WA redistributed

The draft boundaries for the one-vote one-value electoral redistribution in Western Australia have been unveiled. The table below lists Antony Green’s calculations of the new margins for each seat, along with its most likely contestant at the next election. As you can see, it’s been a pretty good day for the Western Australian ALP. On 2005 election results, the new boundaries would have won Labor 38 seats against 20 for the combined forces of conservatism, which includes two independents. This compares with the last election’s numbers of Labor 32, Coalition 23 and independents two. Reluctant as one might be to criticise the implementation of historic one-vote one-value reforms, this seems a slightly excessive return on Labor’s 52.3 per cent of the two-party vote. For Labor to lose the notional nine seats required to cost it its majority would require a uniform swing of over 4.0 per cent, for a two-party vote of less than 48.3 per cent.

The redistribution creates four safe Labor seats along with four marginals, for a cost of only one abolished Labor seat and three which become notionally Liberal. The Coalition loses five seats and has two that go notionally Labor, in exchange for one very marginal new seat and the three that become notionally Liberal (generously including the line-ball Kingsley). A further seat, Capel, has effectively merged with Collie-Wellington to create the marginal Labor seat of Collie-Preston. The Coalition has its margins boosted in almost every seat it already holds, but has little joy in the existing Labor seats it needs to win, unless you count Collie-Preston.

No fewer than three of the abolished Coalition seats are held by the Nationals. This leaves them only with Merredin and Wagin, although party leader Brendon Grylls purports to be confident of winning Moore, Eyre and Blackwood-Stirling. This sounds wildly optimistic in the case of the latter two, especially considering Blackwood-Stirling will be contested for the Liberals by the current member for Warren-Blackwood, Opposition Leader Paul Omodei. I have yet to crunch the upper house numbers, but it appears the new system of six-seat regions will deliver the Nationals a seat in South West to add to their existing seat in Agricultural. As the ABC puts it, one unlucky MP will be “forced” – horror of horrors – “into the upper house”. Former party leader and Avon MP Max Trenorden might come under pressure to retire, leaving Greenough MP Grant Woodhams to turn his vote-winning ways to Moore (he gained Greenough from a sitting Liberal in 2005) with Stirling MP Terry Redman taking the upper house safety hatch.

Homeless Liberals include Leschenault MP Dan Sullivan, a Matt Birney loyalist who quit the front bench a year ago following a policy dispute with Paul Omodei, along with Capel MP Steve Thomas and Serpentine-Jarrahdale MP Tony Simpson. Simpson or Sullivan might find accommodation in the new marginal Liberal seat of Scarborough, although both are all a long way from the northern suburbs. Thomas will presumably have to try his luck against the formidable Mick Murray in Collie-Preston. Shadow water resources minister John Day suffers a 3.8 per cent hit that leaves his seat of Darling Range with a notional Labor margin of 0.6 per cent; he might instead go for the neighbouring new seat of Kalamunda, although he would only be 0.2 per cent better off. John Castrilli will have no choice but to stand and fight in Bunbury which he won narrowly in 2005 off the back of his high profile as mayor, and which now has a notional Labor margin of 1.2 per cent.

UPDATE: In The West Australian, Robert Taylor reports Trenorden will stand against his leader for the Merredin preselection; Ben Spencer reports Dan Sullivan has ruled out taking on Steve Thomas in Collie-Preston and Murray Cowper in Murray, leaving his career “all but over”.

Conveniently, the abolished Labor seat of Murchison-Eyre is held by John Bowler, who was forced to resign from the ALP over the Burke-Grill affair (Julian Grill being the previous member for the seat). The Kalgoorlie Miner reports that Bowler is not giving up and is considering running in Eyre, likely to be won for the Liberals by Roe MP Graham Jacobs. Labor’s main losers are Peter Watson and Shane Hill, whose regional city seats of Albany and Geraldton have expanded beyond the town limits into conservative rural territory, and Judy Hughes, who narrowly won the northern suburbs seat of Kingsley in 2005 and has now watched her narrow margin disappear altogether. All represent electorates that have retained their basic identity, and they will presumably be obliged to stand and fight. That leaves eight new seats available to aspirational Labor types, including knife-edge marginal Ocean Reef in the far northern suburbs and Kalamunda in the hills; slightly more comfortable Jandakot and Forrestfield closer to the city; and the glittering new prizes of West Swan, Cannington, Kwinana and Nollamara in various corners of the metropolitan area (you can also add Morley, the successor seat to Ballajura, whose member John D’Orazio was also forced to quit the party).

It should be noted that these boundaries are not yet carved in stone; the Office of the Electoral Distribution Commissioners will be receiving written objections until July 30.

NOTE: Figures in the following table are initial estimates provided by Antony Green. Antony has since updated the figures and published a comprehensive summary at the ABC.

