Westpoll: 54-46 to Liberal-National in WA

The West Australian has published one of its increasingly infrequent Westpoll surveys (conducted by Patterson Market Research) of state voting intention, this one showing the Liberal-National government with a 54-46 lead over the Labor opposition, from primary votes of 35% for Labor, 47% for the Liberals, 2% for the Nationals (I don’t normally read much into poll results for the Nationals, but this seems surprisingly low) and 8% for the Greens. This concurs with the last result from Newspoll, covering the January to March quarter, in finding a considerable narrowing since Mark McGowan assumed the Labor leadership, while still leaving the Liberals short-priced favourites to win the election that will be held on March 9 next year. There has also been a striking decline in Colin Barnett’s rating as preferred Premier: on Westpoll’s reckoning it was never less than 39% when Eric Ripper was Labor leader, but the current poll has it at just 5% (42% to 37%). The poll also shows 60% expecting the government to be returned, against 28% who think Labor will win. As is the norm with Westpoll, this comes from a small sample of 400, with a margin of error of nearly 5%.

UPDATE: Further results from the poll show 42% believing themselves to have benefited from the mining boom, 23% responding it was “harming their ability to make ends meet”, and 33% saying neither.

We should also get a new quarterly Newspoll result for Western Australia some time next week, bringing a sudden end to a very fallow period for polling just nine months out from the next election. There have now been five polls for WA published this year, of which only two have had substantial samples, accounting for a combined total of about 2700 respondents. This compares with roughly 70 federal polls conducted over the same period, covering more than 87,000 respondents, none of which told us anything we didn’t know already. One effect of this is that I have accumulated a mountain of preselection news since Newspoll last provided the occasion for a dedicated Western Australian thread three months ago. I’m now unloading the material relating to the lower house, and will hold back on the upper house until Newspoll.

• Liberal preselectors in Churchlands have rebuffed Colin Barnett by delivering a resounding defeat to his preferred candidate, restaurateur Kate Lamont. Sean L’Estrange, a former army lieutenant-colonel and Afghanistan veteran, defeated Lamont by a margin of 22 to 5. The naturally conservative seat has long been held by Liz Constable, an independent who serves as Education Minister in Barnett’s government, and is considered certain to be won by the Liberals with her retirement at the next election. Lamont was granted dispensation to nominate at Barnett’s initiative despite the deadline having passed, and the fact she had only recently joined the party. Barnett was reportedly dismayed that no women had emerged in the initial field of five nominees, given the party’s present contingent of two women out of 24 members in the Legislative Assembly (Tony Barrass of The Australian reports former Australian Medical Association federal president Rosanna Capolingua had earlier been approached). Many in the party were angered when Barnett reacted to Lamont’s defeat by complaining that an “exceptional person” and “potential Premier” (whom he nonetheless didn’t know “all that well”) had been passed over in preference for a merely “good person”. Mark McGowan responded by suggesting she might care to run for Labor instead. Perhaps tellingly, The West Australian wrote in May of “a perception among some Liberals that (Lamont) is too close to State and Federal Labor figures”. Candidates who fell by the wayside earlier in the Liberal preselection process included Richard Wilson, the 30-year-old chief of staff to Energy Minister Peter Collier, and another late female entrant, Jane Timmermanis, a lawyer for not-for-profit group Sussex Street Community Law Services who ran unsuccessfully for the Nedlands preselection before the 2008 election.

• Christian Porter’s surprise announcement that he will enter federal politics at the next election has created a Liberal preselection vacancy in his safe southern suburbs seat of Bateman. The West Australian initially reported Liberal sources saying the position could be filled by Sean L’Estrange, but this was made redundant by his success in the Churchlands preselection. Suggestions the seat might offer a fall-back option for Kate Lamont following her defeat by L’Estrange were quickly dismissed. Another candidate mentioned by The West Australian was Simon Creek, a lawyer and Porter’s campaign chairman.

