Alannah MacTiernan has been no stranger to controversy during a political career spanning both State and Federal Parliament.
For 30 years Ms MacTiernan has generated headlines for brilliance and blemishes in almost equal measure.
Part of that can be attributed to her unashamed enjoyment of the occasional alcoholic beverage — or the occasional questionable trip on taxpayer-funded jets.
But part of it is also down to a resolute faith in her own judgment and no-nonsense pragmatist’s approach to her ministerial responsibilities that lends itself to putting noses out of joint.
That was on full display last week when MacTiernan sought to play down the significance of a foot-and-mouth outbreak in WA.
Suggesting the virus’ arrival in the State would not be catastrophic to the livestock sector — and could potentially mean cheaper snags and steaks for West Australians — was a shocking blunder.
Even more damaging for MacTiernan was the scathing commentary it generated from industry players that illustrated a clear — and long-standing — distrust of their minister.
“The farmers have been disappointed with this minister for the last five years. She’s not really interested in agriculture,” WA Farmers Federation chief executive Trevor Whittington said, adding she was “totally fascinated and captured by climate change”.
MacTiernan’s dual portfolios of hydrogen industry and agriculture — two industries now pitted against each other for the same swathes of rural land — have always been an odd pairing.
It may be time for one to find responsibility with another minister.