Nollamara 19.4 NEW SEAT
Kwinana 19.0 NEW SEAT
Girrawheen 19.0 23.4 4.4 Margaret Quirk
Maylands 17.4 16.5 0.9 Judy Edwards
Bassendean 14.8 13.7 1.1 Martin Whitely
Cockburn 14.6 16.4 1.8 Fran Logan
Armadale 14.5 13.0 1.5 Alannah MacTiernan
Victoria Park 14.0 16.0 2.0 Ben Wyatt
Fremantle 13.9 14.4 0.5 Jim McGinty
Perth 13.6 12.0 1.6 John Hyde
Cannington 13.2 NEW SEAT
Willagee 12.7 15.0 2.3 Alan Carpenter
12.2 13.6 1.4 Sheila McHale
12.0 13.5 1.5 John D’Orazio
West Swan 12.2 NEW SEAT
Belmont 11.4 10.8 0.6 Eric Ripper
Rockingham 11.3 12.3 1.0 Mark McGowan
11.2 13.5 2.3 Paul Papalia
(Cent-Kim Pilbara)
10.7 13.6 2.9 Tom Stephens
Midland 9.4 8.5 0.9 Michelle Roberts
Balcatta 9.4 9.8 0.4 John Kobelke
Mandurah 8.2 12.3 4.1 David Templeman
Mindarie 6.9 4.0 2.9 John Quigley
Kimberley 6.3 3.0 3.0 Carol Martin
Wanneroo 6.1 6.7 0.6 Dianne Guise
Southern River 5.0 11.8 6.8 Paul Andrews
Mount Lawley
4.4 8.2 3.8 Bob Kucera
Jandakot 4.4 NEW SEAT
Joondalup 4.3 3.3 1.0 Tony O’Gorman
Forrestfield 4.0 NEW SEAT
Swan Hills 3.2 3.8 0.6 Jaye Radisich
North West
(NW Coastal)
3.2 3.7 0.5 Fred Riebeling
Riverton 1.8 1.7 0.1 Tony McRae
Ocean Reef 1.6 NEW SEAT
Bunbury 1.2 0.4 1.6 John Castrilli
1.2 9.3
Mick Murray
Steve Thomas
Darling Range 0.6 3.2 3.8 John Day
Kalamunda 0.4 NEW SEAT
Kingsley 0.0 0.8 0.8 Judy Hughes
Scarborough 1.0 NEW SEAT
Dawesville 1.7 4.1 2.4 Kim Hames
Albany 2.3 1.4 3.7 Peter Watson
Geraldton 3.5 2.1 5.6 Shane Hill
Hillarys 3.7 4.2 0.5 Rob Johnson
Murray 6.3 0.8 5.5 Murray Cowper
6.7 5.9 0.8 Trevor Sprigg
South Perth 7.4 5.8 1.6 John McGrath
Carine 7.8 4.7 3.1 Katie Hodson-Thomas
8.4 9.6 1.2 Matt Birney
Vasse 9.6 vs IND ? Troy Buswell
Nedlands 10.0 8.4 1.6 Sue Walker
13.9 vs NAT ? Graham Jacobs
19.3 15.0 4.3 Paul Omodei
Moore 19.7 17.3 2.4 Gary Snook
Merredin 26.0 vs LIB ? Brendon Grylls
Wagin 26.0 28.4 2.4 Terry Waldron
Independent seats NEW OLD SHIFT MEMBER
Churchlands 10.1 ? ? Liz Constable
Alfred Cove 8.4 ? ? Janet Woollard
Abolished seats OLD MEMBER
Murchison-Eyre 8.1 John Bowler
Serpentine-Jarrahdale 1.2 Tony Simpson
Leschenault 7.7 Dan Sullivan
Avon 22.1 Max Trenorden
Greenough 1.3 (vs LIB) Grant Woodhams
Stirling 7.0 (vs LIB) Terry Redman

Kimberley. Inevitably, this electorate has extended into remote Aboriginal communities in the shires of Derby-West Kimerley and Halls Creek, improving Labor’s position for the addition of 564 Labor to 202 Liberal two-party votes. In 2005, Labor member Carol Martin’s margin was cut from 8.5 per cent to 3.3 per cent, or 590 votes. It should now be 5.0 per cent and 952 votes.

Pilbara. The seat formerly known as Central-Kimberley Pilbara gains Newman and a less cumbersome name. That boosts Labor by 233 votes, almost balancing out the aforementioned loss of Halls Creek and part of Derby-West Kimberley. Labor’s margin goes from 13.6 per cent to 12.2 per cent. Central Kimberley-Pilbara is held by Labor veteran Tom Stephens, who might be due for retirement at the next election.

North West. Takes in the entirety of North-West Coastal, held by Legislative Assembly Speaker Fred Riebeling, plus six shires further inland from Murchison-Eyre. The new voters from the latter area are a dead heat: 327 two-party votes each for Labor and Liberal in 2005. Riebeling’s margin was cut from 5.4 per cent to 3.7 per cent in 2004; it’s maybe 0.1 per cent or 0.2 per cent lower now.

