WA Premier Roger Cook Unfazed by Celebrity Challenger



by NOUMAN RASOOL

WA Premier Roger Cook Unfazed by Celebrity Challenger
© Paul Kane/Getty Images

Western Australia's Premier, Roger Cook, confidently dismissed concerns about competing against sports commentator and political newcomer, Basil Zempilas, in the upcoming 2025 elections. Zempilas, who recently declared his intention to seek Liberal preselection for the Churchlands seat, has sparked discussions with his transition from media personality and current Lord Mayor of Perth to a potential political figure.

Cook, undeterred by Zempilas's public profile, emphasized that the electorate's focus should remain on policy over personality. "The essence of governance goes beyond the realm of celebrity. It's the policies and the commitment to safeguarding the economic and employment landscape of Western Australia that truly matter," Cook stated, reinforcing his stance on the priorities of governance.

Amid these political developments, Premier Cook announced significant cost-of-living alleviations, including complimentary public transportation for school students on weekdays and for all residents on Sundays. This initiative, set to commence in early February, extends the existing free regional school bus service to Perth, potentially saving families up to $500 annually.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti detailed that the annual $20 million expense for these programs would be accommodated in the forthcoming budget.

Election Dynamics Shift

Premier Roger Cook emphasized that the newly announced measures targeting cost-of-living pressures are not strategies aimed at gaining an electoral advantage but rather thoughtful responses to the growing concerns among Western Australians about rising living expenses and increasing interest rates.

He stressed that the government's initiatives are rooted in a deep comprehension of the economic challenges confronting the state's residents. "Our initiatives are crafted from a place of empathy and awareness of the financial hardships our citizens are enduring, and they are designed to alleviate some of these financial burdens," Cook elaborated, highlighting the empathetic approach behind the policy decisions.

As Zempilas gears up for the political arena, buoyed by his extensive media background and potential to elevate the Liberal Party's visibility, the dynamic of the upcoming election continues to evolve. However, Cook's recent policy announcements and unwavering confidence suggest a campaign focused on tangible benefits for Western Australians, steering clear of the allure of celebrity politics.