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. Ah… Professor Flint… what a fine upstanding self-opinionated moral vacuum! Good to see the News is giving space to the bigots and morons. How community orientated of them.

  2. i like jess wrights article

    becauce it makes people think about what has happened and what is happening and go searching for more on this subject on a sunday people who work full time

    also it makes people see what a thoughtful person the PM is , no the fact s are not all spread out but
    it does start to make the naysayer think well whats going on here

  3. I’d just like to say that I’ve been reading back pages of PB and felt my heart strings tugged over Briefly’s story, saddened by Scringler’s neighbour Frank’s suffering and death and horrified at the vision Fiona created when she tells of her m/v accident.

    I join with all PB responses.

    Scringler, I note you share my distaste for caged birds. However, if you take in Frank’s parrot, you will find the bird easy to look after. You can buy parrot seed appropriate to the breed it happens to be, and you can supplement this diet with a wedge of apple, carrot, a grape, cherry or such fruit, and an almond or two as a treat. Parrots love attention and the more they get the more they show off and amuse. 🙂

  4. Morning all.

    Great response from the Earl.

    As if we couldn’t have predicted this:

    [ sortius ‏@sortius
    2 days since I put my article up & not one journalist has questioned Abbott’s “10hr out server” lie. Editors on the LNP payroll? ]

  5. [Hear! Hear! Mod Lib is just another in the long line of Shell Trick Liberal Surplus fetishists…]

    All you need to know about Liberals is that Surpluses are good, EXCEPT when Labor wants one, then:

    1. They are poorly timed,

    2. Sought after for purely political purposes,

    3. The product of cooking the books,

    4. Never big enough (Liberal surpluses will always be bigger).

    It’s amazing the number of Costello worshippers, who lived and breathed surpluses, suddenly don’t think one is necessary, and will be a fake anyway.

    Same goes for interest rates. They make sweeping statements about low interest rates being a universal “Good Thing”, except:

    1. Under Labor they are a sign of a crashing economy.

    2. If they then go up they are still a sign of a crashing economy,

    3. If they stay the same they are a sign that Labor has no influence on the crashing economy,

    Unemployment is another. Low unemployment is another universal “Good thing”, exept:

    1. Under Labor it is a sign people are giving up looking for work,

    2. Unemployment will always be lower under the Coalition.

    The corollary of all these views is that the Coalition favours:

    1. Higher interest rates,

    2. Higher unemployment,

    3. Lower surpluses,

    but no-one in the media ever put’s that contradiction to them.

    “Business” has said this weekend in The Australian that “Both sides” are at fault for negativity, which affects the economy.

    No it doesn’t, talking the economy down affects the economy. By definition the government will never do this, so “Business” pick the more general term, “negativity”, with which to tar both sides.

    Until “Business” faces facts and tell Abbott, Hockey et al to stop trashing the economy, confidence will remain artificially low and “Business” will suffer.

    “Business” loves its profits, but is not prepared to be realistic as to why their profits aren’t as high as they could be.

    Only one side talks the economy and governance down. Only one side hopes the economy does poorly. I have little sympathy for “Business” leaders who refuse to face that fact.

    They are their own worst enemies, still going on about the hated “Carbon Tax” as if it had real effects on their firms, still whingeing that “She lied”, still misogynistically dedicated to getting a bloke back as PM (whether that be Rudd or Abbott), still relying on the naive belief that if, somehow, they can manufacture enough phoney scandals to get rid of Gillard and Labor, then they will enter a new era of prosperity and success, without any policies from the opposition to sustain them.

    They are advocating political anarchy – scandals to get them into power and a vague concept of a “business-friendly” government to prop them up.

    They are not serious about doing anything other then feathering their own nests and getting rid of the Arch Bitch.

    They are children.

  6. Billie 37

    Thanks for the link. The Melbourne Metro rail tunnel makes far more sense than the rod link. Most people want to get to the CBD, not through it. In fact, CBD rail tunnels are badly needed in Sydney and Brisbane as well.

    The road tunnels are proposed because policy dinosaurs still imagine that transport problems can all be solved by self funding ppp toll roads. Those days are over. Per capita car usage rates are falling in every state, and especially in the young. Lane Cove, Clem7 and Airport link tunnels all prove the point. Three strikes in a row yet people still suggest the same old thinking.

    We need more PT investment badly, and new property tax and funding policies to support it.

    Reform of Sydney and Melbourne rail wouldn’t hurt either. Adelaide recently introduced smart card ticketing for under $50 million. SEQ Go Card cost $130 million. Myki cost ove $1 billion and still isn’t working!! I wonder whose met got that contract?

