Proposed new electoral boundaries for Western Australian are available for your perusal. Commentary to follow.
Big surprise: a radical redrawing of the remote areas divides them evenly between O’Connor and Kalgoorlie, the former taking the entire northern half of the state and Kalgoorlie most of the south. I don’t imagine Wilson Tuckey will be too happy this morning.
Stirling (Liberal 1.3%): Nothing too radical has occurred in the metropolitan area. Stirling has gained the salient south of Beach Road on the coast from Moore, lost Scarborough to Curtin but gained Joondanna, gained Coolbinia from Perth but lost the west of Morley. My rough calculation is that this cuts the Liberal margin to 0.8 per cent. CORRECTION: Sorry, made an error there: it actually looks like the margin hasn’t changed at all.
Cowan (Liberal 1.7%): This was one of two seats in the country that went from Labor to Liberal at the last election. The electorate has been brought down to size through the loss of the Noranda area south of Reid Highway to Perth and the new suburbs around Tapping in the electorate’s north-west to Moore, cutting the margin by about 0.8 per cent.
Swan (Liberal 0.1%): The other seat in the country that went from Labor to Liberal. It has gained extra territory in the south including Ferndale, Lynwood and Langford, which by my reckoning damages Liberal member Steve Irons 0.7 per cent and puts the seat back into the Labor column. Furthermore, the new areas swung quite heavily to Labor at the election.
Hasluck (Labor 1.3%): The one seat in WA that Labor won from the Liberals has gained Huntingdale and Southern River in the south from Canning, while losing a very small number of voters in the north to Pearce. I estimate that this has knocked 0.2 per cent off Labor member Sharryn Jackson’s margin.
O’Connor: Going on booths alone, I calculate O’Connor has a Liberal margin of 7.2 per cent.
UPDATE: Antony Green explains all. In a nutshell, the metropolitan amendments are of only marginal interest. The big deal is that Kalgoorlie has gone from being a potentially loseable Liberal seat to a very safe one, which has been achieved by cutting the margin in O’Connor from 16.6 per cent to 7.3 per cent (on Antony’s initial calculation). I might venture that this overstates the Liberals’ safety in O’Connor due to Wilson Tuckey’s personal vote (which is especially high in the part of O’Connor that carries over to the newly drawn seat: the southern coast end was only added to the electorate at the previous redistribution), and the fact that Labor have played dead in O’Connor lately to aid the Nationals. For example, the Allendale Primary School and Geraldton Primary School booths in Geraldton respectively split 59-41 and 56-44 in Tuckey’s favour at the 2007 election, whereas Labor won them 51-49 and 55-45 at the 2005 state election. Nonetheless, the new O’Connor still looks more comfortable for the Liberals than did the old Kalgoorlie, so they have reason to be pleased.
The changes are also significant in intra-Coalition terms. Normally it might be assumed that a 72-year-old member would have retirement in mind, but Wilson Tuckey might be rated an exception. If he’s not in the mood to go quietly, he will have a much harder time now he has to persuade preselectors from the unfamiliar Kimberley, Pilbara and Gascoyne. Then there’s the Nationals, who have been hoping O’Connor might give them their first WA House of Representatives seat since 1974. Their hopes, if any, must now be pinned on Kalgoorlie, which takes not only Albany and half their Wheatbelt heartland from O’Connor, but also Manjimup and Bridgetown-Greenbushes from Forrest and areas as near to Perth as Wandering from Pearce. The latter areas are not strong for them, so it can be expected that they will lodge a fairly spirited objection.