• Another Liberal seat under the spotlight is the northern suburbs electorate of Hillarys, after its 69-year-old member Rob Johnson was dumped as Police Minister in the reshuffle that followed Porter’s exit from cabinet. Johnson responded by publicly accusing Colin Barnett of betraying him, claiming he had earlier agreed to keep him until the election when he would exit the front bench of his own volition. The West Australian reports rumours that Johnson had threatened to quit the Liberal Party and run as an independent if he wasn’t guaranteed the Speakership after the election.

• Simon Morgan, who made headlines in 2008 for anonymously running an anti-Ted Baillieu blog while serving as Victorian Liberal campaign director, and for describing former federal Liberal MP Fran Bailey as a “stupid fat bitch” (along with numerous other character assessments), has won Liberal endorsement to take on John Quigley in the outer northern suburbs seat of Butler (presently known as Mindarie). Paige Taylor of The Australian reports Morgan worked for Luke Simpkins, the federal member for Cowan, before moving to a position with new WA Liberal senator Dean Smith in early June. Quigley boosted his margin from 6.9% to 9.5% against the trend of the 2008 election, and received a further 1.9% boost with the redistribution.

• Josie Farrer, former Halls Creek shire president and deputy chair of the Kimberley Development Commission, has been preselected as Labor’s candidate to succeed the retiring Carol Martin in Kimberley. Martin became the first indigenous woman elected to the state parliament in 2001, and Farrer will become the second if successful. She must first see off Nationals candidate Michele Pucci, chairman of the federal government’s local Regional Development Australia advisory body, whom Martin identified at the time of her retirement announcement as her preferred successor as Labor candidate. Labor’s margin in the seat is 6.8%.

• Labor has preselected Janet Pettigrew as its candidate for the inner northern surburbs seat of Balcatta, which will be vacated at the election with the retirement of John Kobelke. The ABC reports Pettigrew was chosen ahead of Stirling deputy mayor David Michael. Labor’s margin in Balcatta was cut from 9.2% to 2.3% in 2008 (which becomes 2.2% after the redistribution).

• Labor has reopened nominations for the Liberal-held northern suburbs marginal seat of Swan Hills with an evident view to running as its candidate Ian Radisich, a project management consultant and the brother of the late former member Jaye Radisich. The initially preselected candidate, Dee Perry, has agreed to stand aside. Jaye Radisich won the seat for Labor for the first time at the 2001 election, but bowed out in 2008 after failing to win backing for a move to the safer neighbouring seat of West Swan. She succumbed to cancer in March 2012 at the age of 35. Frank Alban holds the seat for the Liberals on a margin of 3.5%.

• The Central Midlands and Coastal Advocate reports the Nationals have resolved a brace of lower house preselections, the prize pick being the endorsement of Dandaragan Shire president Shane Love to succeed the retiring Grant Woodhams in Moore. Also confirmed is Esperance pastoralist Colin de Grussa to run against Liberal member Graeme Jacobs in Eyre, having seen off a rival contender in Esperance business owner David Eagles.

• The West Australian has reported on a number of confirmed or likely Liberal candidates for fairly secure Labor seats: City of Perth councillor Eleni Evangel in Perth, former Belmont mayor Glenys Godfrey in Belmont and Ishar Multicultural Women’s Centre chief executive Andrea Creado in Mirrabooka. “Teacher Mark Harrington and interpreter Jesse Jacobs” have both nominated for Cannington.

• Joondalup councillor Philippa Taylor has won an unopposed Labor preselection for the outer northern suburbs seat of Ocean Reef, which Albert Jacob holds for the Liberals on a margin of 2.7%, cut from 4.4% after the redistribution.

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.

23 comments on “Westpoll: 54-46 to Liberal-National in WA”

  1. “The inner northern suburb seat of Balcatta”.
    Times have changed. When I was a kid growing up there in the 70’s it was considered almost rural.
    Graham Edwards was a neighbour and Burkie lived in neighbouring Balga.
    Sigh. Memories.