  7. Gecko,
    You know what I always find most interesting about these Conservative alliances, such as that between Cory Bernardi, Alan Jones and David Flint? It’s the absolute hypocrisy of them all.

    Cory Bernardi is a homophobe but is willing to associate with known homosexuals in a convenient conservative alliance so as to advance his agenda. And the known homosexuals are willing to associate with a Conservative Homophobe who believes allowing their kind to marry is a slippery slope to bestiality, in order to advance their other Conservative personality traits and beliefs.

    But then they are the party of simultaneously speaking out of your mouth and your arsk at the same time. As Tony Abbott, who leads them, so ably demonstrates on a daily basis.

  8. i will ask this question again

    why cannot jouralists from on line media new media

    go to presconfereces if not them selves their represetative
    does for example crickey send some one
    after all if these reporters ask questions,

    does mr keane attend if no why not

  9. janice2:

    Quite right. I notice that Psephos’ question about the number of surpluses Menzies delivered was ignored. Too inconvenient.

  10. Gecko,

    They actually need each other to demonstrate to their constituency the reality of the evil they are propagating.

    It’s like the preacher who hires a drunk for his services to demonstrate what you’ll end up like if you imbibe in liquor.

  11. Scringler the Eddington link from Footscray to Caulfield clearly would have gone under St Kilda Rd and Dandenong Rd – it jeopardised the income stream of Yarra Trams – the trams are seriously overcrowded in peak hour now and travel times on St Kilda Rd are longer in peak hour.

    As number of apartments and offices along the St Kilda Rd, Dandenong Rd corridor increases the Eddington link will eventually be built – as fast as the rail link to Tullamarine

  12. I try, I really do try.

    I have tried to “register” for Crikey’s free trial subscription, with a view to actively subscribing.

    I have done it twice.

    Each time the screen says “Your form has been submitted”.

    I receive no validation email, or any other indication that my trial subscription is active.

    When I go to read an article that is truncated for non-subscribers, I click on “Log in”. The screen reads, “Already registered?LOG IN”. I click “LOG IN” and the screen then tells me I’m “Already logged in”.

    So I go to the article I want to read, which tells me I’m not a subscriber, but that I can sign up for a Free Trial… and around and around it goes. A complete Groundhog Day.

    You;d think they’d be able to get something as simple as this working properly, wouldn’t you?

  13. Finally got to the end of the comments to find you had all left me. I posted this on my trawl through the last thread in answer to Joe6Pack.

    I was once sentenced to 2 hours in custody. I was up for driving offences (speeding, unroadworthy car and driving while suspended) and was additionally stupid enough to mutter’if the judge (or ar$ehole I think the term was) doesn’t pull his finger out I’ll be late for work’.

    The magistrate asked who said that and I stuck my hand up and he told the guard to take me away and bring me back at the end of the day.

    Last time I opened my stupid mouth, and I actually took the time later to write a letter of apology which he wrote back accepting.

    btw J6P, great idea re: the xmas site

  14. Scringler it has been said that MYKI is relatively inexpensive, as the development costs are less than 50 cents per journey.

    The difficulty of MYKI are myriad

    Customer feedback –
    1.unable to check balance when boarding tram or bus because text on screen to small
    2. unable to understand balance because fare not deducted when touch screen, deducted some time later

    Big brother is watching
    3. every touch on/touch off is transmitted to a central computer that notes the MYKI holders progress through the system

    Globalisation
    4. programs written in India in a language called PHP designed for internet processing, may be not efficient for centralised updates
    5. programs written in India by people who didn’t know PHP
    6. card reader machinery maintained by Swiss company

  15. C@t & GG

    Seriously, the term Conservative is being defamed daily by these nutjobs… Think I’ll ouiga Menzies and see what he thinks . 🙂

  16. Morning bludgers

    Did anyone see Albo on Sunday Agenda? I slept in

    Also what on earth is going on in WA state politics?

    [“I am releasing my private phone records and cards (from Mr Buswell) which prove that the jilted lover story was false,” Ms Carles said.

