Senate – Western Australia – Australia 2013

Incumbent Senators

Term expires 2014 Term expires 2017
Mark Bishop (ALP) Chris Back (LIB)
Michaelia Cash (LIB) Mathias Cormann (LIB)
Alan Eggleston (LIB) Chris Evans (ALP)
David Johnston (LIB) Rachel Siewert (GRN)
Scott Ludlam (GRN) Dean Smith (LIB)1
Louise Pratt (ALP) Glenn Sterle (ALP)

1Dean Smith replaced Judith Adams on 2 May 2012 after Senator Adams’ death in March.

History
Western Australian Senate races were dominated by the Coalition from 1951 until the beginning of the 1980s. The 1951 election produced a result of four ALP senators, four Liberal senators and two Country Party senators.  The 1953 election saw the ALP win a seat off the Country Party, but the previous result was restored in 1955. The 4-4-2 result was maintained at every election throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The 1970 Senate election saw the Liberal Party lose one of its four seats to independent Syd Negus, who was elected on a platform of abolishing death duties.

The 1974 double dissolution saw Negus defeated and the Country Party lose one of its two seats. The result saw five Labor senators alongside four Liberals and one Country senator. The 1975 double dissolution saw the Coalition regain its majority in Western Australia, with the ALP losing its fifth senate seat to the Liberals. The 1977 election saw the National Country Party lose its senate seat to the Liberals, producing a result of six Liberals and four Labor senators.

The 1983 double dissolution saw the Liberals lose their majority, with five Liberals, four Labor and one Democrat elected. The 1984 election saw Labor gain both new Senate seats while the Democrats lost their seat. In addition to 6 ALP and 5 Liberal, the Nuclear Disarmament Party’s Jo Vallentine was elected. At the 1987 double dissolution, Vallentine was re-elected as an independent along with a Democrat and five each for the two major parties.

The 1990 election saw the Liberals win six seats, along with five Labor and the re-elected Vallentine, who was re-elected as a Green. The Liberals have maintained six WA seats ever since. The 1993 election saw the Greens win a second seat off the ALP. From 1993 until today, WA has been represented by six Liberals, four Labor senators and two minor party Senators from the Greens or Democrats.

In 1996, the Greens lost one of their seats to the Democrats, losing their other seat in 1998. The Democrats held onto their seat in 2001 before losing one of their seats in 2004. The last Democrat was defeated by the Greens candidate in 2007.

The 2010 election was a status quo result. It was the third election in a row which saw three Liberals, two Labor and one Green elected.

Number of WA Senators from each party after each Senate election, 1951-2010. Click to view interactive chart.

Number of WA Senators from each party after each Senate election, 1951-2010. Click to view interactive chart.

2010 result

Group Votes % Swing Quota
Liberal 530,583 42.99 -3.23 3.0092
Labor 366,580 29.70 -6.30 2.0791
The Greens 172,327 13.96 +4.66 0.9774
The Nationals 42,334 3.43 +1.99 0.2401
Australian Sex Party 27,795 2.25 +2.25 0.1576
Christian Democratic Party 22,206 1.80 +0.04 0.1259
Liberal Democrats 14,517 1.18 +1.13 0.0823
Family First 14,254 1.15 +0.29 0.0808
Others 43,623 3.52 0.2475

The Liberal Party won three seats and Labor won two on primary votes. The Greens were very close to winning the sixth seat on primary votes.

After the elimination of minor candidates, the count prior to the Greens passing quota was the following:

  • Siewert (GRN) – 0.9940
  • Young (CDP) – 0.2663
  • McCourt (NAT) – 0.2509
  • Martin (SXP) – 0.1917
  • Rose (FF) – 0.1171
  • Walmsley (LDP) – 0.0939
  • Perdon (ALP) – 0.0848

The elimination of the third Labor candidate pushed the Greens over a quota:

  • Siewert (GRN) – 1.0703
  • Young (CDP) – 0.2669
  • McCourt (NAT) – 0.2557
  • Martin (SXP) – 0.1932
  • Rose (FF) – 0.1180
  • Walmsley (LDP) – 0.0947

The count finished at this point, but I’ve estimated that if it was to continue until you reach the final two candidates, the Nationals would have taken the lead over the CDP, and would have reached approximately three quarters of a quota, with the Greens on 1.25 quotas.

Candidates
The Liberal Party is running:

  1. David Johnston
  2. Michaelia Cash
  3. Linda Reynolds
  4. Slade Brockman

The ALP is running:

  1. Joe Bullock
  2. Louise Pratt
  3. Peter Foster

The Greens are running sitting Senator Scott Ludlam as their lead candidate. The Nationals are running former AFL player David Wirrpanda. Patricia Petersen’s Australian Independents party is running Patricia Irving. Family First are running Linda Rose. The Stable Population Party is running Peter Strachan. The Australian Christians are running Jamie van Burgel. The Palmer United Party is running Chamonix Terblanche. The Wikileaks Party is running Gerry Georgatos. The Animal Justice Party is running Katrina Love. The Socialist Equality Party is running Peter Symonds. The Secular Party is running Simon Cuthbert.

Assessment
After preferences, the ‘left’ (Labor and Greens) reached 3.25 quotas, and the ‘right’ (Liberal and National) reached 3.75 quotas. A swing of less than 4% to the right would see a ‘left’ seat lost to the ‘right’ (likely going to the WA Nationals, but possibly to a minor right-wing party).

On 2010 figures, it is conceivable that either Labor or the Greens could lose a seat. If the swing against Labor is bigger than the swing against the Greens (easily within the current realm of possibilities on current polling), it’s possible that Scott Ludlam could stay ahead of the second Labor candidate, and Labor would be reduced to a single seat.