Senate – Western Australia – Australia 2013

Incumbent Senators

Term expires 2014 Term expires 2017
Mark Bishop (ALP)Chris Back (LIB)
Michaelia Cash (LIB)Mathias Cormann (LIB)
Alan Eggleston (LIB)Chris Evans (ALP)
David Johnston (LIB) Rachel Siewert (GRN)
Scott Ludlam (GRN) Dean Smith (LIB)1
Louise Pratt (ALP)Glenn Sterle (ALP)

1Dean Smith replaced Judith Adams on 2 May 2012 after Senator Adams’ death in March.

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.

Number of WA Senators from each party after each Senate election, 1951-2010. Click to view interactive chart.
Number of WA Senators from each party after each Senate election, 1951-2010. Click to view interactive chart.

2010 result

The Greens172,32713.96+4.660.9774
The Nationals42,3343.43+1.990.2401
Australian Sex Party27,7952.25+2.250.1576
Christian Democratic Party22,2061.80+0.040.1259
Liberal Democrats14,5171.18+1.130.0823
Family First14,2541.15+0.290.0808

The Liberal Party won three seats and Labor won two on primary votes. The Greens were very close to winning the sixth seat on primary votes.

After the elimination of minor candidates, the count prior to the Greens passing quota was the following:

  • Siewert (GRN) – 0.9940
  • Young (CDP) – 0.2663
  • McCourt (NAT) – 0.2509
  • Martin (SXP) – 0.1917
  • Rose (FF) – 0.1171
  • Walmsley (LDP) – 0.0939
  • Perdon (ALP) – 0.0848

The elimination of the third Labor candidate pushed the Greens over a quota:

  • Siewert (GRN) – 1.0703
  • Young (CDP) – 0.2669
  • McCourt (NAT) – 0.2557
  • Martin (SXP) – 0.1932
  • Rose (FF) – 0.1180
  • Walmsley (LDP) – 0.0947

The count finished at this point, but I’ve estimated that if it was to continue until you reach the final two candidates, the Nationals would have taken the lead over the CDP, and would have reached approximately three quarters of a quota, with the Greens on 1.25 quotas.

The Liberal Party is running:

  1. David Johnston
  2. Michaelia Cash
  3. Linda Reynolds
  4. Slade Brockman

The ALP is running:

  1. Joe Bullock
  2. Louise Pratt
  3. Peter Foster

The Greens are running sitting Senator Scott Ludlam as their lead candidate. The Nationals are running former AFL player David Wirrpanda. Patricia Petersen’s Australian Independents party is running Patricia Irving. Family First are running Linda Rose. The Stable Population Party is running Peter Strachan. The Australian Christians are running Jamie van Burgel. The Palmer United Party is running Chamonix Terblanche. The Wikileaks Party is running Gerry Georgatos. The Animal Justice Party is running Katrina Love. The Socialist Equality Party is running Peter Symonds. The Secular Party is running Simon Cuthbert.

After preferences, the ‘left’ (Labor and Greens) reached 3.25 quotas, and the ‘right’ (Liberal and National) reached 3.75 quotas. A swing of less than 4% to the right would see a ‘left’ seat lost to the ‘right’ (likely going to the WA Nationals, but possibly to a minor right-wing party).

On 2010 figures, it is conceivable that either Labor or the Greens could lose a seat. If the swing against Labor is bigger than the swing against the Greens (easily within the current realm of possibilities on current polling), it’s possible that Scott Ludlam could stay ahead of the second Labor candidate, and Labor would be reduced to a single seat.


  1. I don’t reckon the Nats would get a Senate seat (they couldn’t even get anywhere with Hendy Cowan in 2005). With three-quarters of the population of WA living in Perth, they’re effectively just another minor right-wing party. If it’s a 4-2 win to the right, and if the Shooters can repeat the Glenn Druery-style preference deals that won them a seat in the WA election last month (and damn near another in Mining and Pastoral – that went down to BTL votes), they’ve got a better chance than the Nats, CDP, Lib #4, or anyone else. In particular, Labor and the Greens should be keeping an eye on Rick Mazza to see if they need to reconsider preferencing the Shooters so high up. (That was one of the more disturbing things that went wrong last month.) Mazza doesn’t have the balance of power, but he still could be interesting in the next few months.

    As for the Greens, the drop in their state vote is making me less sure, but they’ve been established here for a lot longer than in the eastern mainland states – hopefully the state result acts as as a bucket of cold water to the face to get their shit together. Ludlam’s got a good chance, and a weird result like 3 Lib, 1 ALP, 1 Grn, 1 Shooter is quite possible.

  2. I would not write off the nationals chance of picking up a seat. They got around 5 percent in the state election in the legislative council, with Max Trenorden running winning some national support. Also with the collapse of the Labor vote outside of Perth the Nationals are in a lot better position in taking advantage of that. Also the Liberals were willing to put the shooters in front of the Nationals on there how to vote cards during the state election which they may not do again. There were some really strange preference deals between the Greens, Family First, and the Shooters during the state election which could throw all my predictions into the wind if repeated during the federal election, but its hard to see what the Greens could offer the minor right wing parties since they are likely to be well low a quota in their own right. I would keep a very close eye on who the Liberals preference this election.

