Seat of the week: Fremantle

There have been suggestions that the electorate of John Curtin might be lost to Labor at the next election as part of a statewide conservative sweep, although they have faded with Labor’s recent improvement in the polls.

The electorate of Fremantle covers Perth’s coastal southern suburbs from North Fremantle south to Henderson. It extends only a short distance eastwards along the southern bank of the Swan River to Bicton, Liberal-voting riverfront territory beyond being accommodated by Tangney, while going deep inland as far as Jandakot and Banjup further to the south. Liberal support is strongest along the riverfront, in the Jandakot/Banjup area, and in recently developed Port Coogee south of the city. The Greens polled between 25% and 30% in the Fremantle city booths in 2010, reflecting a strength of support that allowed Adele Carles to win the state seat for the party at a by-election in April 2009. However, their competitiveness in the federal seat is curtailed by the more traditionally working-class complexion of the suburbs further south.

The electorate of Fremantle has existed in name since federation, with the entirety of the Perth metropolitan area being divided between it and Perth until parliament was expanded in 1949. Only then did the port city and its surrounds sufficiently dominate the seat to allow Labor to secure its hold. John Curtin became the member in 1928 after unseating independent incumbent William Watson, who recovered it at the 1931 election as the candidate of the United Australia Party. Curtin was back for the long haul in 1934 and succeeded Jim Scullin as Labor leader the following year, although he survived in Fremantle by only 641 votes at the 1940 election.

After leading the country through the sharp end of the war years, Curtin became only the second prime minister to die in office in July 1945. Fremantle was retained for Labor at the ensuing by-election by Kim Beazley Senior and remained a home for high-profile Labor figures thereafter: Keating government Treasurer John Dawkins succeeded Beazley upon his retirement in 1977, and former Premier Carmen Lawrence in turn assumed the seat when Dawkins quit in 1994. Fremantle was the only WA seat left standing for Labor after the twin disasters of 1975 and 1977, but it was overtaken by Perth as Labor’s strongest seat in WA at the 2010 election, by which time the statewide tide to the Liberals had worn the margin in Fremantle down to 5.7%.

Fremantle has been held since Carmen Lawrence’s retirement in 2007 by Melissa Parke, a former United Nations human rights lawyer factionally aligned with the Left. Parke has thus far been overlooked for promotion, but made headlines over the past term after criticising the government’s “Malaysia solution” and decision to resume live cattle exports to Indonesia. As one report put it, Parke was “widely believed” to have voted for Kevin Rudd when he challenged for the leadership in February 2012.

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.

830 comments on “Seat of the week: Fremantle”

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  1. The opportunity does not present itself all that often.

    Melissa Parke is a person much to be admired with an outstanding background and a real sense of integrity. The fact that she was not allowed to speak much during the asylum seekers debate manifests the value parliament puts on such people.

  2. Fiona – Haven’t I been whinging enough about Holbrook?

    Everyone I’ve ever known from there is a mongrel.

    The only thing it’s got going for it is a public dunny.

    Bring on the F’king by pass, I say.

    If you could be careful of skaters, push-bike riders, drivers, trams, trains, aircraft, the Spirit of Tassy and bemused for a while it would be nice for those of us who care about you (Direction, not request).

  3. joe 6 pac said

    Posted Saturday, December 15, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    I have been mucking around with a very basic site for when crikey has its xmas break. BB i think is going yo writr some posts but what do you all think. Is it worth it for the tragics?
    thank you joe that would be nice

  4. thank you bk
    you know that would actully have to be the best story i have read this year and it about our pm
    i alway s have said she puts others first , and it shows the good person the pm is.i bet its from her upbringing i think her parents home was filled with love for each other and other it shines throug, gosh how i admire julia

    god love her as they say , i think that was my grandma`s a strick methodists, favourite saying

  5. And from the Land of the Free –

    You have to admit it – there are some seriously mad people in the US!
    This takes the cake! Mike Huckabee said praters in school would have prevented the shooting. Imbecile!
    Meanwhile there is a deafening silence from the National Rifle Association.
    Some cartoons on the shooting –

    Of course FoxNews comes out in support of guns.
    The Young Turks on the school shooting. (Particularly part 2 video)
    CNN’s Piers Morgan really lets rip on guns. Really good.
    Lewis Black on creationism and religion. Quite funny.
    How can this dangerous crap be tolerated?

