Seat du jour: Hasluck

Located in Perth’s eastern suburbs, Hasluck was created when Western Australia gained an extra seat at the 2001 election, from territory that had previously been in Perth, Tangney and Swan. As my maps for Crikey illustrate, it consists of three distinct population areas which lean to Labor in the north and south, and to the Liberals in the centre. The northern area includes Midland, home to a high proportion of elderly voters, rent payers and low-income earners, and the more Liberal-friendly Guildford, which is demographically unremarkable on all measures. The central area includes middle-income suburbs around Kalamunda in the Darling Scarp, home to a large number of English migrants, as well as mortgage-sensitive Forrestfield and Maida Vale nearer the city. The southern suburbs of Gosnells, Thornlie and Maddington are marked by lower levels of income and home ownership.

Hasluck had a notional Labor margin of 2.6 per cent going into the 2001 election, when it swung to the Liberals by an insufficient 0.6 per cent. The inaugural member was Sharryn Jackson (right), who had worked for 15 years as an official with the Left faction Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union. Jackson looked set to have her seat pulled from under her when Western Australian’s seat entitlement fell back below 14.5 in late 2002, but its nose was back in front when the determination was made the following March (it has since risen above 14.6). She was instead seen off by a 3.6 per cent swing to the Liberals at the 2004 election, part of an allergic reaction to Mark Latham throughout the suburbs of Perth. Labor managed to pick up swings in a few of the wealthier booths around Kalamunda, but this was swamped by a substantial shift to the Liberals in low-income and mortgage-paying areas.

The incoming Liberal member was Stuart Henry (left), former executive director of the Western Australian Master Plumbers Association. Henry has received rather less publicity in the past three years than the member he unseated, who did not take long to establish that her political career was still a going concern. Jackson was elected state president of the ALP in November 2005 ahead of the Right-backed Sarah Burke, daughter of Brian, whom she again defeated the following year. She was also appointed by the state government to head its Community Cabinet Liaison Unit, prompting The West Australian to complain she had been “parachuted” into a “$120,000-a-year role running a State Government propaganda unit”. When Kim Beazley lost the leadership in December 2006, it was reported that the LHMWU was urging Jackson to contest preselection for his seat of Brand, but she declared herself set on recovering Hasluck. Jackson was duly preselected in February ahead of Silvia Barzotto of the New Right faction.

Amid a general picture of gloom about its electoral prospects nationally, the Coalition has been able to console itself that it appeared to be holding up in the west. One indication of this was a 400-sample Westpoll survey published by The West Australian on June 15, which showed Henry leading Jackson 48 per cent to 42 per cent on the primary vote and 53-47 on two-candidate preferred. However, more recent statewide surveys have been somewhat less encouraging for the Liberals.

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.

59 comments on “Seat du jour: Hasluck”

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  1. I hope the Coalition lose Hasluck and Stirling and Kalgoorlie. I also hope the election is decided [so I can get drunk and bang rubbish bin lids together somewhere around Higgins earlier] before the WA results come in, no disrespect to our most bountiful national economic contributor at present.

    However, with the AEC predicting a big proportion of postal votes and pre poll votes etc, we may well be waiting for WA to tell us who won.

    [At least the first post was vaguely on topic William].

  2. I’m tipping a stalemate at best for the ALP in Western Australia. Possibly a loss of Cowan with the retirement of a popular local member.

    They will not regain Hasluck.

  3. The 2004 vote was bad for labor in wa if there had been a little larger
    swing they would have lost another 2 seats
    I would expect with even a slight improvement Hasluck & stirling
    would be won
    Canning & Kalgoorlie are also possible
    What would the transposed wa state election figures show?
    does anyone know?

  4. The Libs are in trouble in WA, certainly among the young, well-educated professionals (yuppies). I would not bet lots of money on them keeping Hasluck or Stirling.

  5. Hasluck should be in the bag for the ALP.

    The only local story is the Federal Government deciding to put a brickworks owned by Liberal Party donor ,Len Buckridge, on the airport land adjacent to key suburbs in Hasluck.

    Henry read the local politics, tried to stop it from happening, but his party ignored him and now the brickworks are being built. Henry who helped get the issue some prominence is now seen as a lame duck, who no-one listens to.