Goldfields. A big-ticket item of the redistribution was how Kalgoorlie, held by former Liberal leader Matt Birney, was going to be dealt with. Most expected that those parts of Boulder that were in Murchison-Eyre would be added to Kalgoorlie, but not so: an amended version of the boundary between Kalgoorlie and Boulder is maintained, with five interior shires from Murchison-Eyre being added to Kalgoorlie to make up the new seat of Goldfields. This adds 444 Labor and 380 Liberal votes. Matt Birney’s margin in 2005 was 2024, so there doesn’t seem to be any insurmountable hurdle to him keeping the seat. Nonetheless, there are rumours that he has sought or attained party membership with a metropolitan branch.

Eyre. The southern part of the old Murchison-Eyre, including Boulder, plus Esperance and Ravensthorpe from Roe. The two areas are respectively extremely strong for Labor and the Coalition, but the latter heavily outweights the former. By my reckoning the margin is about 16 per cent, although that’s inflated by the Liberal-versus-Nationals focus on the contest for Roe in 2005. Graham Jacobs won Roe from the Nationals for the Liberals at that election, and looks the obvious candidate to hold Eyre.

Moore. Greenough has been abolished, in what Adam Carr in comments believes might be a first in WA’s electoral history. The Shire of Greenough has gone to make up the numbers in Geraldton; the rest is merged with the entirety of Moore, along with the shires of Dalwallinu and Perenjori from the north-west of Merredin. The seat should be a tight contest between the Liberals and the Nationals, the former being stronger in Moore and the latter stronger in Greenough.

Geraldton. Inevitably, Labor’s position in this marginal seat (they won by 2.7 per cent in 2001 and 2.1 per cent in 2005) has been undermined by the addition of rural territory beyond Geraldton, including the entirety of the Shire of Greenough. That adds 2588 votes from an area where Labor came third in 2005 with 23.6 per cent of the primary vote compared to the combined Coalition 64.5 per cent. By my rough reckoning, the Coalition would have won by 2.3 per cent in 2005. Coalition presumably means Liberal, although the Nationals gained Greenough from the Liberals at the last election.

Merredin. Moves westwards into abolished Avon, taking in Beverley, York and Northam, potentially created one Nationals seat from two.

Wagin. The abolition of Avon and Roe have respectively pulled this seat northward and eastward, and it also takes two shires from Merredin. Probably looms as the Nationals’ most secure seat.

Albany. A no-brainer, as our American partners in democracy say. The City of Albany provides the right number of voters, so those parts of the municipality that were in Stirling go to Albany. Labor’s only wins here in modern history were in 1971, 2001 and 2005; the last election cut the margin from 3.7 per cent to 1.4 per cent, or 358 votes. Of the 4997 new voters, only 21.6 per cent voted Labor, against a combined Coalition vote of 42.3 per cent. I’m calculating a Liberal margin of 3.1 per cent. For the record, these calculations use 50/50 preference splits and ignore non-booth votes, but they shouldn’t be too far wrong.

Blackwood-Stirling. This new seat gets a little over half of its voters from Liberal leader Paul Omodei’s seat of Warren-Blackwood. The most strongly Nationals-voting part of the Nationals-held seat of Stirling (splitting 65-35 in 2005) accounts for 38 per cent, the remainder coming from the Liberal-held seat of Wagin. Omodei is presumably safe, but the Nationals could win this under the right circumstances.

Vasse. The existing seat of Vasse, which runs along the Geographe Bay coast from Busselton west to Dunsborough, provides two-thirds of the voters in a seat that acquires rural territory to the south from Capel and Warren-Blackwood. The Nationals don’t really register here.

Collie-Preston. The Labor-voting coal mining town of Collie has been detached from the Wellington rural area in the north, which goes to Murray. The increased area of rural territory needed to make up the numbers has come with the absorption of most of Capel to the west, which presumably puts Labor member for Collie-Wellington Mick Murray on a collision course with ambitious Liberal Capel MP Steve Thomas. There are also nearly 4000 new voters from abolished Leschenault who split 58-42 in 2005. The numbers here are a bit hard to read, because the 6.7 per cent swing to Labor in Collie-Wellington in 2005 was widely credited to Murray’s personal popularity, but I calculate a Labor margin of just 0.8 per cent.

Bunbury. Bunbury was a bellwether seat until the last election, when a 0.6 per cent swing delivered it to the Liberals with a 0.4 per cent margin. The redistribution puts it back on Labor’s turf with the addition of the city’s outskirts from Capel in the south and Leschenault in the east (both abolished), producing a 1.3 per cent.

