“When you come from those sorts of working suburbs it’s not something that’s usually a goal for people.”


And in an almost-unprecedented trial by fire, Mr Kirkup’s first election challenge as Opposition Leader will see him go up against immensely popular incumbent Premier Mark McGowan, whose handling of WA’s response to the coronavirus pandemic has been widely well-received.

That pressure was evident just nine minutes into the interview.

“You’re the 35th Leader of the Opposition in the history of the state, from a background where people like us don’t get ahead, with a Premier who is very popular, in a state that’s gone through a global pandemic and has a very uncertain future,” Mr Kirkup said.

“It’s a big responsibility.”

Following the interview, which aired on Nine News Perth on Thursday night, Mr Kirkup said “moving ahead and getting on with life and work, while making sure we have the support we need from a variety of areas makes a huge difference”.

“For me personally, like practically every West Australian, we have all had to confront emotional struggles in our lives and that takes a toll,” he said.

“Don’t mistake passion for inexperience. Don’t mistake humanity for pressure. I love what I am doing and I believe I take the responsibility seriously.”

Zak Kirkup got emotional talking about his parents and his working-class upbringing.

Zak Kirkup got emotional talking about his parents and his working-class upbringing.Credit:Nine News Perth

Mr Kirkup said he understood West Australians and their hopes, dreams, aspirations and struggles.

“The people I’ve met in this job are worth it, and I’m up for the fight regardless of what my opponents throw at me,” he said.

“I’d also just like to say to anyone who needs help, it’s so important to reach out to the people they care about.”

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