Western Australia has produced variations on the same result since the first six-seat half-Senate election in 1990: three seats for the Liberals, two for Labor, plus one for a minor party. That party was the Greens in 1990, 1993 and 2004, with the election of Jo Vallentine, Dee Margetts and Rachel Siewert respectively. The Democrats won the seat in 1996 and 2001, when Andrew Murray was elected and re-elected, and in 1998, when Brian Greig was elected. One Nation took a large bite out of the Liberal vote in 1998 and 2001, but on each occasion the early exclusion of the third Labor candidate left Labor, Democrats and Greens preferences deciding the final seat in favour of the Liberals. The 2004 election was the Coalition’s best performance since 1977, the combined Liberal and Nationals vote increasing from 40.0 per cent to 50.2 per cent. If the combined vote for the Greens, Democrats and Labor had been 1.3 per cent lower, the Liberals would have won a fourth seat at the Greens’ expense.
The winnable end of the Liberal ticket is occupied by David Johnston (left), Alan Eggleston (right) and Michaelia Cash. Johnston and Eggleston have reversed positions since the 2001 election, reflecting Johnston’s elevation to cabinet as Justice Minister. A former state party president, Johnston is part of the WA Liberal faction associated with Ian Campbell and Chris Ellison, which has been opposed by the Noel Crichton-Browne camp. Johnston secured second position on the ticket at the 2001 election at the expense of incumbent Winston Crane, who was then under investigation over travel rorts (he was eventually cleared). Alan Eggleston, who stands 127 centimetres tall due to a condition called dyschondroplasia, is a former mayor of Port Hedland who won preselection at the 1996 election to fill the position vacated by Noel Crichton-Browne’s expulsion from the party. Third place initially went to state party senior vice-president Mathias Cormann, who won preselection ahead of 70-year-old incumbent Ross Lightfoot. Cormann has since found a quicker route to the Senate by filling the casual vacancy created by Ian Campbell’s resignation, which does not expire until 2011. A new preselection for the third position was won by industrial relations lawyer Michaelia Cash (who apparently doesn’t like being photographed, or publicised much), daughter of state MP George Cash and former electorate officer to Ross Lightfoot, ahead of Director of Public Prosecutions lawyer Michael Mischin, who takes the fourth position.
Labor’s ticket is headed by 35-year-old newcomer Louise Pratt (left), a member of the state upper house since 2001 and previously an electorate officer to Carmen Lawrence. Pratt won the backing of the powerful Left faction Australian Manufacturing Workers Union and its state secretary Jock Ferguson after it fell out with incumbent Ruth Webber, following Byzantine preselection quarrels ahead of the 2005 state election. Pratt won backing from an alliance of Left unions and the New Right, through a deal in which her vacant state seat went to New Right numbers man Batong Pham. She also succeeded in relegating to number two Mark Bishop (centre), a former front-bencher who had gone back on his decision to quit politics in the wake of Kevin Rudd’s leadership takeover in December. According to Andrew Probyn of The West Australian, there were two theories as to why Senator Bishop had a change of heart. One was that Kevin Rudd had called Bishop’s bluff when he threatened to quit while haggling for the defence portfolio, leaving him at first obliged to quit and then regretful over his fit of pique. The second was that Bishop had been heavied by his Shop Assistants Union backers who wanted Bill Johnston, Bishop’s likely replacement in the Senate, to remain as state party secretary so the position would not go to Simon Mead, of the Left faction Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union. Ruth Webber (right), a former ministerial staffer and state party assistant secretary, has been demoted to number three from number two in 2001.
Democrats Senator Andrew Murray, whose term expires next year, is not seeking a third term. The party’s candidate is Indian-born Erica Lewin (left), who works in senior policy and community engagement positions with the state government. The Greens have nominated Scott Ludlam (centre), an adviser to Rachel Siewert and previously to former state upper house member Robin Chapple. While Ludlam remains well placed to repeat Rachel Siewert’s success in 2004, he faces an unexpected obstacle in the form of the Christian Democratic Party, which has pulled off a preference coup that will deliver it votes from One Nation, Family First, the Democratic Labor Party, the Citizens Electoral Council, the Non-Custodial Parents Party, Conservatives for Climate and Environment, the Liberty and Democracy Party and even the Nationals. The CDP will also get Carers Alliance preferences and the surplus from the Liberals. This should keep the CDP alive into the late stages of the count, and might even win their candidate Gerard Goiran (right) the final seat at the Greens’ expense if the Coalition comes close to its vote from 2004. A more likely danger is that the Labor resurgence will be strong enough that the Greens will be unable to overcome their third candidate, resulting in a three-all split between the major parties and the first minor party lockout in WA since 1980. Nonetheless, a repeat of the 2004 result remains the most likely outcome.