  2. Outer City fringe?
    Not far from the Leederville Hotel so that almost makes it inner city.
    If labor can’t hold Balcatta then something is seriously amiss for the ALP.
    Johnny Kizon ran security (unofficially of course) for my brother’s pharmacy in Balga back in the day.

  3. Barnett hasn’t looked as confident as he used to for the last 12 months or so.

    Porter’s decision to try to ride the Fed Lib wave is understandable ‘cos I think Barnett will stay Premier until he’s defeated and if its not next election then it will be the ALPs ‘turn’ at the one after.

    McGowan comes across as ‘steady’ and presentable.

    /end of ability to comment on WA State politics!/

  4. [Swing to Libs who will win majority government.]

    This has seemed all but certain since the last election, but there is a very small spark of hope.

    Hopefully if it does occur the libs are there normal lying self and dump royalties for regions, it is a disgraceful program.

  5. William wrote:

    [The West Australian has published one of its increasingly infrequent Westpoll surveys …]

    Can I politely suggest decreasingly frequent instead? {This is not an attempt at correction as the usage is both common and lacking in ambiguity, but a pitch for semantic consistency. Suggesting that a phenomenon that is becoming rarer (Westpoll surveys here) is a part of a pattern (the existing frequency of Westpoll survey taking) that is increasing in a negative way (i.e. declining) seems needlessly complex.}

  6. [William wrote:

    The West Australian has published one of its increasingly infrequent Westpoll surveys …

    Can I politely suggest decreasingly frequent instead?]


    Decreasingly frequent is decreasing in a positive way (to use your words against you!) so no more or less “needlessly complex”


  7. ML:

    [Decreasingly frequent is decreasing in a positive way (to use your words against you!) so no more or less “needlessly complex”]

    I see your point but ….

    whereas there is such a thing as “frequency” (the number of iterations of a phenomenon without implications about its value) there is no such thing as “infrequency”. There is no “infrequency rate”. The term “infrequency” is merely a backformed abstract noun from the adjective “infrequent”.

  8. That said, another good option for William might have been:

    [The West Australian has published another of its occasional Westpoll surveys …]

  9. @7 The ALP is committed to retaining the Royalties for Regions program and spending. It is part of their strategy for the North west seats.

    They have criticized some of the implementation and were keen to jump into bed with the WA Nats to form Gov last time.

  10. @7 The ALP is committed to retaining the Royalties for Regions program and spending. It is part of their strategy for the North west seats.

    They have criticized some of the implementation and were keen to jump into bed with the WA Nats to form Gov last time.

  11. I think Barnett is in a bit of difficulty. He has tried to present himself as a big projects premier trying to deliver Oakajee, Kimberley gas hub etc yet he has really done anything except presided over a government that has delivered massive increases in fees and charges. The projects he has completed and announced were started by labor so he can’t really claim credit for those. He now comes across as arrogant and out of touch with the electorate leading a government with a cabinet of very average ministers. His shining star is a man who sniffs chairs and snaps bras …….

    It’s actually hard to work out what exactly he has achieved in the last four years that would guarantee him reelection. I think the polls are starting to reflect this.

    In addition the anti Canberra push he has relied upon seems to have run out off puff as people seem to want WA pollies focussing on WA and not Julia G?

    The is no way McGowan should be so close based on the supposed hatred of all things labor but he is and seems to be running an effective opposition based on WA issues.

  12. [They have criticized some of the implementation and were keen to jump into bed with the WA Nats to form Gov last time.]

    Carpenter was a moron who thoroughly deserved to lose, still the worst in his cabinet, (including him) is a mile ahead of the very best in Colin’s cabinet of incompetence.

    Also good luck to Ian in Swan Hills, he is up against possibly the worst MP in WA history who cost his electorate about a $1 billion through failing to even bother to fight to try and honor his commitment.

