Curtin – Australia 2019

LIB 20.7%

Incumbent MP
Julie Bishop, since 1998.

Western Perth.  Curtin covers those suburbs between the northern shore of the Swan River and the Indian Ocean, stretching east to Subiaco and Leederville. Curtin stretches as far north as Doubleview and Joondanna. Key suburbs include Churchlands, Leederville, Wembley, Jolimont, Subiaco, Kings Park, Nedlands, Claremont, Swanbourne, Mount Claremont, Karrakatta, Floreat, Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove and Mosman Park.

Curtin was created as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives at the 1949 election. It has been won by the Liberal Party at all but one election, having been won by an independent former Liberal MP in 1996.

It was first won in 1949 by Paul Hasluck. He was appointed as Minister for Territories in 1951, and served in ministerial roles for the next eighteen years, eventually becoming Minister for External Affairs. In 1969 he left Parliament when appointed as Governor-General, a role he served in until 1974.

The 1969 Curtin by-election was won by Victor Garland. He joined the ministry under Billy McMahon in 1971, serving until the 1972 election. He then served as a minister in the Fraser government from 1975 to 1976 and again from 1977 until the 1980 election. In 1981 he resigned from Parliament to serve as Australia’s High Commissioner in London.

The 1981 Curtin by-election was won by Liberal candidate Allan Rocher. Rocher had been a Senator since 1977, resigning to run for the by-election. Rocher briefly served as a shadow minister in the early 1990s, but in 1996 was defeated for preselection by Ken Court, son of former Premier Charles Court, and brother of the then-Premier Richard Court. The Court government won re-election shortly before the 1996 federal election, but was engulfed in scandals involving his brother, and Rocher, running as an independent, managed to defeat Court in Curtin, winning re-election as an independent.

Rocher lost Curtin in 1998 to Liberal candidate Julie Bishop. Bishop was appointed Minister for Ageing in the Howard government in 2003, and in 2006 was promoted to cabinet as Minister for Education.

After the defeat of the Howard government in 2007, Bishop was elected as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. Bishop served as deputy leader for the next eleven years, including as Foreign Minister from 2013. She stepped down as deputy leader and from the ministry when Malcolm Turnbull was removed as prime minister in 2018.

Sitting Liberal MP Julie Bishop is not running for re-election.

Curtin is a very safe Liberal seat.

2016 result

Julie Bishop Liberal 56,17565.5+3.0
Melissa Callanan Labor 13,47615.7-2.0
Viv Glance Greens 12,18014.2-0.6
Sandra BoulterIndependent2,3892.8+2.8
David ArchibaldLiberty Alliance1,5441.8+1.8

2016 two-party-preferred result

Julie Bishop Liberal 60,63170.7+2.5
Melissa Callanan Labor 25,13329.3-2.5

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three parts: central, north and south.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 67.2% in the centre to 78% in the south.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranged from 11.4% in the south to 17.6% in the centre.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes14.070.515,15617.7

Election results in Curtin at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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  1. Yes, Daniel, having deep pockets would be a distinct campaigning advantage but it can all count for naught if she proves herself likely to place both feet firmly inside her mouth every time she opens it in public !!

    I agree that many of the necessary ingredients are present in Curtin for a potential IND gain but as yet we’ve yet to identify a truly viable contender. They may or may not eventuate.

  2. I think Louise Stewart is starting a bit late to win here, but I believe (and hope) that she’ll do reasonably well.

    What needs to happen here for it to even be close is for Stewart to get about 20% primary, and pretty much all of it from the Liberals. That’s a big ask.

  3. Curtin will likely be a Liberal retain but voter dissatisfaction in the Liberal Party & their choice of a conservative instead a traditional small ‘l’ liberal candidate (as a replacement for a very high profile small ‘l’ liberal MP) makes this contest way more interesting than usual.

    Louise Stewart isn’t high profile enough, she is could win strong support in Dalkeith, Swanbourne and Cottesloe (booths with extremely high Liberal margins).

    In booths like Nedlands, Subiaco, West Leederville & Shenton Park, The Greens could pick off votes from the small ‘l’ liberal type of Liberal voters who are attracted to the Greens on environmental & refugee issues. There a decent amount of Liberal voters voted for Julie Bishop in HOR and voted Greens in Senate.

    This could be a seat where Greens or an independent enter TPP.

  4. Interestingly Labor have selected former member for Fremantle Mellisa Parke as their candidate in Curtin. Labor believes the Liberal chosen canidate is socially too far to the right for this seat. Labor is realistic enough to know they won’t likely win the seat but believe they can reduce the margin and divert Liberal resources from other seats with Parke as their candidate it was reported.