  6. Hasluck, Stirling & Canning are the ones to watch. Kalgoorlie will stay with the Libs unless Graeme Campbell steps back into the race and then Labor has a real chance.

  7. The Liberal margin in Canning seems artificially too high, perhaps a result of anti-Latham sentiment in 2004. I’d expect Labor to peg it back somewhat this time.
    It’s mandatory for a Rudd victory that at least Stirling and Canning are regained, without a loss of Cowan or Swan.

  8. #CTEP, betting markets are suggesting that Labor are far more likely to regain Stirling, Hasluck and to also win Canning than the Libs to win in Cowan. Not sure on what basis you are tipping a status quo result or Liberal gain.

  9. Yes, Tim beat me to it. The brickworks is a huge local issue. A popular local golf club used by older people was closed to make way for the brick works. The brick works had to go on airport land because this is controlled by the Howard Government. Local councils and the State Government wanted it away from urban areas. Len Buckridge, in addition to the conglomerate BGC owns the state branch of the liberal party.

    Of all liberal members in WA, Stuart Henry would have the lowest profile. He won’t hold the seat.

  10. Boll, I’m a pessimist and ex-WAer. I expected the ALP to win a seat or two in WA at the last election and was burned. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    The margin in Canning is artificially high, but that’s because of the candidate woes at the last election. Firstly, the ex-member died, then the following candidate was dumped by the party only a short time ahead of the election.

    I believe there was some controversy surrounding a radio interview with Jan McFarlane in 2004 that some believe may’ve cost her votes in her Stirling.

    Also of note is the fact that Geoff Prosser is retiring from his seat of Forrest.

    I’m not sure how on-topic most of that was so my apologies if it dragged it off a bit.

  11. On the candidate’s profiles, I’m a resident in Stirling who can’t drive 100metres without seeing a billboard with the Liberals Michael Keenan smiling at me! I couldn’t imagine Stuart Henry getting anywhere near this sort of profile.

    The West Australian continue to report/opine that Henry’s in trouble quoting his un-named Liberal colleagues(?) that he doesn’t work hard enough and avoids constituent work. This might just be petty internal politics on show or might be real, I’ve never met anyone who knows the truth.

    But then again, he’s up against a former union official, albeit a former MP. I expect this might form a key part of the Liberal campaign locally.

    Whether it works or not is another question?

  12. karma:

    no. when the swings on, the swings on.

    stirling is always a marginal. swings against alp in all seats in 2004, same size or larger than the swing in stirling.

  13. All polls I’ve seen, bar two Westpolls I think (and it might only be one) show Labor picking up Hasluck and Stirling. I had always said that Latham was a low-water mark, based on the interest rate scare last election.

    The Libs internal report from July seems to indicate that is theory was wrong and that Beazley pre-Rudd was indeed polling worse in WA than the last election result. But the polls and the betting post Rudd seem to point to Hasluck and Stirling being easy pickups.

    The airport fiasco has been covered above. I don’t know if that decision indicated that Howard didn’t really want Henry back or whether BGC had big national pull. It is counter-intuitative popping a brickworks that is going to gather large local opposition (and it did and bet London to a brick it will come up in the election campaign material) in a marginal that is part of your firewall. Although to be fair it might just have been normal hubris and a contempt for the electorate based on really low Beasley polling around the time.

    Coincidently if Labor is going to use grabs of Howard blaming the States for everything that is wrong, as part of the campaign this will feed locally into that because having promised a whole new pollution source the Feds turned around to blame pre-existing brickworks in the area (some of which have been around for a long long time and were a key part of keeping the community afloat when Midland was at its lowest when the Libs closed the railway workshops). I can see a ‘no care – no responsibilty’ piece reading well particularly in Guildford.

    Sharryn was a good member in a number of ways, I remember standing next to her at the back of the Midland town hall, not quite remembering who she was, but she remembered me and chatted for ages in a friendly intelligent way. She is not a shiny suit saleperson and this should go well for her in the bulk of the mortgage belt.

    We’ve already done Stirling but all due respect to Jann, Peter is a different class of candidate entirely. It is a very different seat to Hasluck and if I were wasting money I would bet for Michael well ahead of Stuart.