Preference tickets when boiled down to their essence run as follows:
NATIONALS: CDP; Liberal; Greens; Family First; DLP; Democrats; One Nation; Carers Alliance: NCPP; CCE; CCC; LDP; SOL; WWW; Campbell; SA; Labor; CEC.
CITIZENS ELECTORAL COUNCIL : Liberal; CDP; Campbell; One Nation; NCPP; Carers; WWW; LDP; SOL; DLP; Democrats; Nationals; SA; CCC; CCE; Family First; Labor; Greens.
CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY: Carers; DLP; CEC; Family First; CCE; One Nation; Campbell; NCPP; Liberal; Nationals; CCC; SOL; WWW; SA; Labor; Greens; Democrats.
NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS: Family First; Campbell; One Nation; CDP; SOL; DLP; CCC; CCE; Democrats; LDP; SA; Carers; CEC; WWW; Nationals; Liberal; Labor; Greens.
DEMOCRATIC LABOR PARTY: CDP; Family First; Liberal; Nationals; Carers; NCPP; Campbell; One Nation; CEC; LDP; SOL; WWW; CCE: CCC; Labor; SA; Democrats; Greens.
LIBERAL: Nationals; CDP; Family First; DLP; LDP; Campbell; Carers; CCE; NCPP; Democrats; Greens; WWW; SOL; CCC; CEC; Labor; SA; One Nation.
DEMOCRATS: Carers; CCC; WWW; CCE; Greens; half (Labor; Nationals; Liberal), half (Nationals, Liberal, Labor); SA; Independent; Family First; SOL; NCPP; CEC; Campbell; LDP; One Nation; DLP; CDP.
ONE NATION: NCPP; CEC; Family First; CDP; Campbell; SOL; WWW; LDP; DLP; Carers; SA; CCE; CCC; Nationals; Liberal; Democrats; Greens; Labor.
FAMILY FIRST: LDP; NCPP; Carers; CCE; CCC; SOL; DLP; CDP; One Nation; Liberal; Nationals; Campbell; Labor; Democrats; CEC; SA; WWW; Greens.
SENATOR ON-LINE: Carers; CCE; CCC; WWW; LDP; NCPP; Democrats; Greens; Labor; Liberal; Nationals; DLP; Family First; SA; CDP; One Nation; CEC; Campbell.
CARERS ALLIANCE: Democrats; CDP; WWW; One Nation; CEC; LDP; NCPP; CCE; Campbell; SA; SOL; CCC; DLP; Nationals; Liberal; Family First; Greens; Labor.
LABOR: Greens; Democrats; CCC; SOL; LDP; DLP; WWW; SA; Carers; Nationals; CDP; Family First; CCE; Liberal; NCPP; CEC; One Nation.
CLIMATE CHANGE COALITION: WWW; Democrats; CCE; Family First; Carers; Campbell; SA; NCPP; DLP; One Nation; SOL; CDP; LDP; Greens; CEC; Nationals; half (Liberal; Labor), half (Labor; Liberal).
SOCIALIST ALLIANCE: Greens; WWW; Labor; Carers; CCC; Democrats; CCE; SOL; Liberal; Nationals; LDP; DLP; NCPP; Family First; CDP; CEC; Campbell; One Nation.
CAMPBELL: CDP; NCPP; One Nation; CEC; Carers; Family First; DLP; Nationals; Liberal; Labor; Democrats; SOL; WWW; LDP; CCE; CCC; SA; Greens.
WHAT WOMEN WANT: Greens; SA; Labor; Democrats; SOL; Carers; CCC; DLP; Campbell; CCE; Liberal; CDP; Family First; One Nation; LDP; Nationals; CEC; NCPP.
CONSERVATIVES FOR CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT: SOL; CCC; Carers; Democrats; Family First; WWW; CDP; One Nation; NCPP; DLP; LDP; Liberal; Nationals; Greens; Labor; CEC; Campbell; SA.
LIBERTY AND DEMOCRACY PARTY: CCE; NCPP; CEC; DLP; Carers; WWW; SOL; CCC; Family First; One Nation; CDP; Campbell; SA; Democrats; Nationals; Labor; Liberal; Greens.
GREENS: WWW; SA; Carers; CCC; SOL; Democrats; Labor; CCE; Nationals; CEC; One Nation; NCPP; DLP; CDP; Family First; Campbell; Liberal.