Margin: Liberal 1.0%
Region: North Metropolitan
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Electorate analysis: A key gain for the Liberals in 2008, Wanneroo takes most of its voters from a strip of suburbs along Wanneroo Road immediately inland of Lake Joondalup, including Wanneroo itself and the newer suburbs of Pearsall and Hocking to its south, and Ashby, Tapping and Carramar to its north. Long established as a town site before suburbia began to catch up with it in the 1970s, Wanneroo was included in the outer northern metropolitan electorates of Whitford from 1977 and Joondalup from 1983, becoming an electorate in its own right when Joondalup was abolished in 1989 (later to be re-created in 1996). Labor’s Jackie Watkins carried over from Joondalup to Wanneroo in 1989, before the seat became one of many in the northern suburbs to fall to the Liberals with the defeat of the Lawrence government in 1993.
The new Liberal member, Wayde Smith, lasted only a single term, losing his preselection ahead of the 1996 election over his entanglement in the Wanneroo Inc affair and eventually going to prison for perjury. The seat then passed to Iain MacLean, who had filled a casual vacancy for North Metropolitan in the upper house two years earlier. MacLean held on narrowly at the 1996 election before suffering a 10.3% hit on the primary vote in 2001, which translated into a 7.5% two-party swing fuelled by One Nation’s decision to direct preferences against most sitting members. The seat was then held for Labor for two terms by Dianne Guise, who had her margin cut by 2.8% and 0.6% at the redistributions before the 2005 and 2008 elections, while consolidating her position with a 3.6% swing at the 2005 election.
Guise went into the 2008 election with a margin of 6.2%, but this proved insufficient to hold off what in comparison with other nearby electorates was a rather severe swing of 6.9%. The winning Liberal candidate was Paul Miles, a Wanneroo councillor making his secord run for the seat. Another Wanneroo councillor, Brett Treby, will be Labor’s candidate at the coming election. Treby reportedly had the preselection backing from former mayor and local Right faction figure Jon Kelly, who was obliged to stand aside as the federal candidate for Cowan at the 2010 election over his links with Brian Burke.