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. 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.

  19. Well i was wrong, She has just announced she is retiring, I can confirm that sources say that former premier Colin Barneet is considering a tilt here

  20. Bishop must realise that the Liberals are in for a massive hiding at the next election

    Another headache for Morrison

  21. The absence of JB will cut the Liberals margin here by a fair bit but won’t change the outcome. The Liberals made a dumb decision to axe Turnbull, not electing Bishop as leader beyond that wrecked any hope they had at winning.

  22. You seriously cannot be support Far right trickle down conservatism winediamond, You don’t understand it was actually the Liberal Menzies policies that made this country successful, not the far right duck’s including Abbott,Dutton,Hunt,Andrews, and a few other’s Look at what the Republican party has done/is doing to the USA, Look at the devastation, Out Of Paris deal, out of Iran deal, out of IMF treaty everything, if you leave it up to the right wing members of the party, They would follow the Trump style policies, Which would be devastating for this nation. While i also agree Socialism is worse (In my opinion) If you had united around Turnbull we wouldn’t be heading for this mess.

  23. Julie Bishop was very well regarded in Curtin, plenty of centre/leftish leaning people would have been included in her primary vote numbers. Switching leaders from Turnbull to Morrison would not have done the Liberals any favours here either. If Liberals preselect the wrong person for the electorate it could possibly leave room for a high profile centrist independent to take the seat. I can’t think of anyone who has the profile right now but there is plenty of time until the election. At the moment I expect there will be a tpp swing against the Liberals of around 10% more if its against an Independent.

  24. Daniel
    i can’t decide whether you are trying to verbal me, or whether you are attempting (unsuccessfully ) to ask me some genuine questions. I am truly a bit confused. I do think you are a little confused about the Menzies era. A closed, protected, & controlled, economy, doesn’t have any relationship to today. The success of Hawke, & Howard was clearly far more influential, as were the demonstrable failures of the last 4/5 PMs

    Iv’e met Turnbull & have written much on him, no need to repeat . Really have no idea why you don’t see him as one of Australia’s worst PMs. As a libertarian i found his total lack of genuine values, & transpersonal goals to be insufferable.

    I do find it mildly offensive to be typified as an LNP voter, or from the right. Economically i’m not “dry” but parched !!. This is not however prohibitive, of lots of “progressive” views that have even shocked my Greenie friends find compatable !!. For example i’d adore to fully tax churches !!. Won’t happen, but i’d settle for Land tax, & rates. Please understand i am a ferocious unapologetic, patriot, & nationalist. I love AUSTRALIA, & it’s people above all else, & i am passionately enraged about all i perceive as threats to our country, it’s people, & it’s future.
    I find your view of Trump to be pejorative & narrow. Obviously some of his actions may end up badly, but that is real leadership, not every decision, or policy will be right. There is a saying that “Great men, have great flaws”. JFK would not have been able to implement his greatest policies. The ruthless barbarity of LBJ was essential for this task. Winston made huge mistakes, but he won the war. i had all kinds of issues with Bob Hawke, but he is still the most successful PM in our history. Likewise Howard was obviously flawed, however he was arguably even more successful, certainly in an historical sense.

    If you want my view on the MP’s you have named i’ll put them in the electorate thread connected
    cheers WD

  25. Julie Bishop was loved by everyone in Curtin. She could’ve run for any party or as an independent and would’ve won easily. This is very much a small-l-liberal electorate, however, Morrison becoming PM wouldn’t have affected the result because Bishop was the member. However, now the seat is very much in play. Especially if Mathias Cormann or Michaelia Cash becomes the Liberal Candidate. If one of them or a conservative liberal becomes the candidate there is a very good chance that the seat could face a serious challenge from a centrist Independent (ala Kerryn Phelps, Zali Steggall, Julia Banks) This will be an interesting contest.

  26. Julie Bishop got a +2.5% swing in the last election, I just noticed, unlike many other Liberals in 2016. She will be missed by many Australians and was a great Foreign Affairs Minister. The PM we never had unfortunately.

  27. I think the swing at the last election to the Liberals in seats like Curtin was due to the change from Abbott to Turnbull as PM – there was a pattern of small swings to the Liberals in a number of their safe inner urban seats in 2016.

    The seat of Nedlands (which falls entirely within Curtin) came close to falling to a high profile liberals for forests candidate, Liz Davenport at the 2001 WA state election when the Premier, Richard Court was the local MP, and the Greens came even closer at the subsequent by-election.

    The Liberals are safe if they pick someone who is seen to be a competent moderate, butthe question is whether they’ll do this.

  28. with Julie as the candidate there was a good chance of a lnp margin here of 10% at least…… but with here gone and especially if the libs pick Porter Corrman or Cash there is the chance of an independent win. Also Julie Bishop helped keep the lib vote in esp metro Perth higher than it would have been now this is gone.

  29. On ABC’s Insiders on Sunday they said Julie Bishop waited out as long as she could so Christian Porter and Mathias Cormann couldn’t get the seat. I knew Porter may be a chance but I didn’t know Corrman apparently wouldn’t mind getting into the House of Reps.

    I’ve read reports now that Bishop’s choice to replace her Erin Watson-Lynn may not get up because she is not conservative enough. Mathias Corrman choice Catholic University boss Celia Hammond is worrying some Liberals because her outspoken support to conservative social issues. Some believe a moderate Liberal independent may then decide to run with Get up not ruleing out throwing their support behind a independent in Curtin.

    One thing is for sure the canidate won’t be Porter or Corrman. Reports has suggested Corrman may leave politics if the Liberals lose after the next election. He could do that smoothly in the Senate without the problem of forcing a by-election in the House of Reps.

  30. Bishop and Cormann are at loggerheads ..

    Cormann’s influence waning….so much so that he is also bailing out from the Titanic

  31. Celia Hammond has been confirmed as the preselected candidate for Curtin. Can’t be helpful preselecting someone associated with the religious right in a small-l seat.

  32. Pre-selecting a religious right liberal candidate is a bit risky considering what we’re seeing in seats like Wentworth and Warringah. With getup potentially campaigning, the loss of Bishop’s personal vote and a moderate lib independent running Curtin could be an interesting race

  33. With a religious right winning pre-selection could Curtin be the surprise on election night. Curtin has been independent before and it could be again

  34. Curtin has gone independent before, however, that was due to the sitting Liberal MP Allan Rocher losing preselection in 1996 (along with Paul Filing in Moore) and winning against the official Liberal candidate, Ken Court (then-Premier Richard’s brother). Both lost next time to the Liberal candidates – Rocher lost in 1998 to Bishop (and Filing to Mal Washer in Moore).

    While I think Curtin will be closer than expected, given the candidates, at this point I still predict a Liberal hold.

  35. Please stop talking about “independents” like they’re some mystical third force. Unless someone of serious profile enters the race, there is no chance of the Liberals losing this seat. People won’t just vote for some nobody on the ballot paper.

  36. David is right, whilst this seat and this area (in state house) HAS elected Independents in the past ……. and the LIB’s replacement candidate could notionally provide the impetus for such an outcome; this outcome is contingent on an Independent with sufficient electoral appeal actually standing AND gaining traction with the electorate. This final requirement has, as yet, to emerge.

  37. David, Multimillionaire Louise Stewart. IS high profile, Shes a Multimillionaire for the sake of argument! Money matters and this COULD be in play because Clive palmer won in 2013 when he was rich, so Wealth CAN matter


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