Stirling – Australia 2019

LIB 6.1%

Incumbent MP
Michael Keenan, since 2004.

Northern suburbs of Perth. The seat covers the suburbs of Balcatta, Balga, Carine, Karrinyup, Mirrabook, Nollamara, Stirling, Scarborough, Trigg and North Beach.

Stirling was first created for the 1955 election, and has always been a marginal electorate, with every member for the seat being defeated, with no-one serving in the seat for more than 11 years. Despite this seat being a marginal seat for half a century, the seat has often been held by Opposition members.

The seat was first won by Harry Webb of the ALP in 1955, when he moved from the nearby seat of Swan. Webb was defeated by Liberal Doug Cash in 1958, before winning it back in 1961. Ian Viner (LIB) won the seat in 1972, against the flow as Gough Whitlam won office. Viner held the seat for eleven years, serving as a minister in the Fraser government, as a junior minister from 1975 until 1980, when he joined the Cabinet.

Viner was defeated in 1983 by Labor’s Ron Edwards, who was defeated in 1993 by radio presenter Eoin Cameron of the Liberal Party. Cameron lost to Labor’s Jann McFarlane in 1998. Like Cameron before her, McFarlane held the seat for two terms before losing in 2004 to Liberal candidate Michael Keenan.

Keenan was re-elected in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016.


Stirling would be a stretch goal for Labor if the election goes well.

2016 result

Michael Keenan Liberal 40,99149.5-1.3
Robert Pearson Labor 26,66932.2+2.4
Tom Webster Greens 9,67911.7+0.8
Kim MubarakIndependent2,1722.6+1.6
Kevin HostAustralian Christians2,0192.4+0.3
Alison L RoweRise Up Australia1,3611.6+1.1

2016 two-party-preferred result

Michael Keenan Liberal 46,52056.1-2.9
Robert Pearson Labor 36,37143.9+2.9

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three areas: east, west and central.

The ALP won a slim 50.1% majority of the two-party-preferred vote in the centre. The Liberal Party won a small 52.9% majority in the east, and a much larger 68% majority in the west.

The Greens vote ranged from 10.6% to 12.8% in the west.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes13.056.214,58217.6

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

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  1. Interesting how the centre North votes so differently to the rest of Stirling. Can’t see anything moving Keenan.From memory most of the drift in his vote was caused by re distribution. He is a very unexciting character, but perhaps he puts in the work.

  2. Balga and Mirrabooka are old public housing estates, more in common with Girrawheen across the border in Cowan than with most of the rest of Stirling. It’s always an interesting one at redistributions, because how you deal with this strongly Labor voting area can have profound effects on the margins of Stirling and Cowan.

    I wonder if one day, both major parties might bite the bullet and just unite this whole area in Cowan. This would turn two marginal seats into 1 fairly safe seat for each party.

  3. Mark Mulcair
    Thanks. The outcome you suggest will likely happen when WA gets another seat. This will probably be in northern Perth. Not that this will happen anytime soon.

  4. > This would turn two marginal seats into 1 fairly safe seat for each party.

    Which is why Labor suggested doing this at the 2008 redistribution, when the Libs held both Cowan and Stirling; and the Liberals suggested something similar at the 2000 redistribution when Labor held both seats!

    Both submission resulted in some pretty odd shaped looking divisions. IMO, the current arrangement of compact seats and competitive elections is win-win.

    > The outcome you suggest will likely happen when WA gets another seat.

    At present, WA is more likely to lose a seat than gain one.

  5. Labor would have to do extremely well to gain Stirling, doesn’t strike me as a seat with too many potential swing voters and the western and southern areas are becoming increasingly affluent.

    Canning would probably be more gettable despite being on a slightly higher margin.

  6. Ben
    That is a very big number. Surely it would produce an unprecedented swing. I’D suggest that the state govt change would have retarded this number.

  7. There will be big swings in WA. Polls have said up to 8.5% on Bludgertrack, however, the swing could be even harder as there is a lot of anger over the Liberals at the moment, and thus we could see a growth in the One Nation vote and in the regions a much higher vote for the WA Nationals (who are not in the coalition). This could see Stirling and many other WA Liberal seats fall. Even people have said that Ian Goodenough could be in trouble in Moore. It could also see a rural seat fall like Durack or O’Connor to the WA Nationals.

  8. My vague feeling is the swing to Labor will probably become lower of the course of an election like it did in 2016.

    I imagine areas to the east of the freeway will have larger swings to Labor than the area to the west, there is probably enough Labor friendly areas to get them over the line, if the WA swing is anywhere above 5%. Michael Keenan is probably not the strongest incumbent. The Labor vote is lower than what it should be due to late candidate selection and general neglect at the 2016 election.