  5. Yes, the switch to Melissa Park is smart, I think she’ll still come third on primary votes and as long as she is knocked out in third (assuming Green preferences don’t help her leapfrog Stewart into second) then she could help Stewart come close.

    Still think Hammond will win.

  6. By switching to a high profile candidate Labor will be more likely to finish third in Curtin. Before this they were running dead and would’ve finished fourth (behind Hammond [LIB], Stewart [IND], and Pidgeon [GRN].

    The result in Curtin will come down to preferences i suspect the Liberal primary will drop to 45% thus i think at this state they will still win but Stewart will come close.

  7. Another “Chinese curse” for BS ??.

    i have a very strong feeling that this seat will look very different in 2 years time. WA are certain to lose a seat to NSW on the next assessment. I’M GUESSING around a quarter of Perth added.

  8. I think Melissa Parke joining the race potentially helps Celia Hammond here. Greens will preference Parke and she will probably prevent Louise Stewart from finishing 2nd.

    WD, I doubt the seat will look very different after the redistribution, it will probably look similar to what it looked like in 2013. which is just adding mt hawthorn, leederville and west perth. Will only shift the margin a few points away from liberals but would potentially make the greens more likely to finish 2nd.

  9. I think Labor’s move to preselect Melissa Parke, who is a social progressive will further highlight Celia Hammond’s unsuitablity for a seat like Curtin and contribute to a larger non-Liberal vote there. It does seem quite strange though for Parke as a former MP to stand in what is close to the most anti Labor metropolitan seat in Australia.

    Labor is virtually no chance of winning Curtin, the only way I see Curtin being lost to the Liberal Party is if an independent polls well enough to make the final 2PP count where the Liberal primary drops below 45% and Labor and Green preferences would then flow overwhelmingly to the independent. I don’t think Louise Stewart is sufficiently well known to even come close. If there is a reasonable chance of an independent winning Labor’s apparent decision to not run dead will probably not assist this.

    By preselecting Parke I think Labor will finish a clear but distant second but with a less favourable preference flow that will still not leave them close to winning. It may garner a few additional senate votes and electoral funding as well as maybe test the level of support for the Liberals after the retirement of a high profile member.

    In regards to a the next redistribution and loss of a WA seat – I don’t think it will have much of an effect on Curtin aside from some changes on the margins. I suspect the greatest changes in boundaries will be seen in the urban-rural hybrid seats of Pearce, Hasluck and Canning and their adjoining seats.

  10. Huge
    Look you may be right. However how can Curtin look anything like it did, with an enrolment of 106000 + ? . That simply seems impossible, everything is going to have to move so much. Which seat will be abolished ?

    What ami missing ? I’d have thought Parke would represent a threat to Hammond?

  11. Winediamond
    Who knows what the AEC will decide, perhaps Burt will be abolished since it was the 16th, and last seat added.

    It’s only a matter of adding 7000 voters. Huge’s suggestion would account for the additional quota required for Curtin which is not drastically under quota.

    Having grown up in the uber safe section of the seat I’d say it’s a well-off electorate whose residents live within their own clique and consequently often have an ignorance and disdain of the lives of the less fortunate. Labor can’t be a threat in such a seat regardless of the candidate.

  12. Malcolm
    I doubt Burt will go, as that presumably would create the maximum movement. I don’t have the expertise of Mulcair, Walsh etc so it’s an assumption.

    Should have questioned “indirect” threat ?

  13. this seat is so safe for the liberals that they would retain it no matter what
    the area includes millionaire road Perth…… even a 10% swing leaves 10% margin……..

  14. It is unfortunate that a good candidate like Labors Mellissa Parke has ceased to be a candidate because she embarrassed the Israel lobby and my current Melbourne Ports MHR Michael Danby.

    Retiring Mr Danby was a 20 year ALP backbench failure and who the left in Macnamara called “The Member for Israel”. Danby has said many inflammatory and stupid things but he is never challenged by the ALP’s faceless men. Sticking up for oppressed Palestine is a concern for the jackboot right of both Labor and the Liberals.

    The Lobby is claimed to be powerful but in reality they are only very vocal. For a population of only 80,000 here in Australia they are a political non entity and they generally vote Labor or Liberal depending what party is standing Hebrew candidates.

  15. Adrian
    Highest intermarriage rate in the world 35%+ . How long before they are gone ?? . Next highest is USA 13%.

  16. Seat poll (insert usual caveat of unreliability of seat polls) showing Curtin “hanging by a thread”, Libs primary vote has dropped by almost 20 pts, from over 60% of first prefs with Bishop, down to low 40s.

    Stewart polling mid 20s, but on these figures would get over the line if she gets strong prefs from Lab/Greens.