  6. mm now i dont think joe has thought of that

    legals, bit of worry thats why i would neve attempt
    it he must find out things like that

    i would not be able to sleep
    must make the oats oh is slack to day we usually get up early to do the watering by hand
    but is raining which is good as mr southern water gets less this is the first summer we have had water meters and are tasmania cranky sorry tosay it s an election looser
    for alp here unless people see that the bills are small we use to pay a set levy to our council which was sort of hidden in the rates so no one fussed but they are now
    i think is really silly the derwent flows past my window can allmost touch it and from about here it becomes salty all the way up and beyond the mountains its good clear beautiful water a lot is harvested and bought down by pipes in fact our drinking water here in our area is so nice to taste you dont ever need to boil water here

  7. yes but he got the unflattering photo today
    did you notice that,

    so may be the fairfax press are going to do more on it

    seems staggered though.

    hope those tweets came to something,.

  8. my say – I’ve spent a lot of time in London and have a flat and daughter there. My OH also spends about 6 months a year in Europe. I sort of move back and forwards trying to catch the girls.

    If there’s one place I like to be it’s right here in Belco – that’s home.

  9. o from some of your posts i thought you where i n london

    or either mrs ctari was , o well must be me

    so much left to do before christmas hope i can keep away today from here my poor aunt missed out on visit becauce i got so stressed re the press not reporting.
    i have to back two quilts finish a dress,
    and christmas thing,s i hate wrapping presents one of my daughters makes an art of it, but i think gosh all that work and its all messed up in seconds
    but my daughters wrapping is so well done and so artisitc one think twice before unwrapping

    so i have made them a small pillow type quilt and in they go and i bring the said quilt back home every year
    lol saves trees as well

  10. well i hate to tell them but if things we are thinking happen, doubt there wil be much fight left in the other side.

    i have not read the piece but from the headline
    they want to keep painting these pictures no matter

  11. my say – Yes Christmas is coming on at a rate of knots. Like you, I have all sorts of stuff to get done before.

    Raining there? (Poor Ricky!). Sparkling here but some more water would be good.

    Keep well.

  12. my say’ “Belco” is the very suburban n-w part of CBR.

    I’m ‘good’ with boring and local, both!

    Bright lights are things for other people.

  13. my say – The quilting.

    My mother was in a group that used to do it.

    She needed help with the cutting bit towards the end.

    The maths needed to do that is amazing.

  14. well the game was not that well attended i noticed on tv
    may be becauce its on tv and the time of year
    friday had a bigger crowd i wonder why
    its rather expensive to i believe
    i have never been to a cricket match or that matter a horse race they dont hold my attention
    but like a hockey match and athletics

  15. yes maths was my horror subject at school
    i a a visual person now i can draft a pattern

    there is some amazing angles and squares your mum could buy they come from w a
    if you like i will find the link
    not much maths involved then, the lady that invented them was on the inventors some time back
    mum may like a couple for christmas
    the long ruler is my favourite and the triangles

  16. m well they move around a bit in canberra
    they where 30 ks out to recently forgotton the area
    but i think it was on a hill not flat
    so wanted a smaller home closer

    my cousin likes to renovate gardens not houses
    amazing water falls and other lovley areas he likes to put in partly retired cps but very labor

  17. my say

    [ now i can draft a pattern]

    I have a almost twice M-I-L who’s been chucked out of every dress shop in CBR because she tries dresses on and then having sussed them out ‘makes one’ at home.

    If you can do the cutting part of quilting I wouldn’t be to worried about the math.

  18. Warning – this could be dangerous to your health and/or IT equipment. I didn’t know whether to laugh or throw the notebook at the wall while reading this. Scarey or just plain hilarious – you decide.

    Can you imagine Michael Smith as managing director of the ABC? That could be a reality if Corey Bernardi, Alan Jones, David Flint and a pack of other wannabee Tea Party types get their wish.

  19. The Earl tells Murdoch:
    [Rupert Murdoch ‏@rupertmurdoch
    Terrible news today. When will politicians find courage to ban automatic weapons? As in Oz after similar tragedy.

    Malcolm Turnbull ‏@TurnbullMalcolm
    @rupertmurdoch I suspect they will find the courage when Fox News enthusiastically campaigns for it.]

  20. Fiona

    I am so very, very glad that you survived the prang OK. And good on you for getting back into the saddle.

    As you demonstrate, it is when we get in real strife that we learn a wonderful side of Australians – practical, caring, helpful and active.