    As for state results which some people like to map and others don’t, the draft redistributed legislative assembly seats in the Eastern region are ALL notionally Labor from memory.

  14. Jackson looked set to have her seat pulled from under her when Western Australian’s seat entitlement fell back below 14.5 in late 2002, but its nose was back in front when the determination was made the following March (it has since risen above 14.6).

    Just because Hasluck was the last seat created doesn’t mean it would be the first to be abolished (if the seat entitlement did fall). The reverse, if anything (because when the entitlement goes up new seats are most likely to be created in areas of most rapid population growth, while when the entitlement goes down seats are most likely to be abolished in areas of most rapid population decline).

  15. The last two Westpolls have put Labor ahead in WA, representing at least a 6% swing. On this basis, both Hasluck and Stirling will definitely fall, with Canning another possibility due to its current inflated margin. Adam reported being told by a WA source that Labor would hold all its WA seats, and that Hasluck and Stirling were gains, with Canning currently knife-edge.

  16. I’ve noticed in the local press that Henry is running ads about law & order issues, which means that he is electorally rooted. The Brickworks ARE the issue and no doubt will count against him.

  17. Yes Frank I saw them too – petty local law and order. Just the thought of promises from Canberra to clean up the graffiti at the Midland train station being pretty key to this election. Perhaps the Commonwealth should take over State Policing?

  18. Also, when you have the former State Liberal Candidate for Midland Charlie Zannino protesting against the Brickworks, you know it’s not going to be a winner for Howard, also the Your Rights At work campaign has been preety active as well, and it was noted that Henry refused to speak at a community forum on the matter because “it was a Union Propaganda Exercise” (paraphrasing).

    Even if it was, wouldn’t it be to your advantage to speak and present the Govt view ?

  19. CTEP, Frank

    I don’t see any point for the Libs to speak on this. As Crosby/Textor showed, they’ve lost this argument…to give it more air time will only hurt them.

    Better to let those who do attend ra ra to themselves.

  20. Frank was the community forum about worst choices or the brickworks, not that Sturt could really talk about either in his own electorate?

  21. [Frank was the community forum about worst choices or the brickworks, not that Sturt could really talk about either in his own electorate?]


  22. William,

    Hasluck alsoi covers Middle Swan & Jane Brook/stratton from Tooday Rd on the left hand side of the rd. (Rght side is Pearce) if that makes sense heading towards Perth. Stratton is low income/welfare type residents who were no doubt seduced by the Breeders Bonus and the one off family payment.

  23. Mick @5

    WA would probably be the worst place to try to extrapolate state figures to the federal sphere. I looked up this sort of thing a while back, and from recollection:
    Cowan: safe Labor
    Swan/Hasluck/Stirling: fairly safe Labor (>5%)
    Canning: marginal Labor,
    Kalgoorlie: marginal Liberal,
    Moore: less marginal Liberal

    But the state Liberals couldn’t spell “chook raffle”, let alone run one, so it’s pretty unimportant.

  24. It’s going to be hard to unseat two newly elected MPs usually their vote holds up more than in a safe solid seat like say for instance Canning which although safe could go anywhere…i think Michael Keenan will hold on in Stirling, he’s more high profile and has worked hard as a local member, Hasluck is a 50/50, Cowan is a 50/50 and Canning could do anything…i cant see Labor’s vote improving in WA much not after the Brian Buke scandal decimated the state ALP as a bunch of crooks…i wouldnt be quite as confident if Big Kim was still at the helm but a Queenslander i dont think a Queenslander will pick up too many votes in WA after all i think WA will be a rock for the tories for a while yet…unlike South Australia…

    I cant believe the press is saying the Libs brought out that health story why would they when they had Rudd by the balls already by late afternoon the Libs didnt leak the story about Rudd its complete bull butter…it was released by Rudd’s PR crew to try and get the media off his gaff and they’ve succeeded its pissed me off royally because Rudd’s going to get away with such a massive gaff!!!!!!!

  25. Glen you’ve been saying that all year … don’t you get the Lib internal polling … it said Rudd was doing signficantly better than Beazley not worse, the Burke thing only echos and resonates in one lonely place … the massive gaff wasn’t massive at all, much less significant than the treasurer being $4 billion off his tax reduction .. .typical GG media, punish Rudd for a silly trivial little thing, but don’t even mention the Treasurer has no idea of his own budget. The things that matter sweetie the things that matter … and getting a new job will matter for Stuart.

