Teal MP breaks family Liberals tradition

Chaney family tradition broken by teal victory.
Michael Chaney and wife Margrete at the Singapore launch of an Australian Indigenous art exhibition. -AAP Image

Prominent businessman Michael Chaney was initially against his daughter running for federal parliament.

"It's a terrible life, especially from WA where you have to travel long distances ... but she was passionate about it and determined, so I've been fully supportive," he told AAP.

Despite Kate Chaney's uncle and grandfather serving as federal ministers with the Liberal Party, she stood as a 'teal' independent in the Perth seat of Curtin, beating Liberal incumbent Celia Hammond by fewer than 2000 votes.

The result reflects a widespread disillusionment with the party system and politics-as-usual, Mr Chaney said.

The chairman of Wesfarmers and Northern Star Resources wants the major parties to stop sniping and putting politics before policy.

"It'd be great to think that Prime Minister (Anthony) Albanese is going to move away from personal attacks to thinking about policy and trying to get people on board," he said.

The WA Liberals have some particular problems to confront.

A massive swing against them resulted in the loss of five federal seats, after the 2021 state election reduced the party to just two amid allegations of factionalism and branch stacking.

Mr Chaney said the WA branch had been controlled by people whose views were not in line with most voters, and the party must concentrate on internal reform.

"It's actually a really challenging thing to tackle because once you've got the wrong people calling the shots ... it's difficult to actually change," he said.

At a federal level, his hope is for bipartisan changes to labour laws, tax and regulation to stimulate productivity in the face of economic headwinds.

Whether those headwinds would result in a worldwide economic downturn was an open question, Mr Chaney said.

"In my experience, recessions occur when no one was talking about them and they surprise you. Hopefully we won't see a worldwide recession, we won't see stagflation."

Mr Chaney spoke to AAP in Singapore before the opening of a major exhibition of Australian Indigenous art, with many of the works on show drawn from the Wesfarmers art collection.

He is aware of other corporations such as NAB selling their art, but said he could never imagine Wesfarmers doing the same.

"It would be inconceivable actually for us to sell it. It would be a bit like cutting off your arm," he said.

The Wesfarmers collection began in the 1970s and has grown to more than 1200 museum-quality works.

Some of the most significant pieces are on display in Singapore, with Mr Chaney noting the show's opening on Sorry Day.

"It's a time that allows us all to think about our shared histories and cultures ... and do what we can to achieve reconciliation, to close the gap that still exists in Australia," he said.