How Western Australia Could Decide Who Wins Federal Elections
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How Western Australia Could Decide Who Wins Federal Elections

At least three crucial fringe seats in Western Australia could be key in determining the next prime minister, and it seems both major parties still have a chance.

How Western Australia Could Decide Who Wins Federal Elections

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition leader Anthony Albanese spent significant time campaigning in WA alongside hugely popular Labor Prime Minister Mark McGowan, clearly hoping to ride his coattails.

Labor even launched its campaign in WA, while Mr. Morrison has repeatedly spoken out about his GST gains for the state.

But how much of their political spin is white noise for the general public?

Camera icon Scott Morrison has repeatedly tried to tell WA voters that he is working well with popular Prime Minister Mark McGowan. NCA NewsWire/Sharon Smith Credit: NCA NewsWire

Election analyst William Bowe told NCA NewsWire that while Mr. Morrison had faced resistance over the cost of living many people face, Mr. Albanese had not been doing himself any favors by making blunders on the campaign path.

“Mr. Albanian has made his blunders. I think that probably limits the extent to which there will be some sort of cost-of-living backlash against the government,” Bowe said.

The main blunder was on the first day of the campaign when Mr. Albanese failed to remember the cash and unemployment figures.

“I think people always tend to think that the Liberals are probably going to run the economy better than Labor, and it was useless that he seemed to amplify that point,” Bowe said.

“I think the blunder has received enough attention… blunders are a big problem because you don’t have to be a policy expert to see that Anthony Albanese can’t name something quite fundamental.

“It didn’t matter much in the polls, but I think people know it happened.”

Three fringe Liberals – and possibly a fourth – seats in WA are vital for both major parties, and whoever takes them is likely to become the next prime minister.

“There will be a swing to Labor and every seat in WA, I’m pretty sure,” said Mr Bowe.

Her. e’s what you need to know about each of the crucial seats.

Camera icon Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has made a series of blunders during the election campaign. NCA NewsWire/Luis Enrique Ascui Credit: News Corp Australia


Swan occupies 151 square kilometers of Perth’s southern suburbs and is currently held by the outgoing Liberal MP Steve Irons, who has held the seat since 2007.

It has a range of voters, including wealthy people living along the Swan River and those in cheap flats.

The Liberal Party’s candidate for the seat is Kristy McSweeney, who has worked as a journalist and media commentator. She has also worked for ministers and prime ministers.

The Labor candidate is the the mother of two, Zaneta Mascarenhas, who has worked as an engineer for 15 years.

Bowe and political professor Martin Drum agreed that despite other candidates competing for the seat, it was a two-horse race.

“I think the Liberals have a pretty good candidate, but I don’t think that matters in the bigger picture,” Bowe said.

“It’s the seat that will be decided on the broader trend…if the liberals stick to it, it should be in the context of a surprising result across the board.”

Bowe said the margin was “not as strong as it seems” in Swan.

“What counts in Swan is not so much the candidates – it’s the fact that the Liberal member is retiring,” he said.

“So all the community work he’s done in his 15 years as a member, that personal connection he’s built with voters during that time, is now going away — and that’s another reason Labor has a bit of an edge.”

Camera Icon Some people voted early. Kevin Farmer Credit: News Corp Australia

dr. Drum told NCA NewsWire that Swan was a priority seat for Labour.

“It makes it more difficult for the Liberals to retain because they don’t have that sense of incumbency and feasibility that a local member will have after several terms in office,” he said.

“He was a pretty active local member, so I think that’s a bit of a blow to them, and it’s not good timing either because you have a government for several terms, and then you have a potential move to Labour.”

Ms. McSweeney said Swan was an “industrial heavy” electorate.

“Many people are interested in the certainty of their economic position. That’s something big,” she recently told 6PR radio.

“The second is a crime … every second or third person wants to talk about crime.”

Ms. Mascarenhas said she had knocked on 40,000 doors with her constituents and that the main issue was the cost of living.

“Households have a very hard time, and the truth is that everything goes up except your wages,” she said.

“That has been a design of the coalition’s economic policy, and the people are doing it very hard.

“Federbor wants to look, we can grow our economy, make it more productive, and work with corporations and unions to increase profits and raise wages.”


This seat, held since 2013 by outgoing Liberal MP Christian Porter, occupies 783 square kilometers outside Perth and the Avon Valley.

Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts, who has been a councilor since 2003, is the Labor candidate.

In 2020, the state government named her a member of the State Recovery Advisory Group to drive economic recovery from the pandemic.

Clinical nurse practitioner and fellow Wanneroo councilor Linda Aitken is the new Liberal candidate for Pearce.

She is the mother of four and grandmother of two.

