Albany’s Most Influential — the politician

Albany Advertiser
Speaker of the House, Albany MLA Peter Watson.
Camera IconSpeaker of the House, Albany MLA Peter Watson. Credit: Sharon Smith

He’s Speaker of the House in Parliament, a former Olympian and a diehard Collingwood Magpies fan.

Most people just know him as “Watto”.

After 18 years as Member for Albany, Peter Watson is undoubtedly one of the city’s most recognisable and influential figures.

The only doubts hover over his future in parliament, with retirement talk sure to mount as the 2021 State election approaches.

Though his victory in 2001 came as a surprise, Mr Watson has been re-elected at five elections since, even when the broader WA electorate was moving away from Labor.

He enjoyed a 5.5 per cent swing in his favour at the 2017 State election, earning more than double the number of votes received by his closest rival.

He is a long-serving parliamentarian and he has Premier Mark McGowan’s ear.

Mr Watson served on the boards of the Albany Community Hospice, Spencer Park Education Support Centre, Albany Secondary Education Support Centre and Mt Lockyer Primary School.

Sport runs in this former athlete’s blood: he was the third West Australian to break the four-minute mile mark and he competed in the 1500m in the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City,.

Later, he was president of the Albany Junior Soccer Association and in 2009, was awarded an Albany Basketball Association life membership.

While there’s been speculation over whether the 72-year-old will run for a seventh term, “Watto” said having had the chance to help people was “the most satisfying part of the job”.

Get the latest news from in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails