The West Australian: how has the newspaper been covering the election? – Crikey

12 weeks of Crikey for $12
To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your Crikey account.

Contact us on: [email protected]
In WA, where almost all print publications are owned by one company, a paper such as The West Australian has far-reaching influence.

May 12, 2022
Any eastern state viewers addicted enough to politics to tune in to the final leaders debate last night — implicitly pitched at WA, it didn’t start until after 9pm for the majority of the country — got a taste of life in a one-paper town.
The West Australian’s logo was all over the walls behind the two leaders as they spoke, and for the final third they were joined by the paper’s political editor Lanai Scarr for state-centric questions.
In 2016 The West took over its only print competitor, The Sunday Times. In 2019 it bought out News Corp’s stake in the Community News Group, putting almost every print publication in Western Australia under the control of Kerry Stokes, who also owns Channel Seven. Anyone wanting to win the west had better pay attention to The West.
Behind the wrap-around Harvey Norman ads, the front page of today’s West awarded victory in last night’s leaders face-off to Anthony Albanese following a “civil” debate.
The front page of tomorrow's The West Australian #auspol pic.twitter.com/5PfjsE8Zct
The image features both leaders, rather than a triumphant solo shot of the Labor leader, but we suspect WA Labor will take it: elsewhere the paper has hammered it during the campaign.
Indeed, just yesterday the paper went after Labor candidate Zaneta Mascarenhas for the crucial seat of Swan — one of three WA seats identified as potential gains for the ALP — citing her pre-politics connection to an organisation that advocated for a carbon tax. Ironically, this “must-read election scoop” was written by Scarr, who, as part of that night’s grilling of Albanese and Morrison, cited the expert consensus that a carbon price is the most effective means of reducing emissions.
And WA’s most high-profile teal independent, Kate Chaney, challenging liberal incumbent Celia Hammond in Curtin, has also come under scrutiny for failing to align herself with either party, which would be, well, the opposite of being an independent?
The front page of tomorrow's The West Australian #auspol pic.twitter.com/TfQrNTkqtO
One could argue any one of these stories is in the public interest. And of course the announcement of the WA-based campaign launch got Labor two relatively positive front pages.
But it’s not just what is covered, but what’s missing. During the campaign the only front pages concerning individual candidates have concerned Labor and independents. To pick one example, Ken Wyatt’s call for politicians to get a pay rise — during an election where cost of living and stagnating wages are huge issues — didn’t get a front page either before or after the prime minister called a $1-an-hour increase for minimum-wage earners “economic vandalism”. Wyatt is the Liberal incumbent for Hasluck, another crucial seat.
And surely the Liberal Party can’t have minded the front page on May 4, the day after the Reserve Bank of Australia had raised interest rates for the first time in more than a decade. Rather than focus on what the news would mean for everyday Australians, or what this would do to the Coalition’s economic credentials, the West found a boomer to tell everyone to stop whinging.
Its front page featured 85-year-old retiree (and president of the WA Self Funded Retirees group) Ron de Gruchy, facing the camera unsmiling and hand on hip, recalling the 17% interest rates he had to pay in 1990.
“Back then, people didn’t complain — they just adjusted,” he says, under the headline: “You call that a rate hike!”
We can’t find, going back to February 5 at least, a single front page dedicated to making Scott Morrison look stupid (the closest would be the budget coverage, which asked if the “Quid Game” was Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s “last roll of the dice”). Unlike, say, the first week of the campaign, when the West (far from alone on this, to be fair) squeezed out several days of coverage from Albanese’s slip on the unemployment rate.
And compare the relative prominence of the “presidential and headed for WA” photoshoots for Morrison and Albanese:
Charlie Lewis
Tips and Murmurs Editor
Charlie Lewis pens Crikey’s daily Tips and Murmurs column and also writes on industrial relations, politics and culture. He previously worked across government and unions and was a researcher on RN’s Daily Planet. He currently co-hosts Spin Cycle on Triple R radio.
WA, the tyranny of distance and a mob of people who may well be unable to vote

May 20, 2022
The Mark McGowan factor: can the emperor of WA turn the election for Labor?

May 18, 2022

The mysteries of Pearce: is life after Porter more red than blue?

May 20, 2022
A dreary read at the best of times, mostly wide-eyed coverage on the two local AFL teams and space for anyone who wants to whinge about McGowan, or high rise in their suburb.
Yes, I tend to think that tabloids use sport as a vector, to transmit the virus of far right thought to the public.
That is the S.O.P. of NewsCorpse with the Hun & Terrograph in this country and his putrid SUN in Blighty.
Not to mention SKY whichwas originally sold to subscribers as all-sport/all-the-time.
The rancid Right ratbaggery snuck in later, undercover.
You nailed it Charlie. The West is a rag. Perth is really a no paper town.
Yep this was all news to me, we stopped having “The West” delivered a few years ago, your report it confirms that buy continuing to subscribe, I was not going to get balanced reporting. If I could afford too, I would love to live within the Post Newspapers coverage area. Now that is a a newspaper with integrity, and I believe making a dollar.
An 85 year old is not a boomer!
I stopped reading this rag years ago. All it is missing is a page three boob shot now it has Bolt. Online choices have relegated the idea Stokes has influence redundant.
I tried reading the West again but gave up trying to find any sort of news among the swathes of Harvey Norman adverts and Big Mining boosterism. The decline of The West is something tragic, especially in such a small and isolated community. The only purpose it serves now is to discern Mr Stokes’ current business interests, such as when it turned on McGowan about the same time there was some hint that Mr Stokes’ Waitsia gas project might have to actually pay some sort of taxes or royalties.
Copyright © 2022 Crikey
Contact us on: [email protected]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *