Perth – Australia 2019

ALP 3.3%

Incumbent MP
Patrick Gorman, since 2018.

Central and northeastern Perth. The seat covers the Perth CBD, which is in the southwestern corner of the seat. Perth runs along the northern shore of the Swan river, to the east of the Perth CBD. Other suburbs include Maylands, Mount Lawley, Bayswater, Ashfield, Bedford, Morley and Mount Hawthorn.

Perth is an original federation seat. It was dominated by conservative parties until the 1940s, and became a marginal seat until the early 1980s. It has been held by the ALP ever since 1983.

Perth was first won in 1901 by the ALP’s James Fowler. Fowler was a fierce opponent of Billy Hughes within the party, and he switched to the new Liberal Party in 1909. He joined the new Nationalist Party in 1916, but his conflict with Hughes made this difficult. He lost Nationalist endorsement before the 1922 election, and lost Perth.

Nationalist candidate Edward Mann won Perth in 1922. He was re-elected in 1925 and 1928, but in 1929 was one of a number of Nationalist MPs led by Billy Hughes to rebel against the Bruce government and lead to the government’s downfall. Mann lost Perth as an independent in 1929.

Perth was won in 1929 by Nationalist candidate Walter Nairn. Nairn became a United Australia Party member in 1931, and held the seat for the next decade. He served as Speaker from 1940 to 1943, and retired at the 1943 election.

The ALP’s Tom Burke won Perth in 1943. He held the seat for the next twelve years, until 1955, when he lost Perth to the Liberal Party’s Fred Chaney. Burke was expelled from the ALP in 1957, although he later rejoined the party. His sons Terry Burke and Brian Burke were both later elected to the Western Australian state parliament, and Brian went on to become Premier.

Chaney held Perth for the next fourteen years. He served in Robert Menzies’ ministry from 1964 to 1966, but was dropped from the frontbench when Harold Holt became Prime Minister in 1966. He lost Perth in 1969. He went on to serve as Administrator of the Northern Territory and Lord Mayor of Perth.

Perth was won in 1969 by the ALP’s Joe Berinson. He was re-elected in 1972 and 1974, and in July 1975 was appointed Minister for the Environment in the Whitlam government. He lost his seat at the 1975 election. He went on to serve in the Western Australian state parliament and as a minister in a number of state Labor governments.

The Liberal Party’s Ross McLean won Perth in 1975, and held the seat as a backbencher for the entirety of the Fraser government, losing the seat in 1983.

Perth was won in 1983 by the ALP’s Ric Charlesworth. Charlesworth had been caption of the Australian men’s field hockey team, and represented Australia at five Olympics in the 1970s and 1980s. He captained the team at two Olympics while he held the seat of Perth. Charlesworth also played Sheffield Shield cricket for Western Australia in the 1970s.

Charlesworth held Perth for ten years, retiring in 1993 at the age of 41. He was replaced by Stephen Smith, former Keating advisor and State Secretary of the ALP in WA.

Smith was promoted to the Labor frontbench after the 1996 election, and served as a shadow minister in a variety of portfolios until 2007. Smith served as Foreign Minister in the first term of the last Labor government, and as Defence Minister in the second term, before retiring at the 2013 federal election.

In 2013, Perth was won by Labor’s Alannah MacTiernan. MacTiernan had been a state MP from 1993 to 2010, and a minister in the Gallop/Carpenter state Labor government. She had resigned from state Parliament in 2010 to unsuccessfully contest the federal seat of Canning. After that loss, she had served as Mayor of Vincent from 2011 until her election to federal Parliament in 2013.

MacTiernan retired in 2016, and was succeeded by Labor’s Tim Hammond.

Hammond held the seat for less than two years before quitting in early 2018. The subsequent by-election was won by Labor’s Patrick Gorman.


  • Jane Boxall (Western Australia Party)
  • Patrick Gorman (Labor)
  • Jim Grayden (Liberal)
  • Gary Davies (Science)
  • Chas Hopkins (United Australia)
  • Caroline Perks (Greens)
  • Mel Lownds (One Nation)
  • Curtis Greening (Flux)
  • Assessment
    Perth remains a marginal seat but the lack of Liberal interest in the by-election suggests Labor should hold on in 2019.