    As coincidence would have it, Bludgers had a burst of allocating various vehicles to individual members of the Opposition yesterday afternoon. By way of example, Mr Hockey became a Flail Tank. A wrecker’s yard stood in for Coalition policies. Etc, Etc.

    Take care.

  21. leone@34,
    Can you imagine Michael Smith as managing director of the ABC? That could be a reality if Corey Bernardi, Alan Jones, David Flint and a pack of other wannabee Tea Party types get their wish.

    The Lunatics would well and truly have taken over the Asylum if that occurs. What, no mention of Larry Pickering as Director of Public Private Productions?

  22. Morning all. Others have probably already discussed it ad nauseum but as usual Mike Carlton gave a good summary of Ashbygate in the SMH yesterday. Other coverage has been banished already by the awful US shooting, which seems to be becoming a (sadly) recurring theme.

    I am pessimistic the US will ever introduce sensible gun laws, because of the gun lobby, and also the weird inner spirit of paranoia that seems to drive most Americans, counterbalancing their exaggerated public optimism.

  23. I notice that some gun proponents are saying that if the shool was wtte, an armed camp, then the school could have defended itself against a person who, let’s face it, ‘…was breaking the law’.

    Battle cry of the Republican guntoters:

    ‘Aux armes, mes tots!’

  24. [leone
    Posted Sunday, December 16, 2012 at 8:02 am | PERMALINK
    Warning – this could be dangerous to your health and/or IT equipment. I didn’t know whether to laugh or throw the notebook at the wall while reading this. Scarey or just plain hilarious – you decide.

    Can you imagine Michael Smith as managing director of the ABC? That could be a reality if Corey Bernardi, Alan Jones, David Flint and a pack of other wannabee Tea Party types get their wish.

    Leone, did you have to spoil my pleasant Sunday morning with that link 😉 Going for a walk to calm down then a coffee

  25. Boerwar

    It seems that the mother had armed herself for defence and son took her weapons and killed her.

    The solution by the gun lobby always seems to be more guns. As someone said yesterday – all kindergarten kids need guns to defend themselves? Really?

  26. [The ALP have only delivered 4 surplus budgets in the last half century….no-one will be surprised if they do not deliver one next year.]

    The ALP are the deliverers of infrastructure for the benefit of all Australians. The ALP governs with an eye on the future and forms policies to fund the needs of the nation beyond the 3-year electoral term.

    The Lib/Nats are good at pissing taxpayer money up the wall to buy votes to keep them in power. They’re particularly good at providing adequate largesse for big business supporters of their party and believe in the ‘trickle down effect’ of such largesse to those scrabbling for the crumbs falling from the tables of the well-to-do.

  27. The logical fallacy of the gun proponents, that you need more guns, on hand, to defend yourself, falls over at the first hurdle when you consider the facts that:

    1. It takes a lot of strength to hold a gun steady and pull the trigger. So Kindergarteners? I don’t think so.

    2. This therefore leaves the gun culture’s current favourite, the Automatic weapon. Which, if you think about it is what the mass murderer(‘shooter’ is too anodyne a term for these people), is usually toting and gets to use long before their unsuspecting victims have the time or the wherewithall to access their own guns. That is, they’re usually dead or injured before they get the keys to the Gun Safe. And you would at least agree to have weapons kept in a Gun Safe in a School, wouldn’t you? If not, then one would be correct in thinking that America has gone collectively crazy because children just don’t have the intellectual maturity needed to rationally understand when is the right or wrong time to use a weapon, if they are to be ‘Open Carried’.

    3. Are there really Americans who believe the answer is to turn schools into fortresses bristling with chicken wire fencing topped with razor wire and guards on the beat packing heat? Well, you can kiss goodbye to the innocence that used to come with childhood then.

    How pathetic an answer to their gun culture problems is that?

    Isn’t there anyone in America able to stand up to the Evil Geniuses who run the Gun Lobby and argue the case for Gun Control on the merits?

  28. janice2,
    Hear! Hear! Mod Lib is just another in the long line of Shell Trick Liberal Surplus fetishists who use the mantra to disguise it’s true intent, as Howard and Costello ably demonstrated when they were in power.

    A Surplus = Less Services & Publically-Funded Infrastructure

  29. That Tweet of Turnbull’s neatly skewers the old Crinkle Cut. 😀

    (‘Crinkle Cut’ is my Colloquialism of the Week. I heard it on the radio this week used to describe a wrinkly old person. 😀 )

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