Tim Hammond resigns, triggering by-election in Perth


We are inching ever closer to a potential federal election, but some news today means we will soon have a federal by-election, in a seat no-one expected.

First-term Labor MP Tim Hammond, who represents the federal seat of Perth, announced he would retire less than two years after winning the seat, apparently for family reasons.

The earliest possible by-election date would be in June 2018.

I’ve conveniently already published my guide to the federal seat of Perth for the general election. So that guide has now been redirected to be the guide to the by-election. A new guide, adding in the results of the by-election, will become the Perth guide for the general election at a later date.

Hammond held Perth by a 3.3% margin at the 2016 election. His predecessor, Alannah MacTiernan, had served one term in parliament, succeeding former senior minister Stephen Smith in 2013.

It’s likely that Labor would win such a by-election, but it would be silly to rule out the possibility of Labor losing to a strong Liberal candidate.

Read the guide to the Perth by-election

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  1. There is one thing that might work in the Libs favor, and that’s the recent habit of ALP members cutting and running. A by election will result in a fourth member for Perth in five years. There’s a chance people might be sick of the revolving door.

    That said, can’t really see the ALP not holding this one, but I’d think there would be more than a few people pissed off with Hammond here.

  2. Everyone is giving Hammond the benefit of the doubt. i am disinclined to. When an MP is elected they are making a CONTRACT with their constituents for 3 years. If they choose to break that contract, & inflict a cost of about a $million of the commonwealth, they ought to fund a significant amount of this from their superannuation.
    Then there is the cost tens of thousands of wasted hours inflicted upon their constituents.
    All Hammond had to do was serve another 60 days in parliament. What a stretch ! As if he didn’t know what the job entailed. Not good enough. Not even close.
    BTW this has nothing to do with politics, it is about governance. I made this point very forcefully to Trent Zimmerman at Hockey’s by election, when i told him why i would never vote for him ,or liberal ever.

  3. WD,

    Yes, but attacking Hammond for being too much of a devoted family man is not going to work politically. It would be horrible optics for the Liberals (or anyone else) to try that one on.

  4. If we wanted to get away from by-elections, then the only possible practical way would be as we’re seeing with the invalid Senate candidates – a recount with the resigning member excluded at the very beginning.

    That would almost certainly make Perth’s new member either the Lib candidate that came second or the Greens. While the Lib candidate (incidentally, my cousin – not that we agree on anything politically) got a healthy 42% of the vote, I suspect the end result would be the Green candidate winning by somewhere around 4-5%. I’d actually expect less ALP preferences to leak to the Libs than Green prefs.

  5. With a general election so close, it’s bewildering that Hammond isn’t seeing out his term. I can’t recall a more unnecessary by-election.

    Indeed if there is to be an election in September/October, as some believe (I don’t), this by-election may not take place at all.

  6. Matt Q
    Yeah, i wouldn’t have a problem with that. Which no 2 gets the seat isn’t very relevant

  7. David Walsh
    It is hard to imagine how there could possibly be, a more unnecessary by- election

  8. Mark Mulcair
    You are right of course. However i’ll leave the pollies to worry about the political consequences. It is about all they really do anyway…!

  9. He should at least wait until the high court rules on Gallagher, and everything seems to be pointing to an August or September election anyway. If the replacement is a party hack then the “time with family” narrative might not look genuine.

    The Greens would be quite competitive in a by-election if Liberals opted out.

  10. John

    How would a Liberal voter denied the opportunity to vote for a Coalition party in good conscience vote for an extremist left wing party like the Greens. Liberal voters are socially conservative in outlook Greens are hostile to the family , religion, and the rule of law, Liberal voters are economically pro free enterprise whilst Greens have no solution to anything other than increased government regulation, Liberal Voters are in favour of lower taxation, Greens on other hand are the party of extreme taxation if given the opportunity.

    A liberal voter denied the chance to vote Liberal has no choice but to support ALP over Greens.

    IF Liberal were not to stand a candidate in Perth this would be an ideal opportunity for minor parties such as DLP or WA Independent to replicate Harold Gordon victory in the seat of Gordon in 1973 when Liberal candidate failed to nominate leading to DLP having its only ever NSW State lower house victory.

    A failure by Liberal Party to stand could lead to Australian Conservative or Ashby-Hanson Party picking up liberal; votes. Failure by Liberals to stand would lead to a flood of minor party candidates. This would be highly damaging to Liberals in 2018 General Election. I know from experience that there are Conservative Minors willing to stand in WA.

