Rick Wilson launches campaign with Labor claiming he should be "concerned"

Campaign underway: O’Connor MP Rick Wilson with his wife Tanya, their children Pippa, Archie, Emma and Annalise, WA Senator Dean Smith and O’Connor Liberal Division president Steve Martin. Photo: Supplied.
Campaign underway: O’Connor MP Rick Wilson with his wife Tanya, their children Pippa, Archie, Emma and Annalise, WA Senator Dean Smith and O’Connor Liberal Division president Steve Martin. Photo: Supplied.

Liberal MP for O’Connor Rick Wilson officially launched his re-election campaign on February 8, although he does not yet face an opponent from the Australian Labor Party.

Liberal Senator Dean Smith touted increased parental income thresholds for the independent Youth Allowance and more mobile phone towers for O’Connor than any other electorate in Australia, as some of Mr Wilson's achievements. 

Mr Wilson also claimed road funding, increased child care funding and new aged care facilities as other highlights.

He said he hadn't achieved everything he set out to and asked voters, in the seat which includes Esperance, for a third term. 

WA Labor MLC for the Agricultural Region Darren West said Labor would soon announce an "outstanding candidate" in O'Connor.

"Mr Wilson has every right to be concerned about holding on to his seat as he has been a totally ineffective MP," Mr West said.

"His decision to support Peter Dutton during the knifing of Malcolm Turnbull shows how out of touch with his electorate he has become.

"Mr Wilson has had six years to deliver on important projects such as the Esperance Tanker Jetty but has failed O'Connor voters."

Along with O'Connor, the massive northern electorate of Durack and the south-west electorate of Forrest remain the only three seats in WA where the ALP has not announced a candidate.

All three are regional and all three were easily retained by the Liberal Party in 2016. 

"Naturally we have pre-selected and got candidates out in the marginal seats that we need to win to form government, and we did that last year," Mr West said.

"The preferred candidates that we have nominated in these seats have needed to then go through the normal vetting process, sort out any issues that might arise and will be announced shortly.

"We will have candidates in all the field and we'll be chasing every vote we can get in every seat."

Mr West said these three seats were in play given the "chaos and turmoil" of the Abbott-Turnbull-Morrison Government.

Although the Greens, the Nationals and the Australian Conservatives have all announced a challenger to the Liberals in O'Connor, Mr West said Labor was not behind.

"The election is not till mid-May," he said.

"There's plenty of time for people to get their campaign message out.

"In fact, I think voters don't like early campaigning as I think Clive Palmer has shown everyone.

"We'll have a very credible candidate out, who will make a great representative for O'Connor well before the election period begins."