A walk in the Park

As if two state elections on one day wasn’t enough, the by-election for Geoff Gallop’s old seat of Victoria Park in Western Australia will be held one week earlier, on March 11. The poll has attracted a cricket team of 11 candidates, not all of whose reputations precede them. Further detail may be added to this entry at a later date, time permitting. The candidates in ballot paper order:

Andrew Owens (Independent). An independent with the good sense to link to the Poll Bludger on his well-designed website, Owens’ statement of principles suggests him to be broadly left of centre. An informed local tells the Poll Bludger he is a fan of Peter Andren, the independent federal member for Calare in New South Wales.

John Tattersall. Tattersall is the candidate of the Socialist Alliance, which does not have formal party registration.

Dee Margetts (Greens). Margetts provides the Greens with a recognisable face at the by-election, having been a Senator from 1993 to 1999 and a Member of the Legislative Council from 2001 to 2005.

Teresa van Lieshout (Independent). Also ran as a One Nation upper house candidate for South Metropolitan at last year’s state election and as an independent for the corresponding federal electorate of Swan at the 2004 election. Her personal page on the One Nation website was updated as recently as December.

Mike Ward (Independent). As the head of men’s rights group Men’s Confraternity, Ward is well known in Perth as a scourge of the feminist movement and a prolific writer of letters to the editor.

Sue Bateman (One Nation). Bateman is among the more high-profile members of One Nation’s band of WA die-hards, if only by virtue of her run-in last year with The West Australian’s Inside Cover. Columnist Gary Adshead said Bateman had been stood down as a party branch president due to her apparent contributions to a website that might politely be described as to the right of One Nation.

James Dunn (Daylight Saving Party). A self-explanatory single-issue candidate, who presumably hopes voters have changed their minds about a proposal that has been defeated at three referendums going back to the early 1970s.

Ben Wyatt (Labor) (right). More on Wyatt’s Labor preselection here, here and here.

Peter Greaves (Family First). Greaves is the party’s state director and was the candidate for Swan at the federal election.

Bill Heggers (Christian Democratic Party). Heggers was the party’s candidate for Cockburn at last year’s state election.

Bruce Stevenson (Liberal) (left). Stevenson is a real estate agent and deputy mayor of Victoria Park. The party’s decision to field a candidate has copped stern criticism from factional chieftain Noel Crichton-Browne.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

24 comments on “A walk in the Park”

  1. At the risk of being tangential…

    What I find interesting is the number of candidates with their own (or organisational) websites. Of course some are risible, or at least relatively contentless: do view Ms van Lieshout’s page, complete with a graphic of the US Supreme Court (!) and a claim to be founding ‘The Australia Party’. (Has Gordon Barton died and been resurrected?) But all shed some light on these otherwise faceless souls.

    Pol scientists have made much of how non-US parties have made little of the ‘info revolution’ to campaign, generate dialogue or even raise money. But maybe candidates will start using websites to project personal policy.

  2. Further to Graeme Orr’s comment, the “Australia Party” website also features a gavel underneath the US Supreme Court. Anyone who has ever been in an Australian court room knows our judges have simply never had gavels. Should be interesting to see what this “party’s” law and order policy is.

    Perhaps Mr Bludger could run a competition for candidates and parties with the most useless website.

  3. On the websites – it looks like Ms van Lieshout has taken a template from an American website… one page even refers to an place marker USA address.
    Ms Bateman’s website really needs a colour consultant.
    On a campaign note, from recent material it appears Stevenson is going to push heavily on law and order issues. Can’t help but think he’s going to need either a massive crime wave or bigger guns in the next few weeks to produce the size of the swing he’ll need.
    I was interested to see Mr Wyatt’s brochure refered to ‘new ideas, local values’. So far I haven’t determined quite what he means by either of these. Any ideas what the new ideas might be – haven’t seen any ‘new’ policies or commitments, in fact I seem to recall he made a statement about GG’s good work and carrying on his tradition. I am also interested in what values are local… Anyone else care to take a punt?

