Peel thunder: pre-match report

Alan Carpenter’s year-old WA government faces its first electoral test tomorrow with the by-election for Peel, the seat vacated after Corruption and Crime Commission hearings blew the lid off Small Business Minister Norm Marlborough’s remarkable dealings with former Premier Brian Burke. As usual, this site will provide live commentary as the booth results come in from about 6.30pm Perth time, complete with up-to-the-minute figures adjusted to take individual booth swings into account. Media reports a fortnight ago suggested Labor polling showed it facing a 12 per cent swing in a seat it holds by 13.5 per cent; in today’s Australian, Amanda O’Brien reports that the Liberals consider themselves a "strong chance". Labor state secretary Bill Johnston has told The West Australian that "anything less than 8 per cent would be an excellent result, anything above 8 per cent would be above average". Some noteworthy campaign developments from the past few weeks:

• Chief among the government’s announcements seeking to limit the damage has been a $600,000 promise to free up police from desk jobs to provide security on the forthcoming Mandurah to Perth line, which Robert Taylor of The West Australian says is expected to be swamped by "young hoods from Rockingham, Kwinana and Mandurah".

• Comments on the Poll Bludger’s earlier by-election thread indicate a degree of hostility about the Waikiki electricity substation development, which is said to be on land originally set aside for a school. More than one noted that the zoning amendment was made after a number of people had bought properties in the area. Among those campaigning against the development was Greens candidate Dawn Jecks.

• Labor has also had to deal with criticism from one of its own preselection aspirants, Kwinana mayor and Police Union lawyer Carol Adams, over neglect of the local area in respect to police numbers and intervention services for domestic violence and drug and alcohol abuse.

Below is a map showing the location of the electorate’s 15 polling booths, and a table showing the individual results from the 2005 election. No changes have been made to the booth arrangements from the state election. Note the clear trend of progressively weaker support for Labor from north to south.

1. Golden Bay C’ty Centre 50.2 33.3 6.5 58.4 3.7
2. Hillman PS 61.3 24.2 5.0 68.8 5.2
3. Koorana PS 54.5 29.9 6.2 63.9 9.6
4. Leda PS 66.6 16.5 7.1 75.8 5.9
5. Port Kennedy PS 57.2 29.9 5.5 64.1 11.3
6. Rockingham Baptist 55.0 24.7 5.6 67.0 2.3
7. Rockingham Lakes PS 54.8 32.7 3.9 62.5 3.8
8. Secret Harbour PS 49.9 34.5 5.3 57.2 7.2
9. Singleton C’ty Hall 53.1 28.3 7.7 63.7 4.4
10. Tranby College 45.6 38.2 6.0 52.6 7.1
11. Warnbro C’ty HS 55.9 27.6 7.2 64.5 10.9
12. Calista PS 61.4 19.1 9.4 71.4 1.9
13. Charthouse PS 53.7 30.6 7.2 62.4 3.6
14. Cooloongup PS 61.8 22.5 4.6 69.9 3.8
15. Safety Bay SHS 52.1 29.8 5.0 61.6 1.1
Non-booth 53.3 29.5 7.5 62.6 18.3
TOTAL 55.0 29.0 6.4 63.5 100.0

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.

11 comments on “Peel thunder: pre-match report”

  1. I’m with you Speaker.
    I think the ALP has actively been trying to talk up the swing angle to bring out support.
    I would expect turnout to be down a bit on the State poll and the swing to be sizeable but nothing like the 12% that’s been touted.
    I’d say if the Libs can pull off a swing of anything over 6% they’d be doing pretty well.
    In the circumstances I would normally say the ALP should cop a hiding in this seat – Norm Marlborough’s spectacular self-destruction, general neglect of the area and may people’s comments about broken promises…
    but I don’t think it’ll happen and certainly not in Peel.

  2. is Peel the sort of seat that alternative left-wing parties or independents could win, or is it more a traditional working-class type Labor seat? And are the Liberals any chance at all of causing an upset?

  3. Peel is a diverse electorate (voted this morning – Papalia) I live in the south at Golden Bay. Properties in Singleton, Golden Bay, Warnbro, Port Kennedy along the beach front can reach up to 2 million dollars. But there is battlers in every suburbs and those with a ton of money…I would say it is more a middle-class district these days, especially with WA’s economic boom.

    Although for historical reasons, I don’t think Peel will be lost to Labor. Its just an area that I feel will keep its alliance to the Labor Party.

    I voted for Papalia, cos I told Carpenter I would, after I bowled to him at beach cricket, his policies sound good and the level of funding was decent enough for me to commit to labor, with the promises they made for the district.

    I also thought Coleman was way to conservative for my liking, we don’t need a conservative representing Peel!

  4. that wasn’t a jibe by the way.

    pretty much all the way along my prediction for the result (a labor win) was surmised on the exact approach you took with your vote. even though the area has been treated poorly for years the state government has done enough to convince people to keep voting for them regardless.

    one thing that bugged me about this campaign was the ‘promises’ the government made. most were simply repackages of things that had previously announced (schools and rockingham hospital in particular). not that any of the local newspapers picked that up (probably because it may involve some actual work on their behalf). noone, apart from carol adams, pointed out not only the things that had been neglected in the area, but also the projects that were earmarked, but then pulled away by this governmnet – particluarly road and rail infrastructure.

  5. Just returned from an expedition to Peel to gather how-to-vote cards (I live in Fremantle BTW, lest you get too worried about me). The Liberals will get preferences ahead of Labor from the Christian Democratic Party and independent Gerard Kettle; Labor will get them from the Greens. One Nation and independent Robert Woodward make no recommendation. No sign anywhere of the Citizens Electoral Council, who also don’t reply to emails.

  6. Interesting story in today’s West re: most candidates missed the deadline to register for the electorate.
    James, if it’s anything like that close mate it’ll be a miracle.
    Of course the CDP preferenced the Libs above the ALP and the Greens to the ALP – that was hardly in doubt and would have happened in the absence of HTVs (see last by-election in Vic Park for a fairly typical flow).
    Not long now…

  7. Well congrats to Paul Papalia – I knew he would win, he has the backing of the service and ex-servicemen of the area, and will represent them well in Parliament.

    Unfortunately for the Libs they took on 2nd best as the number one candidate backed off, so 2nd best, and he is also as the previous person states very conservative and also arrogant, which does not go down too well with the public, and he has made too many mistakes on the radio station, and also not being on the electoral roll.

    Never mind, I just think they are all courageous in putting their hands up, and having a go. Good luck to them all for having done so.

    But there can be only one winner, and the results tell you how the Labor Party has been supportive in the area, and it is a very strong party down here, and also a happy camp – no in house fighting

  8. Felicity,

    congrats on your man getting over the line, but “no inhouse fighting” etc is a bit delusional. also the point of view that the area hasn’t been neglected is a bit rich.

    the result actually makes sense – only two years ago the area voted in labbor and now they have a much cleaner guy that they could back. labor backers consolidated behind the party to show they hadn’t lost faith with the party, maybe just with norm.

    labor chose their candidate a lot more smartly i believe.

    i guess the result really does show that in some areas you can be treated like rubbish by the government but people will still back them. a sad day for accountability in government.

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