  26. Oh and Brian Burke has snared at leasdt 2 libs in the Web- Ian Campbell and most likely Troy Buswell locally. And being in cahoots with Crichton-Browne doesn’t do the libs any favours either.

  27. Nice to see you back, Glen. If the ALP gains another swing at the next State election, there will be virtually no Opposition. Burke lunches are stale news now, the state is booming, major infrastructure projects are nearing completion, it’s really hard work staying unemployed, Alan Carpenter has very high approval ratings and the Libs are electoral poison -even to the Nats, who refuse to form a coalition. Despite the most vicious media campaign by the Worst Australian to discredit the government, it remains hugely popular and something REALLY serious would have to go wrong for the ALP to lose power any time in the next two electoral cycles. Take it from this Sandgroper, Glen -the swing is ON in WA.

  28. The ALP basically can’t help but win seats in the west. Particularly now that Rudd has largely neutralised concerns about workplace agreements. It won’t be the landslide it is elsewhere, but they’ll win back places like Hasluck and Stirling.

    Who knows – maybe Kim Wilkie will have a safe seat for once.

  29. Swan will be marginal for many elections yet, Mick – like Hasluck and Stirling, it’s a classic amalgam seat with strong concentrations of Labor and Liberal support cancelling each other out, with the swingers in the middle deciding who wins.

    Henry has been utterly useless on the brickworks issue, which will probably cost him the seat – it directly affects the mortgage belt areas of High Wycombe and Maida Vale together with the more affluent Hazelmere and South Guildford.

    And I agree that Sharryn Jackson is an effective campaigner (and member). She should regain the seat with a swing of about 3-4%.

  30. I just remember Kim Beazley’s concession speech in 1998, where he commented that, for the first time in his life, the voters of Brand had given him something resembling a safe seat.

    Swan went from 52ish in 2001 to sqeaking past 50 for the ALP last time around. Which was pretty minor given 5% in Stirling and 3% in the safe seat of Fremantle. (I don’t know enough to compare demographics – I’m just comparing swings). Seeing as how Rudd is more popular than Latham (the only one who would be less popular would be Albanese, perhaps), he’s sure to pick up a statewide swing on election day.

    So I wouldn’t be surprised if Kim Wilkie opens champagne instead of gin that night. He won’t be toasting a technically `safe’ margin, but he’ll have bought his future for another two terms.

  31. Swan trivia: the only seat ‘lost’ by Labor in 1977 it was nominally Labor on 1975 figures after the redistribution and held by John Martyr who was ex-DLP, the Swan Labor MP 1943-46 may have been a secret Communist Party member.

  32. [I cant believe the press is saying the Libs brought out that health story …
    the Libs didnt leak the story about Rudd its complete bull butter]

    Crikey reports:

    Good and proper journalist that he is, Oakes is not disclosing who provided him with the medical evidence but he did indicate it came from someone on the Coalition side of politics.

  33. Hasluck will most likely be one of two Labor gains in WA from the Coalition – the other one being Stirling. Barring a disaster, Labor certainly won’t lose Swan or Cowan (actually I think Labor won’t lose any of their existing federal seats – the electorate polls and seat-by-seat betting seem to be bearing this out). Canning looks like being too close to call, but Kalgoorlie will stay with the Coalition.

  34. Regardless of the public polling Six months ago I suspected the ALP would make no gains in WA.

    I look at Hasluck, and while state and federal are different, I would consider this part of Perth to be ALP heartland, and based on Possums profiling of Newspoll and other’s examination of polling along with looking at the issues I’m tipping an ALP win


  35. Greetings all, just back from an exciting week in Canberra, concluding with this afternoon’s memorable stoush in the House, which I think most observers called as a draw. Everyone is very fired up and the campaign is obviously going to be very dirty.

    I spoke today with a senior MP from WA who told me that Hasluck is a certain gain for Labor, Stirling a slightly less certain but still likely gain, and Canning a real chance. This confirms what I was told by another WA source last week.

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