McGowan forces minister to quit cabinet

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Western Australia’s water minister Dave Kelly has announced his resignation from cabinet “at the request” of Premier Mark McGowan to make way for more female representation.

But Mr Kelly will stay on in parliament, he told reporters on Thursday.

“I do intend to run at the next election,” Mr Kelly said.

“I’m proud of my record … I’ve supported the Premier in opposition, I’ve supported him in government. Every task he’s given me, I’ve taken.

“He’s asked me to make this decision … I’m happy to accept the request that the Premier has made today.

“I hope to see 50 per cent of women in the WA cabinet.”

It comes after Labor stalwart Alannah MacTiernan announced her retirement, paving the way for a cabinet reshuffle before Christmas.

There has been speculation about Mr Kelly’s position for weeks, with the former United Voice state secretary understood to have fallen out of favour with Mr McGowan.

Dave Kelly is quitting cabinet.Dave Kelly is quitting cabinet.

Mr Kelly, who is also the minister for forestry and youth, joined the cabinet following Labor’s landslide 2017 election victory.

The Bassendean MP lost the fisheries portfolio in 2019, and the following year he was stripped of the innovation and ICT and science portfolios.

In a subsequent statement, Mr Kelly said while he was “personally disappointed” to no longer be a minister, he had no complaints about the opportunity he had been given.

“There are 2.6 million people in WA and only 17 at any one time can be a cabinet minister,” he said.

“To have held that role for six years is an immense privilege.”

Mr Kelly also reiterated that he welcomed having more women in cabinet.

“I have always been a supporter of rules that required WA Labor to achieve 50 per cent female representation in the parliament,” he said.

“I look forward to WA Labor reaching 50 per cent female representation in cabinet.”

WA Premier Mark McGowan said Mr Kelly had been an important part of the WA Labor team. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Philip GostelowWA Premier Mark McGowan said Mr Kelly had been an important part of the WA Labor team. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Philip Gostelow

Mr Kelly’s portfolios have included water, forestry, fisheries, science, innovation and ICT, and youth.

“I have been a consistent advocate for action on climate change, ending the privatisation of public services, protecting those in lower paid employment, and ending discrimination based on race, sexuality, and gender or gender identity — along with protecting our native forests and investing in WA’s water security,” he said.

In a separate statement, the Premier said Mr Kelly had been an important part of the WA Labor team, both in opposition and government.

“His contribution to the cabinet should not be underestimated,” Mr McGowan said.

“I thank Dave for his service to the cabinet and the government, and know that he will continue to be a tireless advocate for WA and his local Bassendean community.”

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