Roger Cook, the new Premier of Western Australia, recently delivered his first major address as the leader of the Labor Party. In his address, he used the opportunity to describe his strategies for defending WA’s interests against federal authorities in Canberra and the states in the east. 

Just 10 weeks after stepping into the shoes of Mark McGowan, who stepped down this year because of exhaustion from the job, Cook announced plans for a permanent “WA Hub” in Australia’s capital. This hub will function as a focal point for businesses, advocacy groups, local governmental bodies, charitable organisations, and NGOs.

Cook complained about the Canberra-centric attitudes that often take up Australia’s political landscape, especially those from the eastern states. At the West Australian Leadership Matters event in Perth, he went into a heated discussion about the tendency of Canberra politicians to overlook Western Australia’s contributions, especially in the manufacturing and green energy areas. Cook clarified to the press that the hub will focus on elevating Western Australia’s profile and will help to advocate for the state’s strategic interests.

Cook’s team will delegate state ministers rotationally to work in the Canberra hub in order to engage with federal authorities on matters that go along with Western Australia’s interests. 

According to Cook, this bold initiative will be a continual reminder to the capital and other states that Western Australia plays a huge role in driving the nation’s economy. He told reporters, “We need a concerted effort there to remind Canberra that we are the engine room of the nation’s economy and also its future.”

Talking to the media after his keynote speech, Cook emphasised that Western Australia’s unique geographical location is a major reason for the hub to exist in the first place. Unlike other state premiers, who can get to Canberra and back within a day, Western Australia’s distance from the capital makes it very important for the state to have a constant presence there. For Cook, the move isn’t about politics but about representing his state. 

The Premier also took a light-hearted moment to reflect on his sometimes stressful and sometimes fun journey into politics. Having served as Deputy Leader of the WA Labor Party from 2008 to 2023, and as Deputy Premier from 2017 to 2023, Cook told reporters that he has finally moved from being “Robin” to becoming “Batman.” 

Cook stated that his extensive experience in both opposition and government has prepared him for his current role as Premier. Once he entered the office, he revealed to the press that many of his friends texted him, saying, “Finally, finally you’ve become Batman.”

Premier Roger Cook’s speech threw the public his ideas for the new initiatives, which will make sure the West’s voice is heard loud and clear. With the establishment of his WA Hub in Canberra, critics and supporters will wait and see if Cook’s strategic agenda will work. His call comes at an important time for the state to lay out its goals for its future economy.