“Pearce has a larger margin than Swan, so it is foreseeable that Labor could succeed in Swan but fail in Pearce,” Bowe said.

“But Pearce is really Perowth area, which margin might be a bit unreliable.

“You’re going to have a lot of new people in the electorate, especially young families … rising interest rates are a problem (and) that’s a seat where that will be felt.”

Dr. Drum said there were some “special circumstances” in the seat.

“One is that everyone knows that the incumbent member was Christian Porter and that he had all sorts of public problems during his last term and has decided not to stand, and the seat is vacant, which again means the coalition is not an incumbent. Has,” he said. Said.

“But there is an extra element in this, and that, which chair has undergone a very subtle redistribution.

“It used to have a lot of rural and regional hinterland. Now it is based almost exclusively on the Wanneroo area.”

Dr. Drum said the Labor candidate was “very well known and already quite visible in that area”, while the Liberal candidate did not have quite the same profile.

“Where it differs from Swan is that the candidates will be better known…, especially the mayor,” he said.


Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt has held the seat since 2010, which covers 1,323 square kilometers in northeast Perth, and currently has a 5.9 percent margin.

The Labor candidate is Tania Lawrence, who has held senior positions in both the private sector and government and now runs her own small business.

Mr. Bowe noted that Mr. Wyatt was generally popular and had built up contacts in the community over a long period.

“I think Ken Wyatt seems to be a popular member. I think he has a margin that’s probably better than the natural margin on that seat,” Mr. Bowe said.

“So, I think Hasluck will be harder for Labor to win.”

But Bowe also noted that Labor had won the seat before.

“Hasluck is not a super-rich electorate. It’s middle class. It’s the classic fringe chair,’ he said.

“So if the Liberals have a bad election, Labor will win the seat.

“I think the view is that Ken Wyatt will probably win, but he will have to fight for it.”

Dr. Drum said Hasluck was the least likely of the three seats for Labour.

“I think if Labor wins Hasluck, it will be a curtain for the government,” he said.

“There’s been a pretty substantial redistribution across all the seats here in WA, and that has affected Hasluck, but not as much as Pearce.”

Camera icon The Prime Minister joined Ken Wyatt at Sandalford Wines during the election campaign to make a tourism announcement. Jason Edwards Credit: News Corp Australia


Occupying some of Perth’s affluent southern suburbs, this 102 square kilometer seat is currently occupied by the Secretary of State for Public Service and Special Secretary of State Ben Morton by a margin of 9.5 percent.

There are indications that Labor could steal the seat, but Bowe believes it is unlikely that Labor will see such a major turnaround.

“There’s going to be a turnaround to Labor in Tangney,” he said.

“It could be a big swing — it would be pretty amazing if it was 10 percent, and that’s what Labor needs.”

Dr. Drum agreed that it would be extraordinary for Labor to win the seat, but he also believed there would be a turnaround for Labour.

“The question is how far? It’s a huge margin… so it has to be seen as an external opportunity for Labor to win it,” he said.

Malaysian-born former police officer and dolphin trainer Sam Lim is a Labor candidate for Tangney.

The father of three was named Police Officer of the Year in 2020 for his work with multicultural communities during the pandemic.

Mr. Morton is a father of two who was previously the state director of the WA Liberal Party and an adviser to the Howard government.

Camera IconBen Morton holds the seat of Tangney by a margin of 9.5 percent. Credit: News Corp Australia

Other seats that may be up for grabs:

According to a recent poll, Curtin’s blue-striped seat, held by Liberals’ Celia Hammond at a 13.9 percent blow since 2019, could go to independent Kate Chaney.

Ms. Hammond took over the electorate that had been in the hands of former Secretary of State Julie Bishop for almost 21 years.

Ms. Chaney has served as Director of Innovation and Strategy at Anglicare WA and has strong ties to WA’s business and political elites. Her father is Wesfarmers chairman Michael Chaney.

But Labor has its own fringe seats that the Liberals could steal.

The most important is Cowan, owned by Anne Aly since 2016, with a 0.9 percent swing.

Cowan will be contested by Vince Connelly of the Liberals, who held Stirling’s seat before it was abolished in 2019, with parts absorbed by Cowan.

Before winning the seat, Ms. Aly was a professor at Edith Cowan University and an adjunct professor at Curtin University specializing in terrorism studies.

Mr. Connelly began his career in the military and later served on Mrs. Bishop’s staff.


Swan – Liberals hold a margin of 3.2 percent;

Pearce — Liberals have a margin of 5.2 percent;

Hasluck — Liberals have a 5.9 percent margin;

Tangney — Liberals have a margin of 9.5 percent;

Curtin – Liberals have a 13.9 percent margin; and

Cowan – Labor maintains a margin of 0.9 percent.