Murray. The existing electorate of Murray only provides 27 per cent of the vote in this seat, fewer than Collie-Wellington (37 per cent) and Leschenault (35 per cent). The Collie-Wellington voters come from the Liberal voting-end of that Labor-held seat, while the Leschenault votes split 58-42 the Liberals’ way in 2005. Add them all together and you’ve got a Liberal margin of around 6 per cent.

Dawesville. The existing electorate of Dawesville makes up the numbers with the addition of an urban area on the Mandurah (northern) side of the Dawesville Estuary. This area split 60/40 Labor’s way in 2005, which is bad news for Liberal member Kim Hames, who loses 3.8 per cent from his 4.1 per cent margin.

Mandurah. Mandurah was held by the Liberals as recently as 2001, but swings (possibly boosted by the Perth to Mandurah railway project) and redistributions blew the margin out to 12.3 per cent in 2005. With the aforementioned loss of territory to Dawesville, old Mandurah provides the new with only half its voters. The rest come from a move into the most populous (north-western) end of Murray, a seat the Liberals gained from Labor in 2005. The area that moves to Mandurah split 52.3-47.7 Labor’s way, so Labor’s overall margin is cut to about 8 per cent.

Southern coastal suburbs. Where formerly there were five safe Labor seats north of Mandurah up to Fremantle Harbour, there are now six. Peel has been abolished, making way for the new Kwinana and Warnbro.

Alfred Cove. A naturally blue-ribbon Liberal seat held by independent Janet Woollard. The only change to the electorate is the removal of a strip of territory immediately north of Leach Highway. The change cuts both ways for Woollard. On the one hand, the area she has lost was relatively strong for her in 2005, splitting 61-38 compared with 54-45 for the remainder. On the other, this area is stronger for Labor than the riverside areas in the north, and her first hurdle for election is overcoming the Labor candidate to win second place. In 2005, she led Labor 30.6 per cent to 27.5 per cent at the second-last exclusion.

Southern suburbs. Inland of the Labor-voting southern coastal strip is a mixed area south of the Canning River. At present, this is filled by Murdoch, quite safe for the Liberals; Armadale and Southern River, both safe for Labor; knife-edge Riverton; and the northern part of Liberal-held Serpentine-Jarrahdale. In this area, Murdoch is succeeded by Bateman; Jandakot takes in various bits and pieces and has a Labor margin of about 4 per cent; Riverton is little changed, with a Labor margin of 1.5 per cent; Southern River sees Labor’s margin severely cut, from 11.8 per cent to about 3.5 per cent; Armadale remains safe for Labor.

Eastern outskirts. At present, Perth’s eastern and south-eastern hinterland is covered by (from north to south) Swan Hills, Darling Range and Serpentine-Jarrahdale. These are respectively 3.8 per cent Labor, 3.2 per cent Liberal and 1.2 per cent Liberal. This area has been rearranged so that Kalamunda takes the area nearest the city; the area behind it is divided between Swan Hills and Darling Range, with Serpentine-Jarrahdale abolished. Every one of the new seats is marginal Labor, making this area a crucial battleground for the next election.

Inner eastern suburbs. It’s here that Labor hits paydirt. Formerly, six safe Labor seats accounted for Perth’s lower-income inner eastern suburbs (from north to south): Ballajura (13.5 per cent), Bassendean (13.7 per cent), Midland (8.5 per cent), Belmont (10.8 per cent), Victoria Park (16.0 per cent) and Kenwick (13.6 per cent). There are now 10 seats covering this area, the only winnable one for the Liberals being Forrestfield, where Antony Green calculates a notional Labor margin of 4.0 per cent.

Northern coastal suburbs. Currently, the area from Whitfords Avenue south to the river contains four coastal suburbs, Hillarys (Liberal 4.2%), Carine (Liberal 4.7%), Churchlands (a naturally Liberal seat held securely by independent Liz Constable) and Cottesloe (Liberal 11.7%), along with the riverside inner west seat of Nedlands (Liberal 8.4%). The redistribution adds Scarborough as the middle layer of a five-seat coastal pancake, squashing Churchlands into northern Cottesloe and Nedlands and Carine north into Hillarys. Antony Green calculates a Liberal margin of 1.0 per cent in the new seat.

Inner city. The city and the area to the north and east were formerly covered by four Labor-held seats: Perth (12.0 per cent), Maylands (16.5 per cent) to the east, and Balcatta (9.8 per cent) and Yokine (8.2 per cent) to the north. The redistribution creates the marginally Labor new seat of Mount Lawley in the middle of the mix, partly from the less safe Labor southern end of Yokine, the remainder of which forms the basis of the very safe new Labor seat of Nollamara.

