|Leader of the Opposition in Western Australia|
24 March 2006 – 17 January 2008
|Preceded by||Matt Birney|
|Succeeded by||Troy Buswell|
May 26, 1950 |
Manjimup, Western Australia
|Political party||Independent (former Liberal)|
Omodei was born in Manjimup, a town in the South West of Western Australia, and was of Italian ancestry. He attended St Joseph's School in Pemberton and worked as a potato farmer and horticulturalist in the area. In 1977, he became a councillor on the Manjimup Shire Council, and from 1985 until 1989, he served as Shire President.
At the 1989 election, he won the previously safe Labor seat of Warren for the Liberal Party in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. In 1992, he became the Shadow Minister for Local Government. When the Liberals won power under Richard Court at the 1993 election, he became Minister for Local Government—a post he held for both of Court's terms of office—and Water Resources. In 1995, he moved from Water Resources to Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs. In 1996, he won the enlarged seat of Warren-Blackwood. In 1997, he added the Disability Services portfolio and in 1999 Forest Products.
Following the defeat of the Court government at the 2001 election, Omodei held various shadow cabinet posts, including Local Government, Emergency Services and Regional Development.
At the 2005 election, where Labor achieved a decisive victory, Colin Barnett resigned as leader of the party, and Matt Birney was elected in Barnett's stead, with Omodei elected deputy leader. He was forced to resign in October 2005 after he was convicted of unlawfully shooting his son during a rabbit cull. His son's thumb was shot after the gun accidentally went off while being loaded. An appeal against the conviction was dismissed. News coverage during the latter part of Birney's time in office centred on an alleged breach of parliamentary disclosure rules and several gaffes. After a botched attempt to sack shadow attorney-general Sue Walker, a leadership spill was declared on 24 March 2006, which Omodei narrowly won after deputy leader Troy Buswell voted for him over Birney.
In mid-2007, with increasingly hostile coverage from the state newspaper of record, The West Australian, and the Liberal Opposition's failure to make ground on any key issue against the Government despite a number of scandals, speculation emerged in the media that Omodei would be replaced as leader by his deputy, Troy Buswell after the Federal election on 24 November 2007. In December, Newspoll recorded Omodei's preferred premier rating as 13% against premier Alan Carpenter's 63%—ranking as one of the lowest ever figures for an Opposition leader in Australia.
Although preselected for the winnable second seat for the South West Legislative Council region, a State conference on 3 May 2008 lowered him to fourth place, and he subsequently announced his resignation from the Liberal Party. In his announcement, he stated that in his opinion, Buswell was "not a fit and proper person to lead the party". However, he did not make his resignation official until 19 June.
- "Buswell new WA Liberal leader". 17 January 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-17.
- Who's Who in Australia. Melbourne: Herald and Weekly Times. 2003. p. 1447. 0810-8226.
- "Hon. Paul Omodei MLA". waliberals.net. Retrieved 2007-11-28.
- Omodei v The State of Western Australia 2006/ 210 .html [ 2006] WASC 210
- "WA Libs beset by ongoing leadership problems". The World Today (ABC). 23 March 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- "Political Chronicles - Western Australia". Australian Journal of Politics and History 52 (4). December 2006. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8497.2006.00437a.x.
- "Omodei: Federal Liberal impacting on my polling". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 9 August 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- "Coalition noses ahead in West". The Australian. 31 December 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-04.
- Cordingley, Glenn; Bolton, Hayley (3 May 2008). "Omodei quits, takes a parting shot at Buswell". PerthNow. Retrieved 2008-05-03.[dead link]
- "Last straw: Omodei". ABC Online. 19 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-19.
|Leader of the Opposition
|Party political offices|
|Leader of the Liberal Party of Australia (WA division)