Call of the board: Western Australia

Another deep dive into the result of the May federal election – this time focusing on Western Australia, which disappointed Labor yet again.

The Call of the Board wheel now turns to Western Australia, after previous instalments that probed into the federal election results for Sydney (here and here), regional New South Wales, Melbourne, regional Victoria, south-east Queensland and regional Queensland.

Western Australia has been disappointing federal Labor ever since Kim Beazley elevated the party’s vote in his home state in 1998 and 2001, and this time was no exception. After an unprecedented Labor landslide at the 2017 state election and expectations the state’s economic malaise would sour voters on the government, the May election in fact produced a statewide two-party swing of 0.9% to the Coalition, and no change on the existing configuration of 11 seats for the Liberals and five for Labor.

As illustrated by the maps below (click on the images to enlarge), which record the two-party swings at booth level, Perth typified the national trend in that Labor gained in inner urban areas, regardless of their political complexion, while copping a hit in the outer suburbs. This will be reflected in the seat-by-seat commentary below, which regularly invokes the shorthand of “inner urban” and “outer urban” effects. The map on the left is limited to seats that are clearly within the Perth metropolitan area, while the second adds the fringe seats of Pearce (north), Hasluck (east) and Canning (south).

For further illustration, the table below compares each electorate’s two-party result (the numbers shown are Labor’s) with a corresponding two-party Senate measure, which was derived from the AEC’s files recording the preference order of each ballot paper (with votes that did not preference either Labor or Liberal excluded). This potentially offers a pointer as to how much candidate factors affected the lower house results.

Brand (Labor 6.7%; 4.8% swing to Liberal): Like so many other suburban seats distant from central business districts across the land, Brand recorded a solid swing to the Liberals after going strongly the other way in 2016. This dynamic drowned out whatever impact candidate factors may have had: Labor’s Madeleine King picked up a 7.7% swing on debut in 2016, but this time copped a 4.8% reversal despite theoretically being in line for a sophomore surge. The Senate result was little different from the House, further suggesting candidate factors were not much of a feature.

Burt (Labor 5.0%; 2.1% swing to Liberal): On its creation in 2016, Burt recorded a swing to Labor of 13.2%, the biggest of the election. This partly reflected the dramatic boomtime suburban growth that had caused the seat to be created in the first place, and which has since ground to a halt. The Liberals swing of 2.1% this time was typical for suburbia outside the inner urban zone, overwhelming any sophomore effect for the seat’s inaugural member, Matt Keogh. However, Keogh very substantially outperformed the two-party Senate metric.

Canning (Liberal 11.6%; 4.8% swing to Liberal): Covering Perth’s outer southern fringes, Canning was another seat that typified outer suburbia in swinging heavily to the Liberals, in this case to the advantage of Andrew Hastie. Hastie came to the seat at a by-election held a week after Malcolm Turnbull’s rise to the prime ministership in September 2015, at which he survived a 6.6% swing to Labor, most of which stuck at the federal election the following July. The swing in his favour this time has returned the Liberal margin to the peaks of 2013.

Cowan (Labor 0.9%; 0.2% swing to Labor): Anne Aly gained Cowan for Labor in 2016 by a margin of 0.7%, slightly less than she would have needed to hold out the 0.9% statewide swing had it been uniform. She was in fact able to boost her margin by 0.2%, in a seat slightly out of the range of the wealthier inner urban areas where Labor did best in swing terms. The disparity between the House result and the two-party Senate metric, which records a 1.5% advantage for the Liberals, suggests Aly can take much of the credit for her win, over and above the exercise of the sophomore surge effect.

Curtin (Liberal 14.3%; 6.4% swing to Labor): The most prestigious Liberal seat in the west had a complicated story to tell at this election: Julie Bishop retired after more than two decades as member; the party raised some eyebrows locally by endorsing a Christian conservative, Celia Hammond, despite the seat’s small-l liberal complexion; and Labor initially endorsed former Fremantle MP Melissa Parke, who shortly withdrew after copping static over contentious pronouncements about Israel. An independent, Louise Stewart, held out some promise of harnessing support from Malcolm Turnbull loyalists, but her campaign was torpedoed after polling she circulated showing her well placed to win proved to be fabricated. Stewart claimed to have been the victim of a trick, while the Liberal response to the episode betrayed a certain inconsistency in attitude towards the dissemination of fraudulent documents for political purposes. The loss of Bishop’s personal support and the broader inner urban effect were evident on the scoreboard, with the Liberals down 11.3% on the primary vote and 6.4% on two-party preferred. The Greens continue to fall just shy of edging Labor into second – this time they trailed 17.6% to 15.6% on the primary vote and 20.4% to 19.6% at the last preference exclusion. Louise Stewart finished a distant fourth with 7.8%.