Outer northern suburbs. The area between Lake Joondalup and the ocean, formerly covered by Mindarie and Joondalup, has been redrawn to create the new seat of Ocean Reef, which deprives Joondalup of its coastal area. This results in a slight strengthening for Labor in Joondalup, which it holds by 3.3 per cent, leaving it with a very narrow margin in Ocean Reef. The new Mindarie takes over the semi-rural part of Wanneroo, adding about 2 per cent to an existing Labor margin of 4.0 per cent. Wanneroo keeps its Labor margin of around 6 per cent. The truncation of Kingsley at both the northern and southern ends makes a small but very significant cut into Labor’s 0.8 per cent margin in the only seat it gained in 2005; the relatively Labor-leaning southern end is now wasted in already safe Girrawheen.

South Perth. This one got lost in the mix. A safe Liberal riverside seat that inevitably loses some territory in its Labor-voting east, giving an unnecessary boost to the margin.

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.

80 comments on “WA redistributed”

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  1. cool I shall be back to the 80s.

    First I was in the seat of Gosnells, then Thornlie, then Southern River now back to Gosnells.

    Something resembling democracy in WA at last

  2. A couple of observations:

    Kalgoorlie and Boulder split. Was this done to avoid one seat being too large and thus filled with too many “phantom voters”?

    Just four electorates in the Agricultural regions versus eight in the South West. (Good news for the Nationals in the upper house?) Most submissions went for a 6-6 split.

  3. I can only see four possible National seats – Eyre, Merredin, Moore, Wagin.
    I imagine Labor would lose Albany on those boundaries, but might well win Goldfields.

  4. Omadei needs a coalition with the nats in order to have a seat. A three cornered contest could be tricky, could it not?

  5. Adam
    I think you may well be right. OTTOMH I seem to recall seeing a result for Greenough in the Federation vote (or it may have been the seccession vote)!

  6. Firstly William let me point out you are both a legend and an electoral geek’s best friend! 😉
    I noted with interest the Esperance position has been accomodated – they wanted to be linking with Mining/Pastoral and maybe Kal – they’ve basically got their wish.
    Hanging out for your summary of the metro seats!

  7. the new southern river seems to have been pushed into canningvale mcmansion territory. a slab of old serpentine-jarrahdale.

  8. Looks like Labor end up with 38 seats, 19 for LIb + Nat, 2 Inds. Swing to lose for Labor rises from 2.1% to 3.2%.

    Some very very close seats out of it. Kingsley, Kalamunda and Darling Range end up too close to call.

    Labor seast of Albany and Geraldton become marginal Liberal.

    Lioberal seat of Bunbury becomes marginal Labor.

  9. I have now checked, and yes, Greenough has existed continuously since 1890, and before that it was a Legislative Council electorate back to 1870. Amazingly considering how that area votes now, Greenough elected Labor members in 1924, 1927 and 1943.

  10. I thought Labor had made it completely one-vote-one-value. In that case, it seems strange indeed that the country regions will still have 18 upper house members, the same as the city regions, with 6 members elected from each of the six regions.

  11. The Agricultural region really is undersized for the upper house. It’s at a ratio of 2:7 compared to the Metro area on lower house electorates, and it’s notable that three of the four Ag region seats are under quota, while nearly all the Metro seats are over. It even has less than half the electors of the South-West region, and only minimally more than the M&P region, which has that somewhat unpalatable LDA applied to it’s numbers.

  12. This is a rough first draft. Now starting my proof check. ‘-‘ margins are non-Labor seats.

    -29.7 Wagin
    -26 Merredin
    -19.7 Moore
    -19.3 Blackwood-Stirling
    -13.9 Eyre
    -11.5 Cottesloe
    -10.1 Churchlands
    -10 Nedlands
    -9.6 Vasse
    -8.4 Alfred Cove
    -8.4 Goldfields
    -7.8 Carine
    -7.4 South Perth
    -6.7 Bateman
    -6.3 Murray
    -3.7 Hillarys
    -3.5 Geraldton
    -2.3 Albany
    -1.7 Dawesville
    -1 Scarborough
    0 Kingsley
    0.4 Kalamunda
    0.6 Darling Range
    0.8 Collie-Preston
    1.2 Bunbury
    1.6 Ocean Reef
    1.8 Riverton
    3.2 North West
    3.2 Swan Hills
    4 Forrestfield
    4.3 Joondalup
    4.4 Jandakot
    4.4 Mount Lawley
    5 Southern River
    6.1 Wanneroo
    6.3 Kimberley
    6.9 Mindarie
    8.2 Mandurah
    9.4 Balcatta
    9.4 Midlands
    10.7 Pilbara
    11.2 Warnbro
    11.3 Rockingham
    11.4 Belmont
    11.5 West Swan
    12 Morley
    12.2 Gosnells
    12.7 Willagee
    13.2 Cannington
    13.6 Perth
    13.9 Fremantle
    14 Victoria Park
    14.5 Armadale
    14.6 Cockburn
    14.8 Bassendean
    17.4 Maylands
    19 Girrawheen
    19 Kwinana
    19.4 Nollamara

  13. The compromises to one-vote-one-value in the legislation were the price the Greens demanded to get the bill through the Council, yes? Presumably they hope the peasants will vote for them in gratitude for saving some of their rotten boroughs.