  4. ben wyatt’s pamphlet is pretty funny 😀 he is all about one issue, crime, crime, hoon laws, graffiti…. funny we dont know his opinion on health or education or anything else. hes trading off geoff gallop’s and alan carpenter’s reputations to get into power in my opinion and if u believe the “upcoming events” section on wa alp’s own site he’s running a $100 a head dinner in alfred cove (like, real alp worker heartland) to fund it…

  5. Well, I am a Vic Park local so I will undertake to answer Deewun – however I can’t claim to speak for the entire electorate! 😉
    Dee Margetts has some profile obviously from her previous service in Parliament. However, I had no idea she was in any way connected to Vic Park and I doubt she has a snowball’s chance.
    While I’m here I’ll report that Bruce Stevenson was out at Oats Street train station this morning handing out leaflets and supported by two members of the parliamentary party (both Hons. if memory serves) John Day (former Minister) and Simon O’Brien (MLC). His flyer confirms my earlier view that he will be campaigning heavily on law and order issues. My personal view is that to make any headway he has to focus on important local issues. While law and order is quite important and somewhat local it isn’t important enough or local enough to make the sort of swing he needs.
    Looking forward to more on this issue.

  6. I’ll keep posting here until I find somewhere more appropriate for Vic Park updates.
    Interesting to note that nearly half of the candidates in this by-election appear to reside outside the electorate.
    Owens – Hamersley
    Bateman – Koondoola
    Dunn – Claremont
    Greaves – Riverton
    Heggers – Yangebup.
    Can’t help but be a little parochial about my elected representative…

    On a related note – Owens will clearly benefit from donkey votes as first on the list, Stevenson from reverse donkey votes.

  7. Im glad to have found this site personally, I am not a fan of the ALP but I voted gallop last election as I trust him(and i still do). I have met Wyatt and Owens and i know which one im voting for and I hope he wins too. I think local is not the only thing to look at, hell carpenter our premier is ALbany and Geoff was Geraldton. In the war years our best leaders werent even from this state or country. Maybe someone outside who studies and works here knows what goes on elsehwere and how best to fix vic park? I would trust Owens on public transport as he USES it. I agree with chris pannel about the Wyatt brochure, its badly done, Dee Margets has the best one but I know people down Manjimup way and I couldnt vote green sorry.

  8. just thought i’d give an update. wyatt’s “new ideas local values” doesn’t stick when he spends half his time on the road defending the existing government and getting photo ops with the premier. just look at the southern gazette

  9. Ok, latest update from the trenches as it were…
    Ben Wyatt’s turn to hand out leaflets at Oats Street Train Station this morning.
    As has previously been stated (I think by Chris) the flyer ain’t great and it goes heavy on law & order – anti-hoon/graffiti/victims of crime. I wonder who told the two major parties that the key to winning this election was a ‘who’s tougher on crime’ competition?
    The local paper (for me – canning times) carried a front page article predicting a 7-8% swing against the ALP!!! That academic needs to have a good hard look at himself. I much prefer Harry Phillip’s assessment later in the article that:
    a) the incumbent retires in very sympathetic circumstances
    b) the new premier is relatively photo/tele-genic and very much in honeymoon phase, and
    c) the candidate is both local and apparently competent (and being relatively youthful doesn’t hurt in my opinion either)
    will mean that unless something dramatic happens there will be very little swing at this particular by-election.
    In response to EVP I agree that living locally is not determinative of being a good local member however your examples are flawed – Curtin, although not born in WA (Victoria actually) – certainly lived here in Cottesloe for about 11 years before being elected as MHR for Fremantle, Gallop not born locally but lives in Vic Park (has done for some time as far as I know), Carpenter lives NEAR Willagee (I believe his house is in Melville which I suspect is in Alfred Cove… correct me if wrong) but that’s something for the electors of Willagee to worry about. Might as well chuck in Big Kim – lives in Vic Park but represents Brand – centred on Rocko. Good local member? Ask someone from Rockingham) As I said – I’m just a little parochial about these things.
    Finally – in the search to determine what ‘New ideas, local values’ might mean I present the following from Ben Wyatt’s flyer:
    1) Victims of crime – policy been around since June 05 (see http://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/media/media.nsf)
    2) Goodbye graffiti – Repay WA and ‘tougher penalties’ has been around since at least March 05 (see http://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/media/media.nsf)
    3) Anti-hoon laws – again, been around since Sept 05 (see http://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/media/media.nsf)
    No mention of the ‘local values’ but I am yet to see any ‘new ideas’ either. Unless repeating existing ALP policy counts???
    ps – the info on fall in burglary rates etc is from Aug 05 (see http://www.mediastatements.wa.gov.au/media/media.nsf) – I think that pretty much covers the flyer – all culled from old press releases!
    C’mon Ben – you seem like a nice, bright young man – give us those ‘new ideas’ you promise!

