Cowan – Australia 2019

ALP 0.7%

Incumbent MP
Anne Aly, since 2016.

Cowan covers parts of the northern suburbs of Perth. These include the suburbs of Ballajura, Marangaroo, Girrawheen, Greenwood, Wanneroo, Beechboro and Bennett Springs.

The seat was first created in 1984, and was first won by Carolyn Jakobsen of the ALP. Jakobsen held the seat until she was defeated by Richard Evans of the Liberal Party in 1993.

Evans was himself defeated in 1998 by wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran and former state minister Graham Edwards, standing for the ALP. Edwards was a popular local member and held the seat until he retired at the 2007 election. The Liberals took the opportunity to win the seat off the ALP. Cowan was one of only two seats the Liberals gained in 2007.

The Liberal Party’s Luke Simpkins won the seat in 2007 after running for the first time in 2004, and was re-elected twice in 2010 and 2013, increasing his margin every time. Simpkins built up a substantial margin over nine years, but the redistribution before the 2016 election sliced his margin by 3%, and a further 5.2% swing to Labor saw him lose to Labor candidate Anne Aly.


  • Mark Cooper (Greens)
  • Anne Aly (Labor)
  • Peter Westcott (United Australia)
  • Andre Lebrasse (Australian Christians)
  • Sheila Mundy (One Nation)
  • Paul James Bedford (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)
  • Isaac Stewart (Liberal)
  • Assessment
    Cowan is a very marginal seat. Aly will hope to benefit from a new personal vote which may give her a boost, but the seat is still definitely in play.

    2016 result

    Luke Simpkins Liberal 34,40542.2-4.4
    Anne Aly Labor 33,96641.7+6.9
    Sheridan Young Greens 6,1937.6-0.2
    Rex HostAustralian Christians2,6803.3+0.9
    Jamie ChesterShooters, Fishers and Farmers2,2882.8+2.8
    Neil HamiltonLiberal Democrats1,0961.3+1.3
    Steve VenessMature Australia8681.1+1.1

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Anne Aly Labor 41,30150.7+5.2
    Luke Simpkins Liberal 40,19549.3-5.2

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into three areas. Polling places in Swan council area have been grouped as south-east. Polling places in Wanneroo council area have been split between north-west and south-west, with south-west also including those in Joondalup council area.

    The ALP won a slim 50.1% majority of the two-party-preferred vote in the south-west, and a large 59.2% majority in the south-east. The Liberal Party polled 53.1% in the north-west.

    Voter groupALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Other votes48.612,37115.2

    Two-party-preferred votes in Cowan at the 2016 federal election

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    1. You’d expect urban fringe seats such as Cowan to see the largest swings against the government at the next election and it should be easily retained by Labor.

    2. My seat – Looking at the booths, it appears Simpkins didn’t get much of a swing against him in the Liberal-leaning/swing areas of the seat, and Aly won by increasing her margin in the Labor areas/winning back some (for example, Alexander Heights/Ballajura, where the red 51s are).

      I’d expect a Labor margin here of 5-6% when all is said and done come the election.

    3. Ann Aly is one of those people that you think is about to break into song. “Always look on the bright side of life” !!. I mistrust such unshakeable optimism. It can all too easily be manipulated. She says she has 4 degrees, & a PHD. if she is so bright, why isn’t she a shadow minister ?

    4. Anton
      i think you might be right on the money with your prediction. Aly is so spectacularly inoffensive she will probably do very well.

    5. “if she is so bright, why isn’t she a shadow minister ?”

      Because she has been in parliament for less than 2 years?

      I think she’s also a member of the Labor Left which I’d bet is generally less likely to see fast ascent up the parliamentary ranks (compared to Labor Right).

    6. Obviously Aly is still a backbencher because she holds a super marginal seat and is a first term MP.

      If WD wants to ask those questions he could always hold up a mirror to his party and ask when Leeser and Wilson are going to replace some of the deadwood in cabinet? Are they not smart enough to be ministers?

    7. PJ
      Think you are labouring under some misapprehensions .If i have a party it would be the Liberal Democrats. However i don’t vote for politicians, i vote against them.If anyone actually believes in either of the majors, they are insane.

    8. If the swing to Labor in Western Australia iis going to fairly large as predicted, Cowan will turn into a fairly safe Labor seat.

    9. Bennee
      I thought Aly was not in any faction – if I remember correctly, she said she was very surprised when the ALP approached her to be their candidate, which would seem to indicate that she doesn’t involve herself much in Labor’s factional games.

      Although your point stands that she’d be less likely to climb up the parliamentary ranks.

    10. Anne Aly joined the Labor Left faction, I agree with others a first term mp on a margin of 0.7% is not likely to be in the cabinet.

      Seat should swing strongly towards Labor, areas which voted liberal last election all voted labor at the state election, luke simpkins only got close last election because he was a strong incumbent.

    11. Isaac Steward, new candidate challenging Aly, is nice young Aussie block, we need people like him in politics.
      I am 75 year old WOG and I think I will vote for him.

    12. Apparently the Liberals think they can win this one back? It’s been listed as a key seat on the ABC.

      Despite being on a small margin that looks monumentally difficult.

      If state results are replicated, this seat has a 15.2% Labor margin – that’s larger than Bill Shorten’s in Maribyrnong at the 2016 election. To put it another way, more than 12,000 people who voted for Labor in the state election would need to vote Liberal this time.

      That can happen (after all, those 12,000 people voted Liberal in 2016 and state Labor in 2017), but the Liberal brand in WA has taken a hit due to the fall of Julie Bishop. I can’t see it being in better shape than before. In terms of resources the WA Liberals are depleted from their state election defeat, and are more likely to be spending resources sandbagging Hasluck, Pearce, Swan and Stirling than trying to win here.