  14. Thanks Antony. When I first looked at the maps, it looks like I completely misjudged a few seats (Darling Range and Swan Hills in particular that seemed like they should be safe Liberal). Plus I thought most of the Labor marginals you’ve listed would be Lib ones (Kalamunda, Collie-Preston, Ocean Reef, Bunbury and Riverton). I did get my electorate (Scarborough) pretty much right though…

    Of course, it was all gut feel, as I didn’t bother going out and doing that much research – I’ll leave that for you experts.

  15. A pity that the Upper House will still be a huge case of zonal malapportionment, or gerrymandering in layman’s terms.

  16. Kalgoorlie and Boulder have traditionally had separate electorates. I think all submissions to the review supported this continuing, presumably to maintain a balance of numbers for seats in the Mining and Pastoral Zone.

    Independent MP John Bowler preferred not to have Esperance as part of his electorate, and you can see why on Antony’s figures.

    I’ve noticed a shift in John’s language from “Labor Independent” to “genuine independent” over the past few weeks.

    He was upbeat today about his chances if he decides to contest the seat.

  17. Thank you for the coverage
    re the country seats of Bunbury, Geraldton, Collie_Preston, Albany
    I think they are all too close to call
    I would not be suprised if all the sitting MPs held on
    look at What has happened with Goldfields (Kalgoolie) Mr Birney has obviously built up a personal vote
    Also WA labor has not had the consolidation with an increase in the vote which has occurred in other states.

  18. It actually looks EVEN worse in the Upper House than before. In the old system, city and country each had 17 members from 3 regions, divided 5-5-7. This meant the South-West region, with more electors than either Agric or M&P, had 7 members, with the other 2 each having 5. Now, it looks like all 3 country regions and all 3 city regions each get 6 members, regardless of population.

  19. My 2c on the upper house:

    One of the main functions of upper houses around the world is to represent different regional areas or demographics in a distorted fashion in order that these aforementioned groups aren’t dominated by the larger population group in such a way that the ‘tyranny of the majority’ always prevails.

    That was a long sentence.. let me try again – it’s ok for Upper Houses to be a little undemocratic to keep everyone happy. Lower Houses are where fairness matters.

    Unless of course you support WA losing some senate seats to NSW ?

  20. i’m surprised mount lawley is not more marginal for Labor. From the maps, it seems to take in all of the fairly safe liberal parts of the inner city (Menora, Coolbinia – blue ribbon Lib, Mount Lawley – marginal and yokine – marginal).

  21. In respect of a comment earlier, Kalgoorlie and Boulder have usually been in separate electorates, due to the fact that rural electorates were required to have lower enrolments. For a long time, they were also separate municipalities, but today they form the one municipality.

    Now with the equality of enrolments between city and country electorates, there is now no need to split the two halfs of the one municipality.

    In my submission to the review I included them in the one division – but no one agreed with it as it resulted in one of the Mining and Pastoral seats having a small actual enrolment with a large notional enrolment. Something that is allowed under the Act. It would seem that the Commissioners would prefer (despite their report) to have electorates with large numbers of actual electors AND split communities, rather than keeping communities intact. They have probably implicitly included a criterion that is not in the Act in their deliberations.

  22. tonyr – I’d guess that Mt Lawley is not more marginal for the same reason Scarborough is marginal unlike the electorates it’s between – it’s an area that attracts the “latte-sipping” lefties. It’s probably the main part of the city that has that sort of voter – the “doctor’s wives” if you like. There’s not enough of them in WA to have a huge impact on a Federal electorate, but there’s certainly enough in that area to vastly impact at State level. In fact, if you check Coolbinia’s voting pattern (in Yokine) at the last election it actually tended to vote Labor more than the Libs.

    Michael, I guess the problem would be that to not split Kalgoorlie up would mean there would have to be an electorate that had Esperance in one corner and vast areas of empty space – I’d be certain that a member for such an electorate would be beholded entirely to the one medium sized town, and hardly at all to the remaining areas of the electorate – thus defeating the supposed reason for the LDA in the first place. Kalgoorlie-Boulder is by far the largest town in the M&P district, so I guess it had to be split into parts, as undesirable as that is. I did read through your submission though, good work on that – I wouldn’t know where to start.

    Speaker, the biggest problem with the upper house here is that one regional area (the South-West) is being treated one way, the others a different way. I’ve always said that regional WA should retain more than it’s one-vote-one-value share of upper house seats, but the Ag district just has too many (so does M&P, but that’s another matter). I guess there was no way they could create electorate boundaries that would have enabled Albany to be in the Ag district without including the whole area west to Augusta, so this is what they came up with. I guess the question would really be, would it be more appropriate for the far south-west corner to be considered in the Agricultural region, or have one that’s too small. Unfortunately the Blackwood-Stirling seat seems to be a necessity, so that’s the way it falls. To be honest, this would seem to be a case for the retention of the 7-5-5 split in country MLCs.

