Senate – Western Australia – Australia 2019

Incumbent Senators

Term due to expire 2019Term due to expire 2022
Slade Brockman (Liberal)1 Michaelia Cash (Liberal)
Pat Dodson (Labor) Mathias Cormann (Liberal)
Peter Georgiou (One Nation)2 Sue Lines (Labor)
Louise Pratt (Labor) Rachel Siewert (Greens)
Linda Reynolds (Liberal) Dean Smith (Liberal)
Jordon Steele-John (Greens)3 Glenn Sterle (Labor)

1Slade Brockman replaced Chris Back on 16 August 2017 following Chris Back’s resignation.
2Peter Georgiou replaced Rod Culleton on 27 March 2017 following the High Court ruling that Rod Culleton was ineligible to sit.
3Jordon Steele-John replaced Scott Ludlam on 10 November 2017 following the High Court ruling that Scott Ludlam was ineligible to sit.

History

Western Australian Senate races were dominated by the Coalition from 1951 until the beginning of the 1980s. The 1951 election produced a result of four ALP senators, four Liberal senators and two Country Party senators.  The 1953 election saw the ALP win a seat off the Country Party, but the previous result was restored in 1955. The 4-4-2 result was maintained at every election throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The 1970 Senate election saw the Liberal Party lose one of its four seats to independent Syd Negus, who was elected on a platform of abolishing death duties.

The 1974 double dissolution saw Negus defeated and the Country Party lose one of its two seats. The result saw five Labor senators alongside four Liberals and one Country senator. The 1975 double dissolution saw the Coalition regain its majority in Western Australia, with the ALP losing its fifth senate seat to the Liberals. The 1977 election saw the National Country Party lose its senate seat to the Liberals, producing a result of six Liberals and four Labor senators.

The 1983 double dissolution saw the Liberals lose their majority, with five Liberals, four Labor and one Democrat elected. The 1984 election saw Labor gain both new Senate seats while the Democrats lost their seat. In addition to 6 ALP and 5 Liberal, the Nuclear Disarmament Party’s Jo Vallentine was elected. At the 1987 double dissolution, Vallentine was re-elected as an independent along with a Democrat and five each for the two major parties.

The 1990 election saw the Liberals win six seats, along with five Labor and the re-elected Vallentine, who was re-elected as a Green. The Liberals have maintained six WA seats ever since. The 1993 election saw the Greens win a second seat off the ALP. From 1993 until today, WA has been represented by six Liberals, four Labor senators and two minor party Senators from the Greens or Democrats.

In 1996, the Greens lost one of their seats to the Democrats, losing their other seat in 1998. The Democrats held onto their seat in 2001 before losing one of their seats in 2004. The last Democrat was defeated by the Greens candidate in 2007.

The 2010 election was a status quo result. It was the third election in a row which saw three Liberals, two Labor and one Green elected.

The 2013 election produced a bizarre result, where a tiny vote margin between two nonviable candidates decided whether two seats would go to the Palmer United Party and Labor, or the Greens and the Australian Sports Party. A recount reversed the result, but also saw a large batch of ballot papers go missing, forcing a re-election.

At the 2014 re-election, large swings to the Greens and the Palmer United Party saw both parties win one seat each, with the Liberal Party retaining their three seats and Labor limping in with only one seat.

There were two changes at the 2016 double dissolution. Labor recovered their fourth seat, while the Liberal Party dropped from six to five. The Greens maintained their two seats. The Palmer United Party lost their sole seat, with One Nation winning a single seat.

2016 result

GroupVotes%SwingQuota
Liberal 525,87938.5+4.45.0040
Labor 386,11328.3+6.73.6741
Greens 143,79710.5-5.11.3683
One Nation55,0264.0+4.00.5236
Nationals 34,6182.5-0.50.3294
Nick Xenophon Team29,6562.2+2.20.2822
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers25,3431.9+0.80.2412
Marijuana (HEMP)/Sex Party25,0471.8+1.80.2383
Australian Christians22,0761.6+0.10.2101
Liberty Alliance15,1681.1+1.10.1443
Christian Democratic Party13,7681.0+1.00.1310
Animal Justice12,6870.9+0.30.1207
Liberal Democrats10,7710.8-1.00.1025
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party10,0660.7+0.70.0958
Democratic Labour Party9,4050.7+0.50.0895
Family First8,7290.6-0.10.0831
Others38,0332.8

Preference flows
Eight seats were won on primary votes – the Coalition won four seats, Labor won three and the Greens one. The Liberal Party ticket polled just over five full quotas on the primary vote, although preference leakage delayed the election of the fifth Liberal until later in the count.