  10. Ok – I’m correcting myself.
    An esteemed colleague of mine has pointed out that our Premier does, in fact, live in his electorate.
    There is a small corner of Melville which is captured above Leach Highway within the Willagee boundaries and we believe Mr Carpenter resides therein.

  11. Ok, I’m correcting myself again – the predicted swing in the Canning Times was, in fact, 5-7% – still high IMHO.
    In other local news, the Greens had someone handing out flyers on the afternoon rush at Oats St. yesterday. Apparently the Greens are concerned about the fate of our local hotels if liquor trading is further deregulated and so are having a public meeting at a public house about it. Cute side-note from the flyer – it refers to a ‘bi-election’ in what I assume is a reference to the Green’s Social Justice policy 😉
    In other news, the other local paper (the Canning Examiner???) has a nice but meaningless article with photo of Ben Wyatt posing with Alanna McTiernan. The article was something about using the space between the Canning Train Station and Carousel. I expect this to be the first in a procession of Ministers trotted out for photo-ops in the electorate.
    In the same paper Bruce Stevenson has an advertorial showing an interesting tactic – he states that losing Vic Park won’t cost the ALP government and even committed ALP voters can send a relatively harmless protest to the Government by voting for him. I am a little surprised his campaign is at that stage already!
    Finally – I have been waiting for the Wyatt campaign to trot out their biggest gun – a public endorsement from GG. Do you think they’re saving this for the end-game?

  12. Nothing much new to report on the local scene but for an interesting conversation I had with a close friend of mine who also lives in the electorate yesterday.
    As a young man he was dyed-in-the-wool Labor and wouldn’t have dreamed of voting any other way. As he has aged (and acquired assets – you know the saying – if you’re not a socialist when young you have no heart, if you’re still one when old you have no brain) he has slowly but surely been shifting his allegiances to the right. I asked him what he thought would happen in the by-election. He told me he wasn’t at all impressed with the ALP candidate, that he was too young and hadn’t given him any reason to vote for him. He was leaning to the Liberal candidate and suggested that a lot of people would feel the same way!
    I was surprised to hear that but I’m still not changing my view that any swing against the ALP will be small. Obviously it will depend on the campaigns but if the Wyatt camp runs a half-decent campaign I am still expecting the swing to be no more than 5%.

  13. Today’s update – almost ran over Dee Margetts out campaigning (I assume) in Vic Park yesterday as I drove home from the train station. Impressive as she was pounding the streets in some pretty hot weather.
    I also received a flyer in my letterbox from Andrew Owens where he boasts of his “over 10 years of commercial experience” and “basic-level legal training”. I guess that means he’s over 26 and has watched Law & Order???
    The flyer looks very much like the info on his website. He does, however, encourage voters not to simply hand the seat to the majors and emphasises his independence.
    I am waiting for the public debate between the candidates… haven’t heard anything yet.

  14. I asked about the legal training a while back, apparently he did a year of law at uni. He’s not yet a match for his namesake Laming (Member for Bowman in QLD; recently discussed in a free Crikey article) but he certainly seems to be trying for it.

    According to today’s Gazette, the debate is in Bentley Baptist Church in Chapman Road at 7:30pm next Tuesday.