  23. Mr. Speaker,

    Concerning Upper Houses, the US Senate actually represents the interests of the states, as you need to win your state to get elected to the Senate. Here in Australia, no-one except possibly Brian Harradine puts the interests of their states first; it’s party ideology first, and state a long way second. In prop. representation, the 1st two candidates on each major party ticket are guaranteed election, and so don’t need to care about their states. I agree with having an Upper House as a check on the excesses of the governing party in the lower house, using prop repres to give minor parties a chance to win seats, but I do not agree with zonal malapportionment, which will favour the Tories in WA with the Agric region giving a 4 Cons, 2 Left split.

    As to the Federal Senate, I would prefer prop. repres over the whole of Aus, with parties needing to get at least 4% to qualify for seats; a similar system is currently used in NZ and Germany. I recognise that this will never happen, as the Constitution says that no state can have its right to equal Senate representation abridged without its consent.

  24. The major problem with the argument that the Legislative Council is a chamber to reflect the different regions and each region should have identical numbers of members is that it was never intended to be and no-one has given anyone the chance to consider this. The Greens used this argument in the negotiations over the changes to one-vote one-value.
    The Commonwealth Constitution is a compromise agreed to by the people who voted for it. The voters then chose a system to specifically bring about a Senate to protect the States. They were not to know that party politics would bring an end to the politics of the late 19th century.
    If WA needs to have regions – so that the LC doesn’t just become a version of the Legislative Assembly, then the regions should have a number of members to represent their populations.
    Because there was no consititutional settlement to establish the LC as a local senate, the current system of equal members is undemocratic.

    Interestingly, as an aside, the Labor Party has been a big loser in the Mining and Pastoral Region through the use of the additional voter top-up.

  25. Well, at first glance I thought the distribution was pretty good, logical and clean.
    On closer consideration it seems to be less than perfect.
    I understand that our electoral act doesn’t require it but it would have been nice to see some consideration given to the principle that the party that wins 50%+1 wins govt (as I believe they do in SA).
    Anyone else got a view?
    At least my POV was accomodated… (that’s an unspoken challenge in there)

  26. The decision by the Greens to support such a large malapportionment for the Upper House is the worst one ever made by Green MPs in an Australian parliament. The only good thing I can say about it is that it was certainly not done out of partisan self interest, since it will almost certainly work against us. However, just because it was done out of principle does not mean it was a good principle.

  27. The “fairness idea” in SA is bunk.

    Because it assumes a uniform swing, which just doesn’t happen. Some seats swing 10%, others swing one.

    Say the TPP vote is 55% for Labor, for example, and they won with a majority of five seats.

    The boundaries commission MUST set up the seats so that there are five seats that will be lost if there is a “UNIFORM” 5% swing against them next election.

    But there isn’t a uniform swing! One seat might swing 20%, another might swing 1%. Even if the Labor vote in the following election was 48% they could still win because of the lack of a uniform swing.

    (does this make sense? I’m no good at this)

    The only thing that guarantees correct representation is proportional representation, and Lib/Lab are in no rush to introduce it and lessen their power.

  28. VPL – it is impossible to make a single-member-constituency system guarantee that a party winning 50.1% of the 2PV will win the election, without gross gerrymandering, and even then it can’t be guaranteed. The SA legislation is well-intentioned but pernicious since it forces the commissioners to gerrymander the boundaries. If people want proportional outcomes they should support PR and live with the consequences.

    If the Greens didn’t support a malapportioned upper house in WA out of electoral self-interest, why *did* they support it? What “principle” were they upholding? Equal rights for cows?

  29. VPL – If you read the submissions to the South Australian redistributions, there is an obsession with characterisation of votes in electorates won by independents. How do you classify these? The South Australian system was set up on the assumption that the contest is between the ALP and the Liberals (as it usually is in South Australia).

    Western Australia currently has a house based on proportional respresentation – the Legislative Council. However, it does not have equal voting so it overrepresents the rural areas. This doesn’t mean in WA that it acts to benefit any one side of politics (Left v Right) as the use of regions seems to work to provide a close approximation of the vote. However, it probably does benefit the Labor, Liberal-Nats and Greens versus the Democrats (if there were any left) and the Christian and ONP groups.

    Only 3 groups (Labor – Liberals – Greens) got enough votes over the whole state to get 1/34th of the vote.

