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 dont think any amount of political experience or local knowledge can predict the result of a marginal seat before the election is called.

    I come to that conclusion with limited knowledge but alot of common sense.

  2. Pauline Hands-on was finding it difficult to get her brushstrokes even as the waves were buffeting the tiny orange lifeboat. She had found the source of that irritating hissing sound and the deflation of her vessel that had threatened to sink her, a tiny hole in the bow, obviously caused during the haste in getting herself seaworthy. Actually she was quite proud.

    Then she noticed the label on the inflatable raft “Made in China” and flew into an almighty rage, spluttering expletives and comments about foreign imports, Australian jobs, the scourge of HIV, rabies and those little noodle shops.

    The sounds of the explosions were getting nearer and she could now see the two ships alongside each other through the pall of smoke that enveloped them….

  3. Both crews had taken up positions on the gunnel railings of their respective ships, now facing each other and hurling insults,

    “AAARRRGH!! The last guy had no ticker and it sounds like yours is broken too, y’lily livered dog!!” Hurled Hamster
    “Well, I’m not worried. Why? BECAUSE AT LEAST WE ARE SURE I HAVE A HEART!!” Retorted Captain Rudder, his glasses almost dislodging
    “OOOHHH, OOOOOH all bureaucrats, rockstars and UNION BOSSES!! We’re Blaaaady scared now aren’t we??” Taunted Peter Petulant whilst mincing around in faux fear..
    “Come over here and let me wring your miserable neck you pathetic little coward!!” Rumbled Ms Lanyard “I’d kick you in the jewels but it doesn’t sound like I’d hit much!!”

    “Why don’t you prise your miserable little Araldited buttocks off your throne and slink back with your bottom-dwelling scumbags to the cesspool that you call home, you try-hard turd.” Chided a voice that seemed to come from deep below midships on the black ship.

    A greying, drawn and almost horse-like face appeared from a blasthole as every crewmember on both sides of this peculiar barrage went pindrop silent. It was Ol’ Captain Kitten, who ruled the waves for a brief period many years ago.

    Suddenly, in unison, every voice present screamed,

  4. All I can say is thanks for nothing with the Brickworks Stuart Henry. It took you until the deal was virtually done before you were allowed to pretend you are against it.

    We will not forget your political impotence. High Wycombe will swing harder than it did in the last election and it will be in the wrong direction for you MR “grafitti and hoons”. Has anyone even told you what Federal Government actually has legal coverage of?

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