Colin James Barnett (born 15 July 1950) is an Australian politician who is the 29th and current Premier of Western Australia in his role as leader of the Western Australian Division of the Liberal Party of Australia. He had previously served as the state's Leader of the Opposition and Treasurer, as well as holding various other portfolios in Western Australia's Cabinet.
Barnett was born in Nedlands, a suburb of Perth, the capital of Western Australia, and graduated from the University of Western Australia with an economics degree. Having lectured in economics at the Western Australian Institute of Technology and served as an executive director of the Western Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly for the seat of Cottesloe at a by-election in 1990. Barnett served as a minister in the Court–Cowan Ministry from 1993 until its defeat at the 2001 election, after which he was made leader of the Liberal Party, replacing the outgoing premier, Richard Court. He resigned as leader after the unsuccessful 2005 election, but regained the position prior to the 2008 election, where he was elected premier. Barnett was sworn into office on 23 September 2008 by Ken Michael, the Governor of Western Australia at the time.
In 1990, he was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly for the seat of Cottesloe, and was immediately promoted to the Opposition front bench.
In 1992 he was elected Deputy Leader of the Opposition. After the 1993 state election which saw the Liberals take power under Richard Court, Barnett became Minister for Resources Development and Energy and later, Minister for Education and Minister for Tourism in the Court–Cowan Ministry.
The Court government was defeated at the 2001 election. Court had a somewhat frosty relationship with Barnett, and wanted to keep him from becoming leader of the opposition. On 9 March 2005 Liberal MPs elected Matt Birney, the member for Kalgoorlie, as Barnett's successor.
On 4 August 2008, Troy Buswell resigned as Opposition Leader and two days later Barnett was re-elected unopposed to the Liberal leadership despite the fact that he had previously announced his retirement and Deidre Willmott (who would subsequently be appointed as his Chief of Staff) had been endorsed in his electorate.
September 23, 2010