, nothing less.
“There is no appetite within the Liberal Party to accommodate this opportunism.
“Kate Doust (Labor) has been a member of the Legislative Council for many years — she is eminently qualified for the position. The Labor Party should abandon this clumsy and extremely transparent move to destroy the integrity of the role he President and support Kate for the position.”
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Rick Mazza hinted that the minor parties might work together in the Upper House.
“The ALP will need to appoint a president out of its own ranks giving them 13 votes in the chamber.
“With the Greens they will still need 1 more vote to get their legislation through.
“With a cross bench of 5 the government will no doubt negotiate its way through legislation and can do so with or without the Greens as needed.
“There will no doubt be discussions, in due course, between the three cross bench parties in relation to how they plan to regulate their vote and assess legislation on its merit.”