    Any minor conservative standing with no Liberal standing would cover their costs so a major hindrance to minor partiers standing would disappear over night. National Party of WA would be silly not to stand in these circumstances and boost their coffers for General Election.

    Liberal Party has an obligation to stand. Their failure to stand in Batman resulted in an increase in ALP 2PPV of 3.4% and a decrease in Green 2PPV of 3.4%. PErth will be

    WA (which Perth is a part of) is dependent upon mining and live sheep exports and a rural economy. Western Australian’s whinge about their share of GST revenue but they do not want this inequity to be corrected by a decrease in income for the State. THis effectively Green policy.

    Therefore even with no Liberal candidate Greens will not win Perth. ALP will retain if we have a bye-election.

    Only factor that makes me think that the above conclusion is a certainty is that based on the results of SSM Plebiscite Perth has a slightly higher potential Green Vote than Batman but you can always count on hip pocket nerve taking precedence over an issue which most people thought was of little importance. Even fierce advocates of SSM do not want to be unpaid.

    Andrew Jackson

  11. If the Liberals opt out of the by-election then there would likely be a large influx of minor parties like the Conservatives, I find it unlikely the DLP would run someone as they haven’t run a lower house candidate in WA for years.

    You could also find that in the by-election the WA First parties could run candidates on the GST issue. Parties like the Put WA First Party (Chas Hopkins was former lord mayor of Perth and thus could run) and the Western Australia Party (seemingly backed by wealthy individuals and lead by Subiaco Councillor Julie Matheson). I have heard that the Western Australia Party has been trying to become federally registered so perhaps they have already submitted an application to the AEC. The Western Australia Party also contested the recent Cottesloe By-Election and got around 10% with a mayor I think as their candidate.

    That being said the WA parties would do much better without the Liberals and perhaps their preferences could help the Greens over Labor though in all likely hood it still seems like a solid labor victory with a swing of probably almost 10%.

  12. Andrew Jackson
    You put your case very well. I wonder if the Libs will ever have the stones to do away with GST equalisation completely ? Personally i’m in favour of the abolition. Then again if i were a Westralian, i’d be a successionist to boot !
    The most attractive implication would be the sharp focus brought to bear on the mendicant states, & territories. We need these entities like a hole in the head .We should simply abolish the territories, & force Tas, & SA to federate with Victoria. That will save about $40 BILLION a year.

  13. I you have been living under a rock the past day, labour came out in opposition of live exports and proposed a ban. Unfortunately Doug the swing will not even reach 4% to the labour party because of this, in fact the labour just gave the Greens more votes. Given that live exports is a very heavily endorsed by most of WA given our current economic situation.

    Secondly, the Labour party’s front runners are endorsed by the left of the party ( the frontrunners being Patrick Gorman and Senator Louise Pratt). Tim Hammond is a well known candidate of the right wing faction for the party. This could drive people away from the greens to Labour, given a left wing Labour candidate would appeal to undecided left wing voters. However, the prediction of the preferences from the greens to labour is unpredictable until the candidates are announced.

    Lastly, the Liberals have to choose a strong candidate, someone who can run as an independent Liberal willing to challenge the party on the issue of GST, a candidate that utilises WA first.

  14. “How would a Liberal voter denied the opportunity to vote for a Coalition party in good conscience vote for an extremist left wing party like the Greens”

    Cunningham by-election, 2002

    As irrational as it is from the level of an individual voter, the lack of a major conservative candidate can help the Greens.

  15. IIRC, Cunningham was an unusual case, with ex-Labor and union types running as Independents, then directing preferences to the Greens.

    Liberals might have found it easier to vote for an ‘Independent Labor’ type than for the Greens directly.

  16. Doug

    I agree that DLP itself is unlikely in WA. If you read my post it states “minor parties such as DLP or WA Independent. Based on my experiences in minor parties I had one Western Australian in mind but am not prepared to mention them by name.

    Wine Diamond. GST (and all invisible taxes) should not have been introduced but the horse has bolted. To undo the GST one would need to find $101,120 Million or a Quarter of Commonwealth Taxation. WA doing a Biafra or Bougainville is a distinct possibility just as Senator Macdonald’s and KAP’s push for North Queensland new state’s are possibilities. However at the moment WA & NQ pay only an unfair fraction of the costs of the Commonwealth and State revenue. Secession would mean they pay 100% of the respective costs. To anyone who looks at the facts it is a no brainer.