Durack (Liberal 14.8%; 3.7% swing to Liberal): When she first came to the seat covering northern Western Australia in 2013, Melissa Price had to fight off the Nationals, over whom she prevailed by 4.0%. However, she has since gone undisturbed over two elections as the Nationals have fallen to earth. The applecart was upset slightly on this occasion by the entry of One Nation, who scored 9.5%, contributing to respective drops of 4.3% and 5.8% for Labor and the Nationals, while Price’s primary vote rose 2.6%.

Forrest (Liberal 14.6%; 2.0% swing to Liberal): Nola Marino was re-elected with a modest swing amid a generally uneventful result. One Nation and Shooters Fishers and Farmers were in the field this time whereas the Nationals were not, but this was rather academic as the primary votes for all concerned were inside 6%.

Fremantle (Labor 6.9%; 0.6% swing to Liberal): The scoreline in Fremantle was not particularly interesting, with little change on two-party preferred, and downward primary vote movements for the established parties that reflected only a larger field of candidates. However, the results map illustrates particularly noteworthy geographic variation, with the area around Fremantle proper swinging to Labor in line with the inner urban effect, while the less fashionable suburbia that constitutes the electorate’s southern half went the other way (a pattern maintained across the boundary with Brand, where there was a 4.6% swing in favour of the Liberals). Labor member Josh Wilson was in line for a sophomore surge effect, although this was not his first bid for re-election thanks to a Section 44 by-election in July 2018, which passed without incident in the absence of a Liberal candidate.

Hasluck (Liberal 5.2%; 3.2% swing to Liberal): The Liberals’ most marginal Western Australian seat going into the election, Hasluck delivered Labor a particularly dispiriting defeat, with Ken Wyatt securing the biggest margin of his four election career. The swing reflected the general outer urban effect, although Labor did manage to pick up a few swings around relatively affluent Kalamunda.

Moore (Liberal 11.7%; 0.6% swing to Liberal): This northern suburbs beachside electorate is affluent enough to be safe Liberal, but not fashionable enough to have partaken in the inner urban effect. Third term member Ian Goodenough picked up a very slight swing, as the primary vote told a familiar story of the three established parties all being slightly down amid a larger field of candidates.

O’Connor (Liberal 14.5%; 0.6% swing to Labor): Covering the southern part of regional Western Australia, O’Connor was held by the Nationals for a term after Tony Crook unseated Wilson Tuckey in 2010, but Rick Wilson narrowly recovered it for the Liberals when Crook bowed out after a term in 2013, and the Nationals have not troubled him since. One Nation entered the race this time, but managed only a modest 8.4%.

Pearce (Liberal 7.5%; 3.9% swing to Liberal): Among the many Liberal scalps that went unclaimed by Labor was that of Christian Porter, who emerged the beneficiary of the outer urban effect after being widely written off in the wake of the state election landslide and the coup against Malcolm Turnbull. One Nation landed a fairly solid 8.2%, contributing to a solid 5.2% primary vote slump for Labor.

Perth (Labor 4.9%; 1.6% swing to Labor): One of Labor’s few reliable seats in the west, Perth has undergone frequent personnel changes since Stephen Smith retired in 2013, with Alannah MacTiernan bowing out to return to state politics in 2016, and her successor Tim Hammond failing to make it through a full term. This complicates sophomore surge considerations for current member Patrick Gorman, who retained the seat without Liberal opposition at a by-election in July last year. The swing in his favour reflected the inner urban effect, but he also managed to outperform Labor’s two-part Senate metric for the seat.

Stirling (Liberal 5.6%; 0.5% swing to Labor): In a once marginal seat that looked increasingly secure for the Liberals after Michael Keenan gained it in 2004, this election loomed as a litmus test of how secure the party would look when stripped of his personal vote. The results were encouraging for the party, with new candidate Vince Connelly suffering only a slight swing. The results map suggests a pattern in which the beachside suburbs and areas near the city swung to Labor, while the unfashionable area around Balga at the centre of the electorate went the other way.

Swan (Liberal 2.7%; 0.9% swing to Labor): Together with Pearce and Hasluck, Swan was one of three seats in Labor’s firing line, but Steve Irons was able to secure a fifth successive win in what has traditionally been a knife-edge seat. This was despite the pedigree of Labor candidate Hannah Beazley, whose father Kim Beazley held the seat from 1980 to 1996, when he jumped ship for Brand. The results map tells a family story in that the affluent western end of the electorate swung to Labor, while the lower income suburbs in the east went the other way.

