Voters in the southern Perth state electorate of Willagee go to the polls today to elect a new state MP to succeed former Labor premier Alan Carpenter, who retired from politics in September after losing government at the 2008 election.
The seat is not being contested by the Liberals and the main two contenders are former military man Peter Tinley running for the ALP and union organiser Hsien Harper running for the Greens. Also running is Henri Chew of the Christian Democratic Party and Gerry Georgatos, a former Greens member running as an independent.
There have been comparisons made with neighbouring Fremantle, where the Greens won the seat off the ALP in a May by-election. Willagee, however, is a much stronger area for the ALP and nowhere near as strong for the Greens as their heartland in Fremantle.
In addition, the party has been damaged in the seat by the candidacy of Gerry Georgatos, who had originally been preselected for the seat when it was expected that a Willagee by-election would be held six months ago in conjunction with the Fremantle by-election. Georgatos allowed a new preselection, which saw Harper win, and Georgatos responded by running as an independent and indeed preference the ALP’s Tinley ahead of the Greens. Georgatos supporters have been fiercely critical of the party on Poll Bludger’s Willagee thread.