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 has served as deputy leader for the last nine years, and has served as Foreign Minister since 2013.


  • Cameron Pidgeon (Greens)
  • Tony Walker (Labor)
  • Assessment
    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. Very safe seat, Julie Bishop is a extremepy popular local member. This will be the smallest swing in WA for sure.

      The greens could finish in seccond place though.

    2. My electorate, I would expect a small swing against the government and it will become a GRN v LIB seat within the next election cycle or so.

    3. I’d suggest two or more elections from now for Green vs Lib – I expect this one will be a red wave, so the Liberal to ALP swing will outweigh the to-Green swing.

    4. My booth up the top (Yuluma Primary) there stands out a little with it’s Lib 2PP vote in the 50s (OK, there’s the one in Glendalough too) – I wonder if there might actually be a booth in Curtin at the next election with an ALP majority. Anything’s possible I suppose.

      Ultimately though, yeah, I wouldn’t expect any real swing in this electorate. Oddly though, the ultra blue-ribbon electorate of Nedlands had an out-of-character 12% swing at the last state election, ending up at only 58%, while Cottesloe and Churchlands held the Liberal line very strongly.

      As for Julie being extremely popular – I don’t think it matters. This electorate would vote for the Libs if they put up Satan as their candidate; the 1996 result was way out of character, and only happened because of the perceived empire building by the Court family.

      This area has a lot of socially liberal people, so a “teal” Green might be able to make some inroads long term, but the Libs will hold this for the forseeable future.

    5. mick

      Antony Green did up the numbers a while ago; Liberals would hold Curtin 61.2/38.8 and it’s their safest seat. Every other seat in the Perth metro would be marginal at best for the Liberals.

      I think it’s possible for Greens to overtake Labor even in the upcoming election. I’m not quite sure how the senate numbers sit but the Greens would actually rely on getting a decent vote in Curtin for the senate seat and be more motivated to campaign in an unwinnable seat than Labor.

    6. Rough guess looking at Cottelsoe and Nedlands get an average of 9% which is close to what Antony Green worked out

    7. Grew up and lived in Curtin until recently and broadly a middle-upper class area very much “insulated” from the rest of Perth. This is a seat where I can see the Liberal vote holding up or even strengthening at the next election even if it’s going backward elsewhere in WA. It’s the kind of seat where a well known small-l, green tinged local independent stands the best challenge of beating an establishment Liberal ala Liz Campbell in the state seat of Nedlands in 2001 but even then it would be an uphill battle.

      Whether Labor or Green reaches the final 2PP is simply academic, neither stand a chance of doing anything other than finishing 20 percentage points behind in the foreseeable future.

    8. Would expect now that Julie Bishop will not recontest the next election although I doubt she’ll pull the plug immediately if only to ensure that Christian Porter can transfer from Pearce.

    9. Malcolm, I think Porter would be a better fit in Moore should he decide to jump seats.

      I also don’t see Bishop resigning just yet but I don’t see her trying for the party leadership again, but i’d give it a week before we should start drawing any conclusions.

    10. Angus, I’m sure he’d be much happier in Moore than Pearce but I haven’t heard anything about Goodenough standing down.

      Porter as an alumni of Hale School and UWA along with his general persona suggest he’s a stock standard member of the Perth western suburbs clique and is the sort of member you’d expect from the seat of Curtin and he’s very likely to try and stand there if Bishop retires.

    11. Bishop has been pre-selected again and has resigned from the cabinet.

      With that I don’t think the recent debacle will be her last attempt at the leadetship.

    12. Julie Bishop’s reselection predates the Dutton coup.

      Porter supported the coup and supported Dutton in every vote so I don’t think Bishop will ever stand aside for him.

      I was very surprised when she challenged. 62 isn’t that old in politics: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were both approaching 70 in 2016, and Bernie Sanders was 74. Julie Bishop would be a very effective foil to Bill Shorten, who is relatively weak with women for a Labor leader. She may have her eye on opposition leader.

    13. John correct about Porter not being given a clear path by Bishop. She isn’t handing over to a conservative. There was a rumour about Cash coming in when she was on team turnbull, but I think her press conference with Cormann will have ended those chances.

      Funny how people treat Moore like Goodenough would move aside. He hasn’t been in that long…

    14. 62 isn’t that old in American politics, but it is here. In the entire federal parliament there are only five members or senators over 70 (Derryn Hinch, Bob Katter, Ian Macdonald, Pat Dodson and Brian Burston), and there are only a handful of state MPs of similar ages. If Bishop became PM tomorrow, she would be the third-oldest person ever to assume the office. The Americans have always allowed their politicians to stay on well into old age, but in general the Australian parties (who have a lot more power to decide candidates, and a lot fewer seats to go around) have enforced a significantly earlier retirement age.

    15. Whatever political machinations go on in Curtin should Bishop retire, I think Pearce is almost a certain gain should Labor achieve even a narrow majority at the next election. The lengthy answer is for the Pearce thread, but in short it is rapidly transforming into an outer-suburban dominant swing seat that will be extremely difficult to hold for any declining government.

      Porter is currently perceived as credible ministerial material within the Liberal Party in WA at least which is a scarce commodity at the moment so regardless of whether he is internally branded “big C, small c, small l” he should probably be someone who at least seen as able to to add credibility to the Party whatever his actual faction.

      As there are only 3 metropolitan WA seats that the Liberal’s are near certain to win, Curtin, Tangney and Moore and the latter 2 are not likely to be vacated anytime soon this leaves him with only one realistic option….

    16. Julie Bishop has confirmed she will recontest Curtin. Rising star Christian Porter will now likely have to face the music in his marginal seat of Pearce.

      I’m not sure if Bishop has any more chances of being Liberal leader. I tend to think the Liberal party is now looking past her.

    17. There has been allot of talk about her being appointed as the next Governor General of Australia, If that is the case she could either resign from her seat if its after the election, or choose not to re-contest, And if that is the case i reckon the margin will be cut 3-5% It will still be safe Liberal but it will be reduced due to her heavy popularity here and her winning a Portion of usually Labor vote, According to Sportsbet she is the Fave to be the next Gov general, It would be more likely if its before the election since the Coalition would want here, But Labor likely not. Former WA Premier Colin Barnett could run here to replace her, As his state electorate is just in Curtin

    18. Julie Bishop is a popular local member and will easily retain Curtin if she recontests. If she doesn’t though the swing against the Liberals will be well beyond 5%, it’s a safe seat but the contemporary Liberals are on the nose here. This seat will never be won by Labor however it’s ripe for the picking for a Kerryn Phelps style independent.


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