Tangney (Liberal 11.5%; 0.4% swing to Liberal): Liberal sophomore Ben Morton held his ground in this safe Liberal seat, despite the riverside suburbia of Applecross and Attadale partaking of the inner urban effect. He gained 4.8% on the primary vote in the absence of former member Dennis Jensen, who polled 11.9% as an independent in 2016 after being defeated by Morton for preselection.

ANNOUNCEMENT: If this painstakingly compiled post interested you enough that you have made it all the way through to the end, perhaps you might care to make a donation. These are gratefully received via the “become a supporter” button that appears just below, or the PressPatron button at the top of the page.

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.

1,840 comments on “Call of the board: Western Australia”

  1. lizziesays:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    It’s not a handout.

    It doesn’t cost the government anything because it is not the government’s money.

    The government’s money is what the taxpayer owes once their tax liability has been calculated.

    Do you consider the tax refunds to PAYG income earners as a handout of government money or the rightful return of excess income tax?

  2. lizziesays:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    I’ve been in the Hundred Year forest a number of times and there is heaps of wildlife – took some really good pictures if I say so myself.

  3. SK, ‘Electricity prices. Only hyperventilating partisans are still arguing that ‘renewables wot made prices high in SA’. Nobody has time for that BS anymore. Not the AFR, not the ABC. Not the Conversation. Not Indaily. The cause is undeniably transmission and distribution monopolies, retailer market abuse, gas prices.’

    This is what surprises me about Buce. He does.

  4. nath

    Ironic, isn’t it. There will be some staunch Laborites who will refuse to take that on board.

    With or without the convoy, Labor’s ambiguity, fence straddling and speaking out of both sides of its mouth was obvious.

  5. guytaursays:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 3:39 pm

    Al Gore – the guy who has made millions from Government Subsidies that he lobbied for in support of his investments?

    He’s the John Hewson of US Politics.

  6. Boerwarsays:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    “So, how do you price in global warming impacts from coal burning. Just put it in as 0%?”

    Yes.

  7. ‘Bucephalus says:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 3:55 pm

    Boerwarsays:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    “So, how do you price in global warming impacts from coal burning. Just put it in as 0%?”

    Yes.’

    Therefore engaging with you is a complete waste of time.

  8. PeeBeesays:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 3:43 pm

    Unreliable and intermittent power generators should not be able to bid into a market without being able to guarantee supply. The should be required to prove that they have a contract in place from a backup power generator to provide power if they fail.

    The current half hour bidding system is deliberately designed to make coal fired power stations economically fail. The system needs to be reformed so that long-term contracts form the majority of the power supply and intermittent generators can then bid to cover peak demand.

  9. Pegasus
    says:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 3:51 pm
    nath
    Ironic, isn’t it. There will be some staunch Laborites who will refuse to take that on board.
    With or without the convoy, Labor’s ambiguity, fence straddling and speaking out of both sides of its mouth was obvious.
    _________________________
    Yes. It’s not like people don’t pick up on these things:

  10. Buce, why don’t you build a coal fired power station for SA? You could undercut the competition using your cheap imported coal and make a fortune.

    I can see the bank’s falling over themselves to lend you the money to build when you explain to them that using cheap imported coal is so much better than free wind or solar energy.

    You would be a rich person and smug in the knowledge that you are not contributing to global warming.

  11. Buce, ‘Unreliable and intermittent power generators should not be able to bid into a market without being able to guarantee supply. The should be required to prove that they have a contract in place from a backup power generator to provide power if they fail.’

    Then no-one could bid into the market as all generators, regardless of power source, fail.

  12. Kakurusays:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 3:45 pm

    Coal power stations are being built all over the world. The only reason that they won’t be financed here is due to the scare campaigns against banks by activists and the threat of carbon pricing. Banks need to harden up and carbon pricing should be disavowed by government.

  13. Boerwar says: Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 3:59 pm

    Therefore engaging with you is a complete waste of time.

    *******************************************************

    After 3 hours of fighting with the tar baby ……. someone at last gets it …..

  14. PeeBeesays:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 4:01 pm

    Unfortunately I don’t have the capital available but what you describe has basically happened in NSW.

  15. Bucephalus

    “Coal power stations are being built all over the world”

    Mostly in Asia, all in developing nations (except for one in Japan). But aside from one power plant in Germany (under construction for over a decade), there are no coal fired power stations under construction in N. America or Western Europe.

  16. Buce, ‘The current half hour bidding system is deliberately designed to make coal fired power stations economically fail.’