  9. There were some pretty big swings at the last state election that if replicated would turn much of that map from blue to red (certainly most of the electorate east of the Mitchell Fwy)

    Some of the relevant state seats:
    Balcatta – 14.9% (between Mitchell Fwy and Wanneroo Rd)
    Mirrabooka – 14.6% (the Labor area in the map above)
    Morley – 16.2% (some of the eastern end, Dianella, Noranda, Nollamara)
    Scarborough – 11.7% (the western section of the seat)

    There are also bits from Carine (9.3%) and Mt Lawley (12.9%) – and probably other seats, but I’m doing this by roughly comparing map areas.

    If the ALP in any way replicate the state swing at the Federal election (not that I think they will), then Stirling is well and truly in play. Traditionally it’s been a marginal, only in recent years when the ALP has really struggled in WA has it been safe for the Libs.

  10. Well given that the average swing according to BludgerTrack is around 5.7% in WA, a swing of 6% or thereabouts isn’t too surprising.

  11. It’s shaping up to be an exciting election night. The east coast polls (especially Queensland) vary enough to make me think that the Liberals might be able to hang on in the marginals in those states, or pick up seats to make up for ones they lose. Then 2 or 3 hours later the WA seats come in, and the election will be decided.

  12. Bill Shorten recently did a town hall here, not in Perth or Fremantle. Following leaders around is the best way to gauge internal polling.

    I’m going to assume the 50/50 leak is genuine. If that’s what the WA swing looks like then Hasluck, Swan and Pearce are gone, and Canning is close.

  13. For some reason Keenan has unprecedented popularity in Stirling. He is a career politician who seems to have been put on the executive track within the Liberal party, also he has that youthful exuberance of someone under the age of 48.7. I think mostly he is not very outspoken and tows the party line, so a familiar face (on every bloody bus stop down Wanneroo rd), will win votes with apathetic voters.

    Melita Markey is going up against the Keenan powerhouse and she show little promise. Her ‘Crisis Forum’ focussed on the NBN which I just don’t think is a real issue for many in my electorate. A lot of people in the Balga/Mirrabooka area cannot afford to be disappointed with their NBN plan – instead they use the facilities at the local shopping centres or libraries. They are much more concerned about housing affordability (and stability), Centrelink payments being cut, rising utilities, rising costs of car ownership and job security.

    I would love to see another Greens candidate in the next election, I believe there are some progressive people who are ready for a change.

  14. “They are much more concerned about housing affordability (and stability), Centrelink payments being cut, rising utilities, rising costs of car ownership and job security.”

    I review a lot of financial hardship cases with the bulk of the files coming out of WA…and increasingly western suburbs of Sydney (starting at Annandale). You would be amazed by the number of families in WA living earning a joint income of $200K pa five years ago who are now living on Centrelink benefits and getting a lodger in to pay the mortgage. I’m amazed no one is talking about it.

    This comment is so on the money for what’s happening as well as the issues, out of the news, for a good chunk of middle income WA

  15. Sandbelter, the factors you talk about are exactly the sorts of things that will drive a high Labor vote.

    Greens run in every seat, but I don’t think there’s much potential for them in Stirling. However they’re the largest party explicitly and firmly campaigning on raising Newstart and against cashless welfare cards, and the portfolio holder on those issues is WA’s Rachel Siewert. It could just end up being the sleeper issue of the election.

  16. Could be fairly close but I can’t see Labor winning here. I don’t know a whole lot about Keenan as an MP, he does seem fairly well known.

    I saw an ad for Keenan on a billboard in the West Perth area, which isn’t even in Stirling, it’s in Perth.

  17. One of the ministers that resigned to cause the spill. I don’t think this will do Keenan any favours, especially since the only explanation that’s come out to explain the spill is the Liberal party has moved too far left.

    This seat is gone in the event of a Dutton or Morrison leadership.

  18. I disagree, I think this seat is likely to fall to Labor.

    Certainly, people in the eastern states strongly underestimate the anger against the coalition in WA.
    The ousting of Turnbull angered many people, not so much that he was ousted but the fact that Julie Bishop was treated so poorly. Bishop is a very very popular figure in WA. ScoMo not so much. The swing in WA will be very large and will be above average. Those who supported Dutton will have much larger swings because there will be lots of campaigning against them by GetUp and other groups. Additionally, the Liberals in WA have no money and won’t be able to gain much given Bishop will not be assisting in the campaign very much. In the past month, she has become much more focused on issues in her electorate. I’ve seen her many times out and about talking to people.

    Thus, I Think Stirling could certainly fall. Labor is running a relatively strong campaign.


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