We can then fast forward to the last ten candidates competing for the last three seats. One Nation, the Greens and the Australian Christians had done the best out of the earlier rounds of counting.

  • Louise Pratt (ALP) – 0.7543 quotas – up 0.0802
  • Rod Culleton (ON) – 0.6383 – up 0.1147
  • Rachel Siewert (GRN) – 0.4989 – up 0.1306
  • Kado Muir (NAT) – 0.3926 – up 0.0632
  • Luke Bolton (NXT) – 0.3377 – up 0.0555
  • Lindsay Cameron (CHR) – 0.3271 – up 0.1170
  • Michael Balderstone (HEMP) – 0.3091 – up 0.0708
  • Andrew Skerritt (SFF) – 0.3073 – up 0.0661
  • Katrina Love (AJP) – 0.1917 – up 0.0710
  • Debbie Robinson (ALA) – 0.1841 – up 0.0398

The Australian Liberty Alliance candidate was next eliminated, with over a quarter of her preferences going straight to One Nation:

  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.7679
  • Culleton (ON) – 0.6964
  • Siewert (GRN) – 0.5120
  • Muir (NAT) – 0.4124
  • Bolton (NXT) – 0.3435
  • Cameron (CHR) – 0.3403
  • Skerritt (SFF) – 0.3357
  • Balderstone (HMP) – 0.3165
  • Love (AJP) – 0.2001

The Greens did best out of Animal Justice preferences, with the remainder favouring Labor, One Nation and HEMP:

  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.7887
  • Culleton (ON) – 0.7213
  • Siewert (GRN) – 0.5765
  • Muir (NAT) – 0.4221
  • Bolton (NXT) – 0.3509
  • Skerritt (SFF) – 0.3478
  • Cameron (CHR) – 0.3463
  • Balderstone (HMP) – 0.3456

HEMP preferences favoured the Greens, but the Shooters also did quite well and pushed ahead of the Nick Xenophon Team.

  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.8372
  • Culleton (ON) – 0.7744
  • Siewert (GRN) – 0.6720
  • Muir (NAT) – 0.4353
  • Skerritt (SFF) – 0.4064
  • Bolton (NXT) – 0.3653
  • Cameron (CHR) – 0.3567

Australian Christians preferences favoured the Nationals, but wasn’t enough to push them ahead of the Greens:

  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.8802
  • Culleton (ON) – 0.8150
  • Siewert (GRN) – 0.6965
  • Muir (NAT) – 0.5077
  • Skerritt (SFF) – 0.4293
  • Bolton (NXT) – 0.3834

NXT preferences favoured Labor and the Greens:

  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.9876
  • Culleton (ON) – 0.8692
  • Siewert (GRN) – 0.7907
  • Muir (NAT) – 0.5636
  • Skerritt (SFF) – 0.4574

And the elimination of the Shooters elected Labor’s Pratt, and also favoured the Nationals over the Greens, but it wasn’t close to enough to close the gap. The elimination of the Nationals candidate resulted in the election of Pratt, Culleton and Siewert:

  • Pratt (ALP) – 1.0814
  • Culleton (ON) – 0.9886
  • Siewert (GRN) – 0.8381
  • Muir (NAT) – 0.6322

Candidates

  • Jordon Steele-John (Greens)

Assessment
Labor and Coalition should each retain two seats at the next election.

It is likely that the Greens will retain their seat, although a resurgent Labor could have a shot at winning a third seat. The third right-wing seat will be a contest between One Nation and the Liberal Party, and potentially another minor party.
Become a Patron!

About the Author

Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room.If you like this post, please consider donating to support the Tally Room.