    Not true. It is a complicated system where most coal generators bid in at $0 per megawatt (note: they don’t get $0. They get, like all accepted tenders, what the highest bid eventuates to meet demand). This is because they can’t turn their generators off readily. They will take any price they can get. This is what makes them economically fail.

    Much of the damage to the generators/boilers happens when they are closed down (say for maintenance or breakdown) and started up again. The stresses during this process shorten their life. This also makes them economically fail.

  17. @an_untamed
    ·
    3m
    Has a losing LNP Coalition in history been rigorously pummelled by themselves or the media the way Labor is now? Self flagellation aside, MSM is relishing it! Wallowing in it like pigs in mud! (Stupid me for watching Patricia on #ABCNews smirking while Penny Wong speaks)

  18. Albo keeps coming to Perth. I assume he is doing the same to Queensland.

    Noone cares if he comes here -it is what his policies will do for WA that matter and the long history of the ALP is that they don’t give a flying f^&k for WA and just want to tax the buggery out of our mining sector.

  19. I argue to repair the body politic of this society and restore Liberal Democracy in this country. I argue, that the following needs to be introduced.

    1. Introduce a Bill of rights.

    2. Introduce truth in journalism laws, along with breaking up News Corporation and Fairfax.

    3. Introduce strict hate crime laws, that would allow for the punishment media companies who incite hatred. Along with the social media companies which allow the incitement of hatred to occur on their platforms.

    4. Electoral reforms to ban dishonest political advertising, corporate donations. Along with introducing a Hare-Clark electoral system with multi-member electorates in the House of Representatives. That would promote more co-operation between political parties and much less partisanship.

  20. Bu

    “The only reason that they won’t be financed here is due to the scare campaigns against banks by activists and the threat of carbon pricing.”

    Nope. Capitalism is killing coal. Not the dastardly Green Left. Not even Trump can arrest the decline of coal, including in his own country.

  21. Buce, ‘Unfortunately I don’t have the capital available but what you describe has basically happened in NSW.’

    And don’t you think some venture capitalist or bank would lend it to you?

  22. Much to the boredom of nearly everyone here, Nath has had an obsession with Shorten for eveeeeer………………..The ones who need “thick hides” are those who get callouses on their fingers scrolling by this obsessive and his comments…………………….You seem one sad case cobber….

  23. @Bucephalus

    I just hate the crazy right-wing reactionaries who have managed to dominate our political discourse in recent years. They have done a lot of damage to this country, which can be only start to be repaired once they are banished from the public sphere.

  24. I still see the media’s puppet in Labor following the media instructions of talking about Labor

    Labor members and supporters need to rid of Albanese and those in Labor who continues to follow appeasing the media

  25. Tristo says:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 4:17 pm
    I argue to repair the body politic of this society and restore Liberal Democracy in this country. I argue, that the following needs to be introduced.

    1. Introduce a Bill of rights.

    2. Introduce truth in journalism laws, along with breaking up News Corporation and Fairfax.

    ————————————

    1-The bill of rights – takes away rights of citizens

    2- Agree with you on Introduce truth in journalism laws, Labor did try to do something similar under Gillard but it was blocked by independents Windsor , Oakshot ,with the greens and libs/nats

  26. Tristosays:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    And extremist Ecofascists and Left Wingers and PC Identity Politics, deplatforming and cancel culture is no issue.

    We don’t need a Bill of Rights and we don’t need “hate speech” laws. There are sufficient laws that make incitement to violence and threats to kill illegal (unless you are an Aboriginal, apparently – then it’s ok).

    Who defines what is hate speech and who is hunted? You end up with the situations where a guy who taught his girlfriend’s dog a trick to piss her off gets prosecuted for hate speech.

  27. Stephen Brook
    @ViscountBrooky
    ·
    4m
    ABC News reporter Sarah Ferguson has spent the year covering religious sexual abuse trials and interviewing convicted paedophile priests for documentary series Revelation. #abcyours

  28. a r says: Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Now you’re just trolling.

    ***********************************

    Ahem ….. cough ……go back to page 29/1.07 pm this afternoon …..

  29. @meadea
    ·
    1h
    ABC MD on @QandA

    We have received audience complaints about the program, are assessing the concerns raised and will investigate whether the program met the ABC’s editorial standards.

  30. It’s good to see posters here believe in a free press – but only if they publish what they agree with – then they need to be regulated and punished.

  31. Buce, because you will be importing your coal to SA, you won’t have to worry about rehabilitation of mines when finished, that will be someone else’s problem. I believe, Hazelwood’s mines rehabilitation and dismantling of the power station is to cost $1,ooo,ooo,ooo.