    2016 result

    Jeremy Quinn Liberal 35,38142.3+0.2
    Tim Hammond Labor 31,24837.4-1.0
    Tim Clifford Greens 14,27217.1+5.1
    Mark Robert WalmsleyLiberal Democrats1,4301.7+1.7
    Andrew David ChambersOnline Direct Democracy1,3001.6+1.6

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    Tim Hammond Labor 44,60253.3+1.2
    Jeremy Quinn Liberal 39,02946.7-1.2

    2018 by-election result

    Patrick Gorman Labor 22,81239.3+2.0
    Caroline Perks Greens 10,90818.8+1.7
    Paul CollinsIndependent5,5169.5+9.5
    Wesley Du PreezLiberal Democrats3,8806.7+5.0
    Julie MathesonIndependent3,1235.4+5.4
    Jim GraydenIndependent2,5654.4+4.4
    Nicole ArielliAnimal Justice1,8153.1+3.1
    Ian BritzaIndependent1,7052.9+2.9
    Ellen JoubertAustralian Christians1,4742.5+2.5
    A HammondScience1,0021.7+1.7
    Ben MullingsMental Health Party9301.6+1.6
    Colin ScottSustainable Australia7741.3+1.3
    Tony RobinsonLiberty Alliance6821.2+1.2
    Barry MasonCitizens Electoral Council5961.0+1.0
    Gabriel HarfouchePeople’s Party2220.4+0.4

    2018 by-election two-candidate-preferred result

    Patrick Gorman Labor 36,60163.1
    Caroline Perks Greens 21,40336.9

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into three parts:

    • Central – Bayswater, Inglewood and Maylands
    • North-East – Bassendean, Morley and Noranda
    • West – Mount Hawthorn, Mount Lawley, North Perth, Perth, West Perth

    Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas at the general election, ranging from 50.9% in the west to 57.8% in the centre. The Greens primary vote was 12% in the north-east and around 19.5% in the other two areas.

    Labor won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote (against the Greens) in all three areas at the 2018 by-election, ranging from 57.8% in the west to 68.4% in the north-east.

    2016 booth breakdown

    Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Other votes17.351.413,98516.7

    2018 by-election booth breakdown

    Voter groupALP 2CP %Total votes% of votes
    Other votes66.15,5939.6

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

    Two-candidate-preferred votes (Labor vs Greens) in Perth at the 2016 federal election

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    1. Greens actually had every chance of winning the byelection, looking at Gorman’s low primary vote, but they didn’t treat it like a winnable seat and failed to pick up the assorted minor party preferences.

      Easy Labor retain unless Gorman turns out to be a terrible MP. Liberals have zero chance.

    2. I think the byelection results here (and also in Fremantle) would have been affected by the many more candidates that ran (15 compared with 5 at the last election) and also the very low turnout (64% compared with 87% at the last election)

    3. Yes, the by election results were certainly affected by the amount candidates and low turnout.

      Correct me if I’m wrong but I think the Green Primary vote was around 27% within the state seat of Perth boundary, that is that is a 15% swing towards them since the State Election when they only managed to get 15%

      Also in the Maylands, Bayswater area where Greens put most of their resources, Labor vote back and Greens had a good swing to them in those areas. That said however Perth will still be a safe Labor seat for a while.

    4. Jimmy that’s not something I noticed. The Greens also did really well in the area of Fremantle that corresponds to the state seat of Fremantle. My guess then is they’re going to target Fremantle, Perth and Maylands at the state election and build the campaign around those goals.

      However in doing so they squandered their best ever opportunity to win a federal lower house seat in WA.

      The Greens clearly were not putting their best foot forward. Not many visits from the federal team, no policy announcements, not even a declaration that they were running to win in either of the WA seats.

      Low turnout should have helped the Greens the same way it did in Northcote. Gorman was not a likeable or good candidate, but this did not come out in any campaigns. Enough “sure why not” preferences from the minor party voters would have won the Greens the seat, or even a “Put Labor Last” campaign similar to what was seen from the Libs in Darling Range.

      Whoever decided that Perth was unwinnable messed up big time.

    5. Lib Dems, Paul Collins, ALA and the other right wing Independents were never going to preference Greens. And Labor did a deal with Matheson’s WA Party.

      Greens were never going to win it, specially with so many candidates running. I don’t think the Perth Greens even had 10% of the budget that Northcote had. Greens strongest areas in WA is Perth and Fremantle, thats also where most of their members live, those two seats having elections at the same time didn’t help as well

    6. IIRC Paul Collins had an open ticket, as did Jim Grayden. Very few of those minor parties fully staffed their booths.

      In elections the Greens are actually trying to win where Liberals won’t come top 2, they usually send out blueshirts handing out cards telling Liberal voters to send Labor a message or something of the sort.

      You have to ask why Greens were starved for budget.

    7. It also doesn’t help the Greens that they’re far stronger in the south of the seat than in the north. Places like Beechboro (ALP heartland) and Noranda (middle class Liberal leaning) aren’t going to be very Green friendly.

    8. The local MP gives you the impression he is just a bored careerist political apparatchik, but it won’t stop him from being easily re-elected at the next election. Labor should be pre-selecting a more “active” sort of candidate in a seat like Perth.

    9. Jim Grayden has been chosen as the new Liberal candidate for Perth.

      The Libs vacating this seat at the by election will result in a larger than average swing to Labor next year. Voters won’t forget them being missing in action.

      Gorman seems to be fairly active too.

    10. Greens have preferenced Labor in previous Federal elections – without The Greens giving Labor their support I think Labor wouldn’t hold the seat of Perth


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