  13. Wewantpaul you must be referring to the train line he did but he didnt but he did support?

    But only in the second term ….. Despite the public and printed commitments to his electorate.

    Good luck Ian…….

  14. Indeed I’m referring to the trainline he and Colin promised. Then tried to forget. Then tried to lie about not promising. Then lied about. Then said we’ll do ‘x’ instead, and then didn’t even do x.

    The liberals had lots of pictures of trains at polling booths last election, even someone with the very limited abilities of the member for Swan Hills should have guessed it was an important promise.

  15. Question – Is Porter a loss to state politics and a gain to Federal politics? Or just another wanta-be.

    (The only time I’ve ever seen him he looked a bit lame going on about the WA version of the “Future Fund” while Uncle Colin was complaining about WA not getting its “share” of GST.)

  16. WeWantPaul – and exactly where is the money to come from to pay for the Ellenbrook train line?

    Your pocket?

  17. It’s gonna come from typical WA efficiency. Y’know, the kind that built a 70 km train line to Mandurah and two underground stations in the city for not much more than NSW is apparently gonna spend on a two station spur line somewhere west of Campbelltown (if they eventually build it). That, and the mining boom I keep on hearing about.

    I actually reckon the Ellenbrook line is pretty second order as far as public transport expansion goes – it’d be cheaper and easier to extend (well, electrify) the Armadale line to Byford, build the Thornlie-Cockburn link to give the new suburbs around Canning Vale some stations, or extend the Joondalup line again (which is already happening). Even just spending a few million on extra buses and trains or improved timetables would be good. I haven’t got much sympathy for people who chose to buy property so far from anywhere at the top of a property bubble. Still, they’re there now and it’ll probably have to be built eventually. Cheers to property developers, helping create an unnecessary cost to the state govt.

  18. Thanks for the question compact crank it is a great question.

    The first part of my answer is that Colin must have known where the money was coming from at the time – or he lied both about the train and the costings of his policy.

    Secondly we are in this boom. A boom so good Colin opposed additional taxes on resource companies and created a future fund. You’d look a right prawn letting public transport decay and failing to honor election commitments while things were so good … Oh wait that is the stupidity and incompetence of Colin and the current government. Again thanks for highlighting how how dishonest and incompetent this Govt is.

    Bird if one were to be objective I might agree with you on Ellenbrook being a second order – but Colin made it first order with his promise. But you are right he should be progressing the other projects as well as honoring his election commitments. This is the boom it is as good as it gets and Colin isn’t even competent enough to maintain sufficient rolling stock and to expand the bus fleet and overcome some of the problems created when Court semi privatized the bus fleet. More liberal incompetence there as per usual the risk and costs stayed with the State who unnecessarily poured state taxes into the pockets of private companies.

    Finally as for foolish people who live out at Ellenbrook – they no doubt remember Ellenbrook as a Court Govt initiate and they probably remember that the State Govt through Dept of Housing and Works is one of the developers of Elkenbrook. They probably also remember the Perth – Darwin highway transport link that successive Govts have neglected to build.

    And Allanah was right 6 months out from the last Election about a smarter Govt not doing Ellenbrook. But then both major parties promised the train line. If Frank was around he’d say Labor are still promising it. If West Swan looks in trouble they will promise it, if Rita will win easily I bet they won’t promise it.

    Finally in respect of Liberal govt own goals and stupidity – one of the first acts of Crazy Colin’s govt was to cut tax for developers where they should have been increasing them with sufficient proper developer contribution requirements.

    Fail – epic fail – liberal fail.

  19. http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/western-australia/government-to-spend-80m-on-perth-mandurah-rail-line/story-e6frg13u-1226443022503

    I’m not sure what would be worse if the Libs betrayed Ellenbrook by actually doing this or if it turned out to be just another liberal lie on public transport. Safe to say Frank Alban is the most hopeless member of State Parliament having cost his electorate almost a billion dollars in broken promises without even a obvious attempt by him to honor his major campaign promise. Pathetic liberal fail.

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