    However, on the downside, you will be signing a new long term supply contract, which will be priced much higher than old contracts enjoyed by the existing aged coal fired power stations we have now.

    Still no matter the price you will be paying for the coal, it has to be better than free wind or solar energy.

    Incidentally, a billion dollars spent on rehabilitating Hazelwood could have instead have bought you a wind farm of 150 3megawatt plated turbines (est).

  32. Buce, ‘It’s good to see posters here believe in a free press – but only if they publish what they agree with – then they need to be regulated and punished’

    Who has been stopped from publishing? Certainly not you.

  33. Bucephalus @ #1578 Thursday, November 7th, 2019 – 3:28 pm

    Yabbasays:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 3:21 pm

    “Regrowth after clear-felling or even selective logging takes a couple of hundred years to become forest”

    It takes less than a hundred years:

    https://parks.dpaw.wa.gov.au/site/100-year-forest

    Well worth a visit if you are ever in SW WA.

    Simply bullshit. Hollows in truly ancient trees and dead fallen branches and trees are essential. I purchased a largeish piece of undisturbed forest 30 km from the coast, near Wyong in NSW, in 1986. We built a mudbrick dwelling on its edge, and it has served as the basis for my 3 older childrens’ ecology masters theses. On it are several eucalyptus deaneii over 3 metres through the base, 70 odd metres tall, with the top 20 metres long gone. Around 300-350 years old. We also have multiple eucalyptus agglomerata, also over 2 metres through, which have in long-ago fires burnt out at the bottom to make spaces in which several adults can stand. Every evening hundreds of microbats stream out of these hollows. Greater gliders, sugar gliders, yellow bellied gliders, feather tailed gliders, owls of several species all appear, like magic, from hollows. There are dead trees and branches all over the ground, including red ironbarks that are unaffected by rot and termites, and have been there for many centuries. Snakes and lizards abound, as do koalas, wallabies, bandicoots and even wombats. My wife, who has a post graduate ornithology degree, has recorded 53 bird species to date.

    The contrast between our block and the lantana infested, jam packed with saplings, state ‘forest’ 5 kms up the road is stark. The state forest is a sad, decrepit, destroyed travesty.

    Unlike you, Horsepiss, I actually know what I am talking about.

  34. PeeBeesays:
    Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    “free wind or solar energy”

    It’s not free and I live off it completely a couple of weeks each year – it costs a lot and you don’t get much.

    We keep getting told it is cheap/free yet there is no example globally that the introduction of solar and wind into a domestic grid has caused a fall in retail power prices. The reverse is the opposite.

  35. I see Buce is going the full Trump hog on human rights and Freedom of the press.

    Some accountability is suddenly an extreme attack.
    Very pop Alt right tactic.

    Scott

    Human Rights Charters are minimums.
    Australia needs them.

    The EU has them
    Canada Has Them
    So far the UK has them
    The US has them

    China
    Saudi Arabia
    Australia do not have them.

    It’s time.
    Human Rights for Australians

  36. Bu

    “It’s good to see posters here believe in a free press – but only if they publish what they agree with – then they need to be regulated and punished.”

    Just try criticising the Anzacs.

  37. Here’s the take out from the Labor Review.

    “There is nothing like a humiliating loss to shake a political party into reality.

    In an act of remarkably honest analysis, the Labor Party’s internal review of this year’s federal election demolishes the self denial used to shift blame for the performance of the party and its devilishly cunning former leader, Bill Shorten.

    In short, the review acknowledges the party was captured by the ideology, agenda and language of the progressive left. It advocates – in clear and unemotive language – a shift back to the political centre.

    The review marks a seminal moment in Labor history. Party leaders acknowledge the working-class base was turned off by Shorten’s “top end of town” rhetoric, scared of his $100 billion, 10-year spending splurge and don’t want to kill coal mining.

    The review acknowledges the party was captured by the ideology of the progressive left. Alex Ellinghausen

    For a man who made a career out of exploiting grievances, the repudiation of Shorten’s class-warfare campaign style is a powerful reassertion of pragmatic, centrist politics that has won Labor elections, state and federal, since the end of the glorious but ultimately unsuccessful Whitlam experiment”.

    https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/labor-accepts-it-was-captured-by-the-progressive-left-20191107-p538cf?&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=nc&eid=socialn:twi-14omn0055-optim-nnn:nonpaid-27/06/2014-social_traffic-all-organicpost-nnn-afr-o&campaign_code=nocode&promote_channel=social_twitter

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