  15. Yay – thanks for that Kyle. I too noted the looming debate but my local paper only stated the candidates had all been invited – not whether they had accepted.
    In other news, my local paper had a large glossy insert for Ben Wyatt. One side was a letter from the Premier urging people to vote for Ben, the other side was a list of ALP achievements and policies (I wish I could call them campaign promises but they aren’t really – see my previous post of 23/2/06). They’re still going with the slogan of ‘New Ideas, Local Values”. I was surprised that a large chunk of the Premier’s letter was praising GG, but still no sign of him.
    Bruce Stevenson had a sizable ad in the same local paper and, miracle of miracles, he is starting to hit on some important (IMHO) truly local issues. I also noticed a small Dee Margetts ad.
    Ok, for all candidates out there I hereby unveil my list of important local issues – feel free to actually address some of them and other locals please feel free to add (or disagree):
    1) Infill sewerage – my house would have been sewered years ago under the previous Government’s programme. Do you have any idea how annoying it is to constantly hear in the media about State Budget Surpluses when a programme which would impact directly on you was cut for budgetary reasons???
    2) This Government has thrown $10m already on a failed social experiment at Brownlie Towers and plans to waste another $10m on it. High rise, high density low socio-economic housing has been a blight on every place that has tried it. Use the money to rehouse the residents somewhere with dignity – don’t just pile them all together. I thought they were getting rid of these complexes elsewhere in Perth.
    3) Oats St Train Station has effectively been downgraded. Previously every train service stopped there – for good reason as it is an important interchange – to now being by-passed, and not just by the E service either, on a not infrequent basis (or the train is so full you can’t squeeze on anyways). In addition the train service is overcrowed and unreliable in peak hours.
    4) Bentley Hospital – continuity of care/service to the local area must be assured
    5) Underground power – I don’t care too much about this but I know a lot of people near me do.
    6) At least two facilities were situated in the electorate against a substantial amount of local resistance Bendat House and Boronia. While both have proven relatively successful it was disappointing to feel as though local concerns were ignored and overriden.
    7) Although chiefly a local government issue the downgrading of Bentley Library and the closure of Canning Pools will see the diminution of local services.
    8) Traffic on Shep Rd and around Carousel can be horrendous.
    Ok, I’m out – for now at least – will add more as they come to me. Other locals please feel free to add your issues. If we don’t take advantage now to squeeze as much as we can out of them we never will. Hey, address my concerns and you get my vote – simple.

  16. Today’s installment might be the last as it seem this thread is about to drop off the bottom of the PB mainpage to be supplanted by more SA info.
    The afternoon rush at Oats St train station yesterday was confronted by Ms Sue Bateman and two elderly helpers (her grandparents perhaps?) handing out flyers. Sue is, apparently, proud that she is a ‘local’ girl – however, see my post above of 22/2/06.
    Also received another glossy from Ben Wyatt, this time with his female friend. He has a pretty impressive list of credentials for a young man however, I noted that his earlier claim to prosecuting drug dealers (impliedly directly) has now been slightly modified to confiscation of their assets as proceeds of crime. Of course, both could be true. I also noted the first appearance of GG – but just in a photo – not an actual endorsement.
    Also received a CDP flyer – only interesting thing about it IMHO was the allocation of preferences with Wyatt a LONG way down the list (second last from memory).

  17. check out the libs’ website. bruce stevenson has made comment on a heap of topics like vic park train station and infill sewerage, but the newspapers haven’t ran them. a shame because these are local issues he’s talking about. the papers seem to report ben wyatt sneezing, but leave bruce wallowing.

  18. The Greens appear to have the only candidiate that has recognised the need for local businesses to find ways of employing and training the next generation!

    I am talking about Dee Margetts.

    She appears to be the only one who recognises and is addressing the threats to local small business (the major employers in the electorate) from further Government National Competition Policy driven “deregulation” in favour of big business.

    Rather than wait for victims of crime and attempting to deal with victim/offenders, I think the Greens policy looks at the causes of crime. It seems to me to be better to not have a victim rather than waiting for a victim and then “getting tough”.

    There have been a couple of comments suggesting that the Greens candidate is not a local, but to my knowledge, she has lived in Victoria Park for many, many years.

    Her Senate electorate was the entire state and then her Legislative Council electorate was 260,000 km sq of regional WA. She would have dealt with an enormous range of issues during that level of parliamentary service. All her hard work and dedicated service was thinly spread and yet she had a huge level of success. I suggest that working with community groups and individuals in the small area of the Victoria Park Electorate would see the same level of hard work and dedication but – CONCENTRATED! All you have to do to check her track record on community issues during both of those terms is check the Hansards.

    Dee Margetts appears to me to be the only candidate with a good solid background with extensive experience. Add to that her incredible track record of success and she appears to be streets ahead of the other two who do not have the credentials and do not have a track record with accolades from both sides of politics and the business community.

  19. Hello Graeme Orr, and fellow commentories.
    Some of us noble citizens don’t have the luxury of thousands or millions of dollars. Do you expect real democracy in Australia if you continue to support Liberal and Labor year after year?
    I chose the name ‘The Australia Party’ because one of my teachers colleagues suggested it, and it was not a name registered with the AEC, or is not a de-registered name listed with the AEC.
    Perhaps you should take a bit of responsibility for getting our nation back on track in so many areas, rather than stand on the side and criticise those of us making an effort. Why don’t you criticise Labor and Liberal; they are the ones that deserve it.

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