Curtin – Australia 2013

LIB 16.2%

Incumbent MP
Julie Bishop, since 1998.

Western Perth.  Curtin covers those suburbs between the northern shore of the Swan River and the Indian Ocean, stretching east to just outside of the Perth CBD. Curtin stretches as far north as Doubleview and Joondanna. Key suburbs include Churchlands, Leederville, Wembley, Jolimont, Subiaco, Kings Park, Nedlands, Claremont, Swanbourne, Mount Claremont, Karrakatta, Floreat, Cottesloe, Peppermint Grove and Mosman Park.

Curtin was created as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives at the 1949 election. It has been won by the Liberal Party at all but one election, having been won by an independent former Liberal MP in 1996.

It was first won in 1949 by Paul Hasluck. He was appointed as Minister for Territories in 1951, and served in ministerial roles for the next eighteen years, eventually becoming Minister for External Affairs. In 1969 he left Parliament when appointed as Governor-General, a role he served in until 1974.

The 1969 Curtin by-election was won by Victor Garland. He joined the ministry under Billy McMahon in 1971, serving until the 1972 election. He then served as a minister in the Fraser government from 1975 to 1976 and again from 1977 until the 1980 election. In 1981 he resigned from Parliament to serve as Australia’s High Commissioner in London.

The 1981 Curtin by-election was won by Liberal candidate Allan Rocher. Rocher had been a Senator since 1977, resigning to run for the by-election. Rocher briefly served as a shadow minister in the early 1990s, but in 1996 was defeated for preselection by Ken Court, son of former Premier Charles Court, and brother of the then-Premier Richard Court. The Court government won re-election shortly before the 1996 federal election, but was engulfed in scandals involving his brother, and Rocher, running as an independent, managed to defeat Court in Curtin, winning re-election as an independent.

Rocher lost Curtin in 1998 to Liberal candidate Julie Bishop. Bishop was appointed Minister for Ageing in the Howard government in 2003, and in 2006 was promoted to cabinet as Minister for Education.

After the defeat of the Howard government in 2007, Bishop was elected as Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party. She has served as Deputy to three successive leaders, and currently serves as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.


Curtin is a very safe Liberal seat.

2010 result

Julie BishopLIB50,02461.13+2.17
Sophie van der MerweALP15,77119.27-5.71
George CrispGRN14,49817.72+4.49
Pat SeymourCDP1,5341.87+0.61

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

Julie BishopLIB54,15866.19+2.93
Sophie van der MerweALP27,66933.81-2.93
Polling places in Curtin at the 2010 federal election. North in green, South-East in orange, South-West in blue. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Curtin at the 2010 federal election. North in green, South-East in orange, South-West in blue. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into three areas: north, south-east and south-west. The Liberal Party’s majority varied from 62.6% in the south-east to 73% in the south-west. The Greens vote varied from 15.6% to 22.1%. The Labor primary vote varied from 14.4% in the south-west to 22.4% in the north. The ALP outpolled the Greens in the north, while the Greens outpolled the ALP in the south-east and south-west.

Voter groupGRN %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes17.4166.9919,05623.29
Two-party-preferred votes in Curtin at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Curtin at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Curtin at the 2010 federal election.
Greens primary votes in Curtin at the 2010 federal election.


  1. The Court family saga kicked on into the 2000’s, too. After Richard Court lost the 2001 election, he came up with a hare-brained idea of installing Julie Bishop as state Liberal leader, and giving Colin Barnett the seat of Curtin instead. Barnett (who’d been deputy premier, from the not-Court faction) was very unimpressed, the deal fell apart, and Bishop stayed in Curtin. Court resigned after that, and the Greens came surprisingly close to winning Nedlands at the by-election.

    One weird thing you’ll see about that map is the amount of local governments – some of them cover literally one suburb each. This is the one part of WA which probably won’t be touched by amalgamations – rich western suburbs folks like their little pocket boroughs.

  2. The most politically distinct section of Curtin is the north-east corner, largely east of the Mitchell Freeway and covered mainly by the Town of Vincent. Julie Bishop has done well to achieve a narrow majority in this hitherto left-leaning section and this was replicated by the ALP loss of the state Perth seat in March.

  3. Jeremy: that’s more likely because Labor don’t bother campaigning in such a safe Liberal seat, and the Libs wouldn’t usually put in a huge effort for Perth (although this election may be an exception – I just got a letter from their candidate today). The Greens got about the same vote either side of Charles St, while Labor were much stronger to the east and Libs more so to the west. That’d be the wavering undecided voters simply voting for the local MP, whoever they are. It’s not like North Perth suddenly changes when you cross that road.

    The loss of Perth (and big swing in Mt Lawley) in March is a different kettle of fish. After he lost his seat, John Hyde reckoned Labor had run an anti-inner-city campaign. I dunno if he’s right or not, but Labor certainly weren’t expecting to lose here.

    Macca: the Greens won’t come second in Curtin if state results are repeated. Their vote halved in Churchlands despite the departure of a long-serving independent MP, and they also did quite badly in Perth (going down more than Labor did). If that sort of thing happens again, their only booths above 20% would be the ones around UWA. Also, the Labor vote doesn’t have much further to fall. Even seats like this have their bedrock Labor supporters… once at work, just before the 2010 election, I was chatting to an old lady from Dalkeith (the blue 85 in the south), who’d been voting Labor since Ben Chifley was PM. They do exist.

  4. Butler is a labor seat and I believe its in this electorate. The strong Labor vote does not seem to register federally.

  5. Will be interesting to see if the Greens can ever get traction on this seat. They already challenge and outpoll Labor at a number of booths. It is possible the Greens will make a serious push in a decade or so, if the Green Tory demographic continues to grow.

  6. That green tory demographic is already there, and has been for a while now – just look at Nedlands. Liberals for Forests came second at the 2001 election, and gave the premier a scare in his own seat (Lib 4.9% vs LFF). Then, at the by-election after Richard Court resigned, the Greens came second after jumping over Labor on LFF preferences (Lib 3.4% vs Grn). Sue Walker won that by-election, but quit the Libs a few years later and ran against them as an independent in 2008, and came closer yet (Lib 2.5% vs Ind). It’s currently safe for the Libs, but may be a wild card next time they lose govt (like Alfred Cove, which Janet Woollard won in 2001 under the LFF banner). I doubt Curtin will ever go that way, though… heaps of old money in places like Dalkeith and Peppermint Grove, and they vote nothing but Liberal.

  7. Well if we had someone in the “Centre Right” area of the political game that would it very interesting for all of us

    Do you we have a candidate from the Palmer United Party ?

  8. So if Labour and the Greens want to keep The Liberals and ACD out, And The Liberals and ACD want to keep Labour and the Greens out.

    And so the winner is: Glenn Baker from the Palmer United Party –

    Well I’m sold on Palmer, I’m SICK TO DEATH of not being able to contact my local Federal member and the Liberals not giving a DAMN about us just because they think it’s a “Safe Seat” well WATCH THIS SPACE !!!! WE NOW HAVE A CHOICE ON THE SAME SIDE AS YOU TONY

    Peter (Of Subi)

  9. I live in this electorate and it is as safe for the Libs as they come, we get . Definitely a “small-l” vibe to the area, but very hard to see this seat ever becoming a contest unless there’s a split in the conservative ranks.

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