    WE would be much poorer if it had not been for Federation.

    Very few of the amalgamated Councils in Queensland were prepared to de-amalgamate when given the opportunity to do so for the simple reason that de amalgamation was too expensive. similar to Marriage arrangements it is much easier to join two government departments or individuals together than to split/ divorce them apart.

    My only ideological disputer with Robbie Katter was over the issue of secession of NQ. In fact when our fellow Tallyroom correspondent Tony Zegenhagen was the DLP Queensland Senate candidate one of the few ideological disputes I have had with him was over a similar proposal. I thought pandering to Secessionist gut feeling was bad government even if it is good politics.

    Andrew Jackson

    Local Chauvinism is always easier to advocate than to implement. Perth both as a city and as a Federal DIvision is probably a beneficiary of centralisation and the main centrifugal forces are in remote parts of state.

  17. Andrew Jackson
    Sorry i was unclear. I was not advocating the abolition of the GST, only the abolition of the equalisation of it along with the Commonwealth equalisation Commission. I am surprised that you believe that WA is a nett recipient of commonwealth revenue. Am i very mistaken, or did you mean SA ?
    You are of course absolutely correct about a North QLD state. Ridiculous, we need less govt , not more.

    I totally agree that Federation was a magnificent, & at the time unlikely achievement . Having said that, the structure has not been changed or improved for 120 years. This is disgraceful. Imagine any other organisation that had not been reformed in any way for even 10 years.

  18. HAs anyone thought of possibility of Matthias Cormann standing in Perth , and rolling Turnbul before the next election.

    Cormann is a far better leader than Turnbull and can communicate with public. One of few MP’s who give the impression that he answers e-mails.

    He is a bit like Readers Digest once he has your name and e-mail address you have him for life.

    Andrew Jackson

  19. Why on earth would Cormann give up the ultra-safe top Senate spot in WA, to run for a highly marginal seat that he would never be secure in, and would have to devote huge effort every election to hold?

    If he was going to move ‘downstairs’ to became a leadership challenger, there are plenty of safer seats he could choose to go for.

  20. Oooohhhh… there’s an idea Mathias Cormann coming down from the Senate!

    Yes, not Perth now at a byelection but great suggestion! I never thought about him.

    I think he could be a good option because there is no clear alternative to Turnbull at the moment – Dutton couldn’t be and as much as Julie Bishop is loved, I don’t think she’s quite right for PM.

    The contenders who I think would be best to be PM need, in my opinion, more time in Parliament first or are Nationals. As Turnbull does not have the feel of a long-time PM (like Howard & Menzies), Cormann would be a good alternative in the interim but could work in his own right.

    I still maintain FAITH that the Coalition government will be returned nextyear.

  21. I think the Libs would be mad not to run in Perth.

    Reason: they’re potentially competitive in Perth against the ALP now (they most likely won’t win it, but at a high watermark might). If they don’t stand, there’s a chance a Greens candidate might win, which, if they kept their nose clean, would remove the Libs chances of winning the seat if there was a protest against a future ALP government.

    (of course, the WA Greens could put up another Adele Carles, and see the seat revert back to the ALP at the first opportunity).

    Andrew Jackson: I doubt that Cormann would run in anything that was marginal, let alone a currently ALP held seat. On current boundaries, the Libs would only win this in an ultra landslide – if they couldn’t win it in 2013, then it’s going to be an ALP seat under most scenarios.

    I don’t think Cormann would realistically be a PM candidate, but if he thought he was, he’d probably challenge for pre-selection for a seat like Moore or Tangney (I think Forrest, O’Connor or Durack would be too hard given they’re regional WA seats, and no one is prising Bishop out of Curtin).

  22. BJA from Ryan
    Mate i loath Bishop. She is a mental flyweight. She is in Foreign Affairs because she was so useless in other portfolios, & because there is so little she can stuff up ( in F.A.). Sooner she goes the better, & don’t start me on her ethics, values, or “loyalty”.

  23. If I remember correctly Ludlam is still an NZ dual citizen. Lynn Maclaren would have had no reason to renounce either. Both of those candidates are also more strongly associated with Fremantle.

    I highly doubt Tim Clifford would give up his MLC seat.

    There are some Greens members sitting as independents in local government who’d be good candidates, as well as state election candidates who got decent swings towards them in an election that didn’t really care about the Greens.

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