  30. One of the reasons the WA malapportionment in both houses has survived as long as it has is that until recently it had no real partisan effect, because Labor usually won many of the small rural seats thanks to the AWU and the miners. I think I am right in saying that Jack Tonkin was the first Labor Premier of WA to hold a city seat: Scaddan held a goldfields seat (I forget which one), Phil Collier held Boulder, Jack Willcock held Geraldton, Frank Wise held Gascoyne, Bert Hawke held Northam. This has only changed since the 70s, with the decline of Labor’s vote in the country towns. The pressure foer OVOV has really only mounted since the malapportionment began to have a partisan impact – even then I don’t think it’s possible to point to a WA election which Labor lost because of it.

    The real impact of the malapportionment was that it kept *both* major parties dependent on rural votes and thus increased the leverage of the farmers and the AWU regardless of who was in power.

  31. Indeed, Labor won the 1989 election with a markedly inferior share of the vote, both on primary (42.5 per cent to 47.4 per cent) and two-party preferred (no figures available, but the gap would if anything have been even wider, given the minor vote was dominated by conservative stalking horses Greypower).

  32. the problem with P. R in it’s pure form is that you do not get a stable
    majority government, this is more the case the smaller is the quota for
    election. eg in WA if all MPs were elected in one lot the quota would be less than 2% for each seat. SA has tried to remedy the situation on the basis of drawing the boundaries which is difficult to do.
    maybe some form of adjustment can occur after the single member election is
    held via a pool of seats. which is available
    eg say the ALP wins 60% of the vote and gets 70% of the seats the pool of votes would allocate 10% extra seats to the L_NP to even things up

  33. I think the compromise we have federally and in four states is a good one: a lower house with single-member seats, a system which usually allows the leading party to form a stable majority government, and an upper house elected by PR, which gives minorities a voice. Tasmania is the other way round, but they like being different.

  34. “I understand that our electoral act doesn’t require it but it would have been nice to see some consideration given to the principle that the party that wins 50%+1 wins govt (as I believe they do in SA).”

    Logical problem with ensuring this – in how many ways can a party obtain 50%+1 votes? More than one can imagine. How do you know that in the next election, there major two parties will be the ALP and Coalition – what if a Purple Party and Blue Party appeared? (Unlikely, but not impossible.)

    No, a single member system cannot be guaranteed to ensure that the party receiving overall more 2PP votes wins a majority of seats. If you want that, you have to have a system in which the entire state (or territory) forms a single electorate (and you can superimpose local electorates if you like and have something like the NZ system). It just can’t be done as in single member systems, votes cast in one seat have no impact whatsoever on the result in a different seat.

  35. It will be interesting to see what happens to Paul Andrews – a MP with health issues who all of a sudden finds himself in a marginal electorate.

  36. Brendon Grylls told the Kalgoorlie Miner today he will concede Merredin to Max Trenorden if he wants it and seek Upper House preselection for himself.

    He said the Nationals will be seeking the balance of power in the Upper House.

  37. He didn’t say anything about stepping down as leader, so I expect he would seek to continue as leader from the Upper House.

    He likened the Nats to the Democrats in wanting to “keep the bastards honest”. They will take a policy to the next election to quarantine 25 per cent of mining royalties for use in the regions where they are generated.

    Grylls appears to be modelling his independent approach on Peter Ryan’s in Victoria. I haven’t been in WA long enough to know if there is tension within the National Party regarding this.

  38. Thanks Antony.

    Just looking at the changes… Has anyone noticed the surprising result within metropolitan Perth?

    With eight new seats created in metropolitan Perth, the Liberal Party might reasonably have expected to be holding two or three extra metropolitan seats. Instead they’ve suffered a net loss of one metropolitan seat! The Liberals have gained Scarborough, but have lost Darling Range and Serpentine-Jarrahdale.

    (Note that this has NOTHING to do with the move to statewide one vote one value; since the metro seats already had relative equal enrolment.)

    The ALP’s share of the metro seats has risen from 71% to 79%. So Labor would appear to have benefited not only from the increased emphasis the reforms place on metropolitan Perth, but also from the way the lines have been drawn within metropolitan Perth.

  39. Ok – I know that it is much easier said than done to produce boundaries so as to ensure the majority vote winner wins government, but I think David’s point (and William’s) is also well made, the new boundaries have made it harder for the coalition in terms of this outcome.
    Shame about Grylls – seemed like he might finally be a Nat who could do something worthwhile!
    As for Trenorden, this is the perfect time for him to retire and leave the seat to Brendan. Oh course, the upper house isn’t the end of the world (in spite of many comments in the West lately). Maybe Max should be the one moving to the red room!
    Will Omodei be safe or will Redman take him on and maybe win…???

  40. Ok – for the pedants – scratch ‘coalition’ and make that ‘conservatives’.
    While I’m here – hope I’m not being insensitive but it looked like Brendan Grylls got hit in the face from his picture in today’s West…
    Anyone know what the deal is? Did he get in a punch-up with Max Trenorden over the seat? Does that explain why he’s happy to move to the Upper House? (I kid, I kid…)

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