  17. The polling was bought by Louise Stewart’s campaign is designed to capture a headline and some momentum for her campaign so I’m uncertain about its veracity, although it seems to have got its desired effect.

    The combination of a departing popular local MP, an unrepresentative new candidate and the poor standing of the federal Liberals in Curtin make the seat vulnerable to a half-decent independent. The advertising the Liberals are buying in Curtin suggests they don’t think they’re in an unassailable position either.

    If it is true that Celia Hammond’s vote is in the low 40’s then I think she will find it very difficult to win from that position where Stewart finishes second. I’d expect Labor, Greens and other preferences to flow overwhelmingly (80%+) to the independent.

  18. Louise Stewart isn’t getting the kind of coverage that other independents running in safe Liberal seats are getting. She is a lot more conservative than them and she is neither up against an unpopular local member (Zali Steggall), or a protest vote for the untoward removal of a popular one (Phelps), or a protest vote on a major local issue (Mack). I’m getting a lot more of a “Liberal passed over for preselection” vibe from her than anything else (like Grant Schultz, or in WA Dennis Jensen from the election prior).

    She even calls herself an “independent Liberal” on her website – similar branding to Paul Collins and Jim Grayden in the Perth byelection. They didn’t get much support, even without a Liberal branded Liberal running.

    At any rate I don’t trust that poll released by her campaign and expect the Liberal branded Liberal to retain. I even see a good chance Stewart polling worse than Labor and the Greens. If she preferences Greens above Liberals (I don’t think she’ll support Labor), interesting things can happen,

  19. I am not sure that national coverage is super helpful for independents, and there are cases where independents have won after a poor preselection of candidates. I would be interested in seeing the details of the polling. I am surprised the greens are preferencing her over labor, it’s unusual for them to tactically preference the centrist candidate and could make a difference.

    Louise Stewart definitely appears to be throwing some money at getting elected, a campaign office and commissioning polls is not really something you do if you are not serious about winning.

  20. There is a history in WA of ‘independent Liberals’ winning safe seats however at state level & in 1996 Libs lost her to an independent in Rocher.

  21. winediamond – If they did not marry outside their small Australian Hebrew community in 100 years they would be a race of inbreeds. Australia’s Hebrews go to the USA and other countries looking for a bride who is not a distant or close relative too.

  22. Adrian
    That’s news to me. I have literally never come across it. Then again the Jewish community in Melbourne IS VERY different to everywhere else. For the record my mum is a ‘Chiksa”. As a teenager i could usually get her to take a swing at me with the words “You’re just a (ffling) chiksa”!!. I wasn’t a very nice son as a teenager.
    The old man heard me once incautiously saying something equally offensive, & i received an experience of unassisted flight, 4 metres across the kitchen, without losing 1 mm of altitude !!. I was more careful subsequently !!.

  23. I’ve seen reports that that 50-50 2PP poll is a complete furphy, with Reachtel saying they have no record of it in their system.

    Probably the most bizarre thing of the campaign so far for me, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a candidate just make up a poll for themselves.

  24. Well this is very interesting. The poll has definitely been faked, but not sure who exactly has done the faking.

    Stewart says she was given the results by a third party called “Independents Inc.” which claimed to be connected with Alex Turnbull and believed the numbers on face value. Turnbull has indeed been helping out independents going up against Libs (see Flinders for details).

    However, Turnbull says he’s never heard of this group and is being smeared – someone is impersonating him and spreading a fake poll to try and delegitimise him.

    Campaign’s getting dirty.

  25. It has been revealed that the Liberals Mathias Cormann is behind the dirty smear campaign for Louise Stewart. This will backfire spectacularly for the Liberal Party. If anything is gonna make the libs lose Curtin it is them trying to destroy their biggest competitor.

  26. Source? That’s not what I’ve read. It’s merely what Stewart has been claimed.

    I think it takes extraordinary arrogance to turn around a lie and blame it on your opponents. If what Stewart said was true, why doesn’t she release the original email? Occams Razor – the simplest answer is usually the right one.

    People give pollies too much credit; they’re not good (despite what they may think) at playing a game of ultra 4D chess.

  27. W oF S
    Yep. Just silly stuff. Cormann is way smarter that that. What could be his interest, let alone motivation ?

  28. Yeah agreed I’m not a huge fan of Cormann, but I seriously doubt he’s going around making up poll numbers and giving them to independents. What the hell does he gain doing that?

    I don’t think Stewart made it up herself either, that just seems extraordinary. If it is true someone else lied and gave her the false poll results, than she still looks like an idiot for just reporting it without checking with reachtel first

  29. Cormann isn’t smart enough to count to 45, or see the implications of voting b fur “It’s ok to be white”. It isn’t beyond him to make major tactical errors


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