    “This theory forms the basis of the lawsuit Buswell has filed against me. They were calls from him and I call on him to print phone records for November to prove it.”]

    http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/fremantle-mp-carles-i-am-not-a-jilted-lover/story-e6frg12c-1226537604659

  17. Hi Socrates
    [Thanks for the link. The Melbourne Metro rail tunnel makes far more sense than the rod link. Most people want to get to the CBD, not through it. In fact, CBD rail tunnels are badly needed in Sydney and Brisbane as well.]
    Do you happen to know any good material on web on Sydney CBD rail tunnel proposals?
    (not general material like glazebrook, transport plans etc, but quite specifically on Sydney CBD rail tunnels, and optimally their economics)

  18. CTar1, Boerwar, Janice, and from last night Fran B and Crikey Whitey,

    Thank you for your kind words and thoughts.

    Despite My Say’s and Victoria’s predictions, I’m still not shaking, and am in slightly less discomfort than last night (which was mild, anyway). The bruises are a pretty purple, however 🙂

  19. The silly season on the roads has started. People will kill themselves to get to their holiday destination 10mins quicker. If i could I would stay away from driving for the next month .
    Fiona I hope you are feeling better after your accident yesterday

  20. Laocoon

    I have seen a few, but sadly most such reports are never made public to protect the guilty from questioning. Former NSW state labor was a prime offender. It was studied to death. There is no cheap solution.

  21. BB,

    Well said. The only thing in your post I don’t agree with is the last line “they are children” 🙂 I think children are better able to discern on which side their bread is buttered. In fact, so are my dogs and cats.

  22. [ Senior party sources said there was no need for Mr Brough to get embroiled in a high-stakes game to damage Mr Slipper.
    Illustration: Matt Golding.

    Illustration: Matt Golding.

    Mr Brough was already the frontrunner to be preselected for Mr Slipper’s seat of Fisher, they said, and was expected to win in next year’s election.

    It has been revealed Mr Brough met Mr Ashby three times to discuss the political staffer’s allegations of sexual harassment, bringing a prominent Brisbane QC to one meeting.

    ”He should have just kept his head down,” a senior party figure said.]

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/gillard-worried-about-slipper-20121215-2bgds.html#ixzz2FA8YJiQH

    This is as close to the opposition conceding the conspiracy as we’re likely to see. What shame the journalist didn’t push “the sources” a bit further.

  23. That’s great Confessions.
    Now if we could just get Keane a regular spot on one of the tabloid telly breakfast shows some one might actually hear what he has to say.

  24. Socrates
    Sadly, yes my experience is also that it is quite tricky getting the info, from the outside

    I still cant believe the cost of the pedestrian(!) tunnel all the way from Wynyard, 4 blocks to Barangaroo.

  25. ‘What shame the journalist didn’t push “the sources” a bit further.’
    Or conversely what a shame the ALP don’t take the issue by the throat.
    Do they have a media unit?
    It wouldn’t surprise if they didn’t.

    Have they calibrated their strategy and MO to get around the bias in the media against them?

    Have they called an inquiry yet into the SCANDAL OF ENORMOUS PROPORTIONS or did Craig overreach on that one.

  26. Bernard Keane now acknowledging the dumbing down of today’s media, leading to more partisanship, hence the relentless and baseless campaign by the AFR around productivity.

  27. fiona

    Although searching back for a post is bloody time-consuming, I absolutely had to find out what had happened to you. Very relieved that you are OK.

    I admit to a frisson of worry when you set off to drive, but it wasn’t really pre-cognition as I worry about everyone who travels long distances on the roads. 🙂

  28. Fiona

    Car written off with a double roll half twist and pike and you come away with fond recollections of engaging tow truck proprietors. Honestly, you are a PB legend. If you don’t win next Tuesday’s Lotto some serious questions will need to be asked. 🙂

  29. ok as no one has an opinion on whether indepenant s

    news outlet on the web should go to news conf,
    ive emailed them all
    may let you know what they say
    surley that would have a big effect
    old media will sound stale ane irrevelant
    but i can say this for sure
    i have emailed crickey of the years
    and have never i repeat never had a reply

  30. I made a perfectly valid point about audience reach Growler you silly knob.
    He’s a troll, no he’s a troll, rubbish I think he’s troll.
    Nah nah na nah nah.

    Grow up.
    If you can’t participate in an online blog and accommodate a range of views fck off to some knitting club.

  31. GG:

    I think you get much more interesting guests and commentary on Outsiders than on Insiders. For example, you hear from bloggers and actual experts like Kouk on our economy, instead of Murdoch happy-clapper fools like Piers.

  32. fess,

    Green tends to sample a lot more from the twitterverse and blogs than our MSM programmmes. As a result, you tend to get more diverse range of opinions.

  33. Nothing from Libtika since Thursday.

    Amazing given the Liberal party posted a transcript of Abbott’s speech at Oxford on their site on Friday!

    She’s slipping.

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