The Gallop Government: A Perspective by Andre Malan

Now retired, South African-born Andre Malan worked as a journalist in Perth for almost 40 years after arriving here in 1968. At different times he was an interstate bureau chief, chief of staff, investigative reporter and features editor on The West Australian and The Western Mail. In the 1990s he established The West's Asia Desk, which comprehensively increased the newspaper's coverage of the region. For the last seven years of his newspaper career he wrote a regular opinion column for The West.

Among politicians, Geoff Gallop stood out for his earnestness and sincerity. These are virtues that we say we expect from our leaders, but sincere expression also carries risks to the speaker. From the start of his premiership there were hints of his vulnerability and a sense that he could be hurt by undue criticism or acts of disloyalty.

He is also a classic policy wonk. That’s the sort of person who can speak for hours and in great detail about the sort of subjects most of us are happy someone else is taking care of. He must have been a great person to be on committees with.

On balance I’d say that he left Perth in better shape than it was before his term as leader, particularly in regard to the environment, indigenous wellbeing, multiculturalism and the construction of the Mandurah rail line.

Andre MalanAndre Malan.
Photograph courtesy Andre Malan.