You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Barnett's office 'out of control': Morton

AAP logoAAP 19/09/2016

A former WA minister has accused the premier's inner sanctum of an "out of control, undermining, threatening, bullying and intimidating" culture that sidelines cabinet members, including leadership challenger Dean Nalder.

Helen Morton, who lost her portfolio in the biggest cabinet reshuffle in Colin Barnett's eight-year reign in March, said one staffer was a particular problem.

While Ms Morton would not name them on ABC radio on Monday, she said she would raise the matter at a party room meeting on Tuesday, which is already set to be explosive with the prospect of a leadership spill.

"A particular member of staff who I felt so strongly about was having such a demoralising and destructive and divisive impact across my staff that I banned that member of staff from having any further contact with me, my office or my staff," she said.

The offending staffer was "attempting to engage with people to rearrange policy ideas that had already been confirmed by cabinet" and made it hard for media advisers to know who they had to answer to, constantly summoning them to the premier's office.

Ms Morton said she didn't think banning the staffer from her office cost her the cabinet role but contributed to it.

But the problem was broader than just one individual.

"That machine that surrounds the premier is out of control."

Ms Morton said she spoke with Mr Nalder and Tony Simpson after they quit cabinet at the weekend and confirmed they had experienced similar problems.

Mr Barnett said he had no idea what she was referring to.

"I really, honestly don't know what Helen is talking about," the premier said.

Ms Morton said he needed to take responsibility for the office culture, which was set by the leader.

"I'm not even sure if the premier is fully aware of the impact that some of this behaviour is having on ministers around their offices," she said.

While she believed Mr Barnett had done a great job, voters in the eastern metropolitan region had signalled the Liberals would only get a third term with a different leader.

But she stopped short of saying she would support Mr Nalder, saying he "had a bit of a job done on him by the premier's office".

"I'll be waiting to see who puts their hand up, but at the moment, I'm saying that I'm not prepared to basically cast adrift this metropolitan region to keep the current leadership in place."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon