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.

Sitting Liberal MP Michael Keenan is not running for re-election.

Stirling would be a stretch goal for Labor if the election goes well, but Keenan’s retirement should boost Labor’s chances.

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.

  19. Anton
    I trust your instincts, & assessment . Even so i find the prospect on the Libs losing this one, quite perplexing. Surely this is a very well off area ? Surely Labor’s obscene tax policies would hurt them here ?

    Perhaps if Marius Cormann moved from the Senate things might be different ?

  20. Winediamond

    While the west of Stirling is well off and very much Liberal, the centre band and southeastern corner are swing areas or Liberal leaning, and the northeastern corner is Labor territory. State results from 2017 showed this seat can easily go Labor again too.

  21. I don’t think Keenan is or was a particularly high profile or popular local member, so his retirement will do little to effect the chances of the Libs here. The strong Liberal area in the west of Stirling which held up well at the last election is of the small-l variety and will not look kindly on the recent leadership turmoil. The swing against the government seems likely to be so entrenched and significant now that it’s a probable Labor gain.

  22. I get the feeling this seat will be tight and this seat is not as winnable for Labor like Swan or Hasluck. Federally WA has been a blue wall for the Liberals for years but the last state election has put that in doubt with the thrashing the Liberals received.

    Michael Keenan also held this seat in 2007 against a very good Labor canidate in Peter Tinley. However Labor wasn’t polling as strongly in WA then federally as now. A poll released recently has Labor and Liberals even on primary vote with Labor ahead by a fraction after prefernces.

  23. The party should be renamed to “Libel Sexist Party” absoultely appauling that they choose a man over the other 4 female candidates at the presellection, they seem to be doing this deliberately, They dont care, They out woman in seats labour currently hole, (which they are likely to not win) and as a result i predict the party will have even less women in the 46th parliament, it is disgracful, that some of you support a party that is literally neglecting women, i do agree we need good people over gender or race, but there was 4 women candidates, and Vince Connelly is the only bloke to run here, As well as this and other seats, This will be a Labour gain, Dont argue with the fact that unless the party changes, and stops being a white mans party, they will be landslide defeated at this election, I also have to point out 60% of voters support medivac, so that wont change anything, Labour gain for this seat 52-48 TPP in favor of labour, This seat was winnable but now.. you have just blew it, Nominate a woman in curtin if you want any chance of remaining a strong opposition, And i am not a feminist, I am a person of values who believes we need more women in the political field, Newspoll is 53-47 to Labour im hearing. I expect an above average swing in WA, This seat is more likely to go Labour than Hasluck

  24. No chance of winning though, There has been talk however of Porter retiring, If this turns out to be correct then they should nominate a woman for the seat, Im not into these quota systems, But i believe it is deliberately deceptive that the party is ignoring the issue, who exactly chooses the candidate? Local party members? Whats the process?

  25. It must be a novel concept for a Labor shill like Daniel, but typically the Libs and Nats pre-select based on a vote of local branch members.

    If Porter retires they should nominate the best Liberal in Pearce. Whether they are male or female is totally irrelevant.

  26. More nonsense from Daniel, who doesn’t even know the names of the four female candidates yet declares with certainty that they all must have been more qualified for the job than Vince Connolly!

  27. Whilst once a swing seat, the demographics of a large proportion of this seat are now much less favourable to LAB, which on its current boundaries renders it now a seat that LAB is only liable to win at a “highwater mark”. As to whether this forthcoming election WILL prove to be so is open to speculation but whilst the current political vibe looks to be Adv LAB, to what extent is unknowable. Whilst it seems that there may be some WA seats switching hands, I see Stirling (despite retiring MP) as being at the more optimistic end of predictions.

  28. “More nonsense from Daniel, who doesn’t even know the names of the four female candidates yet declares with certainty that they all must have been more qualified for the job than Vince Connolly!”

    @The Sheriff

    Yeah well it was reported Michael Keenan was backing Edith Cowan University general counsel Joanne Quinn to be the canidate so he certainly thought she was the most qualified.

    Also don’t give me this crap about Libs/NATS members select their canidates after Scott Morrison overthrew the pre-selection and hand picked Warren Mundine to stand in Gilmore.

  29. @Political Nightwatchman

    Hence why I said “typically” – I of course acknowledge that, especially in NSW, the Libs have become more like Labor with executive intervention in pre-selections.

    People support a particular candidate for all sorts of reasons, whether due to an objective view of merit or for reasons of factionalism, ideology, or friendship. Perhaps Quinn simply didn’t give a good speech on the day, perhaps she wasn’t the best candidate, perhaps she was in the wrong faction or not aligned with the views of the median Stirling branch member. Why would we assume that Keenan is the ultimate authority on merit?

  30. “Sources had told Perthnow that Mr Connelly had firmed as favourite because of his army experience and the fact that border control was now a major election issue”

    It sounds like Libs are stocking their shelves in preparation for a scare campaign akin the 2001 election. Ho hum, can’t they pull something else out for this election? I just don’t think people in Oz are as scared of refugees and asylum seekers as the Govt wants us to be. But I must agree with the comment above that Stirling has become less of a swing in recent years.

    That being said, Connelly hasn’t expressed that he is ‘tough on borders’, and his bio doesn’t even mention border security so maybe the Lib selectors just made an assumption based on his military background (e.g. Andrew Hastie MP).

  31. I agree that Stirling has become more solidly Liberal leaning over the years as the coastal suburbs in particular have become increasingly affluent.

    However Stirling is a diverse electorate and given the stagnant WA economy for the past 5 years, coupled with a federal government that is on the nose and a retiring local MP I would be surprised if Labor doesn’t win here. I’d expect the largest swings in booths east of Mitchell Freeway.

  32. I saw Morrison here on the news holding some sort of mini rally surronded by Victor Connelly signs recently during his WA trip. Since both Shorten and the PM have personally been to the seat recently think we can safely say both parties think it’s in play.

  33. There’s a handful of signs advertising Connelly along Scarborough Beach Road and there quite a few at Carine Open Space, in the north of the electorate.

    Theres certainly more campaigning here then any other northern suburbs seat.

  34. Yes it’s tweddle dumb and tweddle dumber with Labor and Liberal , the IPCC and CSIRO are issuing warnings of climate chaos , and we just had our hottest summer and these two parties just pretend nothing is happening.
    It’s time to get somebody who will actually DO SOMETHING , roll on the Greens.

  35. “There’s a handful of signs advertising Connelly along Scarborough Beach Road and there quite a few at Carine Open Space, in the north of the electorate.”

    That’s interesting, I have only seen a couple scattered around the Mirrabooka/Balga area – and only in the past week. I think the Libs have conceded they won’t win these areas. Melita is from Karrinyup which had a large Liberal vote last election, I wonder if that will change anything. Vince and Judith (Greens) both hail from Scarborough.

  36. High profile contender in the race now with the local city of Stirling councillor Elizabeth Re contesting the seat for the Western Australia Party. Could gain a significant percentage of the primary vote. Interestingly, she is an ex-liberal.

  37. I wanted to post comments about the sportsbet odds for various WA seats of interest… and this is the most interesting of them, so to make things simple, I’m going to post the other ones in here, too (for tracking purposes).

    Punters seem to think Labor is going to take this seat (albeit it’s a close race). Considering it would require a swing of more than 6%, this is quite interesting.

    Stirling (6.1% Lib): Labor 1.75, Coalition 1.90
    Swan (3.6% Lib): Labor 1.60, Coalition 2.30
    Pearce (3.6% Lib): Labor 1.90, Coalition 1.81 (Coalition Ahead)
    Hasluck (2.1% Lib): Labor 1.29, Coalition 3.30
    Cowan (0.7% Lab): Labor 1.15, Coalition 4.80

  38. I pass through the west side of this electorate just about every single say and if I had to take a guess i’d say there’s probably only 1 Markey/Labor corflute for every 5 Connelly/Liberal ones.

    I’m also yet to meet anyone who has expressed that they’ll be voting for Labor. Though many of the people I interact with generally live in Curtin, Moore & the Western side of this seat.

    6.1% is quite a big ask for Labor, especially as their lead in the polls begins to dwindle in the closing days of this campaign, I don’t believe there’ll be a big swing (if there’s one at all) against the Liberals in the Western side of the seat and if I had to take a wild guess it’ll be quite hard for Labor to make up for it in the Eastern portion of this seat.

    My Prediction – 52% Liberal, 48% Labor

  39. I have seen so many corflutes everywhere I don’t even notice who is who any more. What a waste of money! But I have seen a few posters for Fraser Anning around – which is truly upsetting.

    Labor seems to think Stirling is in play, even before Michael Keenan’s departure announcement. Melita has been campaigning for over a year now. Maybe it is the long game that they’re playing, put Stirling into swing mode for the NEXT election. OR maybe they are just match-fixing for SportsBet


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