      Then you have Anne Aly, a first term MP who by all accounts seems to have done a fine job; no scandals, no social media about her being useless, can’t find anything bad at all.

      Betting markets seem to largely agree, with 1.18 odds for Aly retaining.

    13. If there is a big swing then most likely result is a clutch of marginal seats will be lost…….. Stirling on 6% is maybe the only possible retain

    14. John the Liberal brand in WA didn’t just take a hit it is absolutely trashed. Julie Bishop was extremely popular in WA, she campaigned only in WA at the last federal election. The loss of her and the newfound unpopularity of Mathias Cotman (now very unpopular due to role in coup against Turnbull) the WA liberals no longer have a popular leader and that is hurting their campaign. There is no way the Liberals will gain Cowan or any other seat. I suspect WA will be the suprise of the night and possibly 6 or 7 seats could fall. Remembering of course that on state figures Curtin would be the only liberal seat in WA.

    15. John
      Good arguments, & well made. I’d like to know why you think that Aly has done a fine job. From my perspective she has consistently failed to be outspoken, & forceful, in spite of immense opportunity.

    16. I think you’re putting too much value in state results John. People can and do differentiate between state and federal elections. I’m sure the difference between the Penrith by-election in June 2010 and Lindsay in August 2010 were eye-popping.

      Nevertheless, obviously this will be a Labor hold. Probably on a huge blowout margin too.

    17. This is one of the most volatile seats. Luke Simkins was one of the most impressive MP’S I’ve observed. Really handled himself well. So his personal vote will now disappear. I’m sceptical of Aly’s ability to double up her sophomore surge, but we will see. Really could be anything

    18. I think the Liberal party are talking Cowan up as a possible gain to boost party morale in the state campaign overall rather than with any real expectation of winning.

    19. Unlike a few others, I’m not convinced that disaster is coming for the Libs in WA. I think that there are really only 3 seats at serious risk, Pearce, Swan and Hasluck. Outside chances for Labor in Stirling and Canning but I’d be astonished to see the Libs lose either seat.

      People are talking about the ‘Liberal Brand’ being trashed. While this may be true at the state level, I’m skeptical of this being the case at the federal level. Obviously I could be way off the mark considering Newspoll is still showing a significant swing, but I just don’t think it’ll eventuate come election day. If you recall at various points during the last election campaign in WA, the statewide swing was around 8%. The swing on polling day was well under half that.

    20. Wreathy – I know state elections aren’t exactly the same, but they aren’t completely meaningless data either. I don’t think there’s a huge culture of people liking state Labor and despising federal Labor, and vice versa.

      WA Voter – on state figures Liberals would retain O’Connor, Durack, Curtin, Tangney and Moore. Moore could flip if Labor ran a serious campaign leveraging the first term state MPs across the seat, but it would be quite a stretch. Durack and O’Connor are vulnerable to WA Nats but probably not this election. Curtin is safe unless the “Independent Liberal” gets some real traction. Tangney is safe.

      State figures also had Labor picking up Forrest (very unlikely), Canning (possible but not seeing evidence of a huge campaign there) and Stirling (a real possibility with Keenan gone).

    21. This should be a labor retain, probably on a 3-5% margin. Aly is an impressive candidate who carries herself very well IMO. If the libs are worried about seats like Pearce and Stirling, I can’t see Aly losing with an expected sophomore surge

      I agree Malcolm, feel like this seat and Macquarie are 2 examples of seats Morrison and the libs are talking up only to make it seem like they have some path to victory.

    22. Agreed, this seat will swing sharply to Labor. The previous Lib member was well regarded the loss of his personal vote plus the overall swing and Aly’s new personal vote means this should become fairly safe ALP. I’d expect 57-58% 2PP.

    23. My seat – I expect Labor to hold and win most booths, but the Liberals have been putting in a decent campaign here, and have done so for quite some time.

      Isaac Stewart should definitely seek preselection for the 2021 state election – I’ve been impressed with his campaign, and he’d make a fine member.

      As for incumbent Anne Aly, I may disagree with her on a lot, but I’ll always remember her as one of my university tutors from way back in 2010 – and fondly too (even if she thought I was bonkers when I admitted I loved Tony Abbott’s book)

    24. Interesting Cowan is the only seat in Western Australia not to have a candidate from the WESTERN AUSTRALIA PARTY. Interesting what impact this will have on the final result.

    25. I agree AK

      I’ve seen social media posts of the Liberal candidate with big (and probably expensive) electronic displays all over the electorate. This suggests that the Libs haven’t given up completely. They must be buoyed by the poll that had them only down at 49%.

      Nevertheless, I still think Labor will win. By an appreciable margin too.

    26. I am so frustrated at 60+ years of age. I definitely now believe time to CHANGE THE RULES. No not union speak but to 1st Past the Post and dump preferences. Also vote for Prime Minister not let party select. If preferential party votes continue make it compulsory for all parties to advise where their preferences are going to on all advertising material and websites.

    27. winediamond April 20, 2018 at 9:19 am
      Ann Aly is one of those people that you think is about to break into song. “Always look on the bright side of life” !!. I mistrust such unshakeable optimism. It can all too easily be manipulated. She says she has 4 degrees, & a PHD. if she is so bright, why isn’t she a shadow minister ?

      Yes I agree with your comments. Voters should be careful! Can she be trusted?

    28. Within a day the swing as gone from +0.1% to the ALP to about +0.2 to the Libs with under 80% counted as per the ABC.

      Seems as if it could come to a few hundred, if even a few dozen, votes, though I think Aly is still the favourite.


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