O’Connor – Australia 2019

LIB 15.0%

Incumbent MP
Rick Wilson, since 2013.

Regional Western Australia. O’Connor is a massive electorate, covering the southern half of Western Australia away from the heavily-populated south-western corner of the state. O’Connor covers the major centres of Kalgoorlie, Albany and Esperance, as well as southern parts of the wheatbelt. The seat stretches as far west as Collie, Bridgetown and Manjimup.

A seat has existed with the name of O’Connor since 1980, but the boundaries were redrawn radically before the 2010 election. The neighbouring seat of Kalgoorlie was abolished, with northern parts of Kalgoorlie and O’Connor going into a new seat of Durack, with O’Connor taking in southern parts of Kalgoorlie.

O’Connor was won in 1980 by the Liberal Party’s Wilson Tuckey.

Tuckey served on the Liberal frontbench from 1984 to 1989 and again from 1993 to 1996. He served as a minister in the Howard government from 1998 to 2003.

Tuckey developed a reputation as a maverick and a member of the Liberal Party’s far right. The ALP never threatened Tuckey’s hold on the seat, but in 2007 he was considered at risk of losing. The Nationals gained a large swing and came within 3% of overtaking the ALP, while Tuckey’s primary vote fell below 50%.

Kalgoorlie had traditionally been dominated by the ALP, but was won by the Liberal Party’s Barry Haase in 1998.

Haase ran for Durack in 2010, while Tuckey again ran for O’Connor.

Tuckey was defeated in a close race by the Nationals candidate, Tony Crook. Crook benefited from Labor and Greens preferences.

After one term, Crook retired in 2013, and Liberal candidate Rick Wilson was elected by a narrow margin over the Nationals candidate. Wilson was re-elected more comfortably in 2016.


  • John Hassell (Nationals)
  • Nelson Blake Gilmour (Greens)
  • Shelley Payne (Labor)
  • Anthony James Fels (United Australia)
  • Rick Wilson (Liberal)
  • Ian t’Hart (Australian Christians)
  • Peter Swift (Western Australia Party)
  • Dean Smith (One Nation)
  • Nicholas Andrew Robinson (Great Australian Party)
  • Assessment
    As a head-to-head Liberal vs Labor contest, this seat is a safe Liberal seat. It is more at risk if the Nationals were to regain ground against Labor and jump into second place, and then benefit from preferences from Labor, the Greens and other parties like One Nation (who could conceivably disrupt the balance between Liberal and Nationals here).

    2016 result

    Rick Wilson Liberal 37,09242.7+4.2
    Jon Ford Labor 18,19020.9+1.4
    John Hassell Nationals 15,93618.3-5.5
    Giz Watson Greens 9,01310.4+3.6
    Trevor YoungAustralian Christians3,4964.0+1.5
    Stephen CarsonRise Up Australia3,2073.7+3.0

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Rick Wilson Liberal 56,54365.0-0.4
    Jon Ford Labor 30,39135.0+0.4

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into five areas, along local government areas. There are a large number of council areas in O’Connor. Booths in the north-east, including Kalgoorlie, have been grouped as Goldfields. Booths in the south-east include Esperance. The ‘Great Southern’ area includes Albany, and makes up over 40% of the election-day ordinary votes. The remainder has been split into Wheatbelt and South West.

    The Liberal Party’s two-party-preferred vote (against Labor) ranged from 52.9% in the south-west to 76.8% in the wheatbelt.

    The National primary vote ranged from 13% in the south-west to 34.9% in the wheatbelt.

    The Greens primary vote ranged from 5.7% in the wheatbelt to 14% in the Great Southern region.

    Voter groupGRN prim %NAT prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Great Southern14.017.265.426,45230.4
    South West10.513.152.98,86610.2
    South East9.417.669.85,3766.2
    Other votes9.918.866.412,14414.0

    Election results in O’Connor at the 2016 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes, Nationals primary votes and Greens primary votes.

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    1. I would suggest the Nationals could do well here, They are running the same guy as last time and have started campaigning now. Combined with the fact that Labor is very unpopular in rural WA, the fact the Liberals are unpopular and the fact that the WA Nationals are an independent party that pushes their independence very hard they could well pull off a surprise win.

    2. Yep I would agree with that assessment, If Nationals are giving this seat a real go they should be competitive. I am not sure there are many Labor/Green voters that will swing here, they are already coming off a pretty low vote in Albany.

      I was surprised the Nationals performed so badly at last election, I wonder if John Hassell a good fit, Rick Wilson appears to be delivering seriously strong votes in the historically National areas of the Wheatbelt. Maybe a candidate from Esperance, Kalgoorlie or Albany would perform better?

      If One Nation and/or SFF run it could become a complex preference count, possibly up to 5 parties getting above 10%.

    3. National’s gain if They come 2nd, If the Liberal get’s 45-49% of the primary vote he loses, because every single other party will preference against him, Same with Durrack even though its safer than this one

    4. The National Party lost the last of their WA house of reps seats in 1974.

      If the voters in WA haven’t found a reason to vote for a federal National Party candidate in last 45 years, why would they change in 2019?

    5. Because the party is toxic, They are expected to get their worst result ever, worse than 1983, maybe somthing like 1943

    6. @Watson: The Nationals won this very seat in 2010? So they certainly can and will vote for Nationals candidate here if they’re good enough.

    7. @mickquinlivan

      Yes Collie should ideally be in whichever federal seat Bunbury is in, however WA is so sparsely populated outside Perth and Southwest WA that it forces these sorts of anomalies that don’t meet the communities of interest test. WA will almost certainly lose a seat at the next federal redistribution so maybe that will see Collie redistributed into the seat of Forrest.

      Nats should win here at the next election if they can get ahead of Labor at the final distribution of preferences, but thats very uncertain in an election where Labor will most likely increase their share of first preferences.


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