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Roger Cook’s blunt message after clearing major hurdle in bid to lead WA


Roger Cook has told his cabinet “it is time to get back to hard work” as the dust settles following the sudden departure of Mark McGowan.

Cook was formally confirmed as leader of the WA Labor Party during a caucus meeting on Tuesday, clearing his final hurdle on the road to being sworn in as the state’s 31st Premier.

Transport Minister Rita Saffioti will be his deputy.

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Emerging from the meeting, Cook said that after a week of political uncertainty within the party it is time for ministers to “get back to your jobs”.

“Obviously we’re all shocked by the sudden departure of Premier McGowan but now’s the time to provide stable government to the people of Western Australia with renewed focus and renewed energy,” he said.

Incoming WA Premier Roger Cook has told his cabinet it is time to get back to work. Credit: 7NEWS

“The message today was it’s now time to get back down to hard work.”

The party was rocked by McGowan’s sudden resignation last week, which ended his three-decade career in public life.

McGowan led WA for six years off the back of stints a local government councillor, MP and opposition leader.

Cook and Saffioti were among the early front-runners to replace him before eventually joining forces to overcome a tricky challenge from Health Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson.

McGowan’s exit has freed up a cabinet position, with Cook confirming Balcatta MP David Michael will be that fresh face.

Kimberley MP Divina D’Anna was also appointed as a new parliamentary secretary.

Rita Saffioti is tipped to be announced as Treasurer on Wednesday. Credit: 7NEWS

Cook said there will be more portfolio announcements on Wednesday before a swearing-in ceremony at Government House on Thursday.

Saffioti, who is expected to take on the role of WA Treasurer, described the events of the last eight days as “surreal”.

“I think anyone that’s watched me over the past six years knows that I am very committed to working hard and delivering for the state and that will never stop,” she said.

“Whatever role I get I’ll absolutely commit 100 per cent to that role.”

Banksia Hill

Cook said Banksia Hill and the 87 children inside the facility were near the front of his mind following months of controversy at the juvenile detention centre.

“I’ll be taking an initial briefing on Banksia Hill this afternoon. I’m keen to understand the problems, challenges and opportunities that exist in that facility to make sure we can provide the level of guidance and support that it needs,” Cook said.

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Source: 7News