  3. Coming Senate contest is fascinating in that no doubt any newbies will owe some of their success to Glenn Druery’s strategizing. As he did for the Shooters and Fishers in WA, Now I reckon they are happy little vegemites, with a Smith And Western smile.
    At his first minor parties and independents meeting back in 1999, I met Glenn Druery Back then I could feel his presence in the room where he showed an complete understanding of the electoral system. All the rest of us were dummies by comparison. But, his major weakness and the reason he didn’t get up I feel, is because he was so tied up in organising all of us, he neglected his own ticket. But he still managed to get elect three minor parties Well done Glenn Druery.
    Thanks for a great site Ben,
    Druery, …carefully watching your next move.. Election 2013 will be entertaining just watching what you do for the minor parties.

  4. WA will be one of the most interesting Senate races in the country this election. If I was to take a punt, I’d say the Liberals would be poised to claim three seats (David Johnston, Michaelia Cash and Linda Reynolds), Labor will likely claim two although some suggest only one (Joe Bullock and Louise Pratt) and the final spot will be between the Nationals and the Greens (Scott Ludlam).

  5. electionlova – I agree with you here. It may not be the Nats, but most likely to be them as against another minor right party. The significant drop in the Green vote in the State election would suggest to me that the Greens probably won’t be successful and we will have 4 from the right here with probably 2 ALP.

  6. I suspect that the Nationals will pick up the sixth seat over the Greens.
    The Liberals will win three seats for sure, though you wouldn’t expect their vote to be strong enough to pick up a fourth seat. And you wouldn’t think that, despite being overwhelmingly on the nose here, Labor would win just the one seat – the statewide vote would probably have to fall to about 20% for that to happen.
    I tip the Greens to lose their seat, simply because their vote will have fallen considerably, and Labor probably wouldn’t be keen to direct preferences to the Greens because of some public perception of the Greens holding more sway over Labor than normal. And with the Nationals improving their vote of late, I see them getting a seat.

  7. Based on the figures at the WA state election and assuming (it is a big assumption) that the preferences flow the same way as 2010, it appears that the split would be 3 lib, 1 nat, 2 lab with the last spot being a very close race between the Greens and the Nat. I will make a bold call and predict it will be 3 lib, 2 lab and 1 green given it will come down to a few hundred votes at the end of the day..

  8. Pollster – that probably assumes a very similar voting pattern to 2010. If there is even a 1% swing against the ALP/Grn in WA, you would probably find the Nats picking up that last spot. But given the large vote for the right in the last federal election, your prediction could indeed be the correct one.

  9. I think the right will pick up the fourth senate seat because state Labor has two things going for them federal labor will not. Mark McGowan in my opnion was seen as a very likable guy with a family. He may have lost but the truth is he probably helped state labor out in the tpp vote. Also state Labor ran opposed to the carbon tax and mining tax. These two issues in my opnion hurt Labor the most federally especially in WA.

  10. State Labor is more in tune with WA then federal Labor and just listen to the languge used after the route.

    Former state Labor government minister Alannah MacTiernan has demanded that Gillard now resign. MacTiernan said many Labor Party supporters had told her during the campaign that they would vote Labor in the state election, but not in the upcoming federal poll. “It’s pretty simple and it’s pretty brutal, and they are saying they don’t like Julia Gillard and they don’t believe her,” she told the ABC. “If we do not take note of this, there is going to be an absolute massacre in the federal election.”

  11. According to the front page of this morning’s West, David Wirrpanda (used to play for the West Coast Eagles not so long ago) is running for the National Party in the senate. It’s kinda believable that he’d go into politics, considering his post-footy career for the last few years (he did a lot less drugs than certain other ex-Eagles), but the Nats? Imagine an Aboriginal footy player in his 30’s sharing a party with Barnaby Joyce and a lot of old men in Akubras. He’s certainly a well-known and respected bloke (even by Dockers supporters) and has a better chance than some random wheat farmer nobody’s ever heard of, but it’s still weird.

  12. Yeah, I’d have thought Wirrpanda would be ALP or Liberal.

    Would increase the Nats diversity though :p

    Although Nigel Smart tried to go into politics not long after he quit the Crows.

  13. There’s been a few football players who’ve gone into politics. Maurice Rioli and Justin Madden are the best examples I can think of off-hand (NT and Vic respectively), and Peter Bell was apparently asked to be Labor’s candidate in the 2009 Fremantle by-election in WA (although I’m not sure how serious that ever was). Paul Couch ran for the Nats in the Vic state seat of Polwarth in 1999, which makes sense for a bloke from Warrnambool who played for Geelong.

    Nigel Smart definitely picked the wrong election, in hindsight. He ran for the Libs in Norwood in 2006, a landslide victory for Labor. Four years later, Labor won the next election, but lost Don Dunstan’s old seat.

  14. Doug Hawkins is running in the second spot on the PUP ticket in Vic. Might be worth a few points in the western subs.

  15. Imagine an Aboriginal footy player in his 30′s sharing a party with Barnaby Joyce and a lot of old men in Akubras.

    Everyone in the Nationals saw what happened in the Northern Territory last election. The National’s are looking like they are going to be a lot livelier party than they have been in a while.

  16. Doug Hawkins is running in the second spot on the PUP ticket in Vic. Might be worth a few points in the western subs.

    Glenn Lazarus is also running on the PUP ticket in Queensland. Except he’s first IIRC.

  17. Wirrpanda’s profile could help the Nats here and they don’t need much of a swing to gain the seat (or some other form of minor right candidate).

    But given the leadership change I lean towards the Greens saving their seat here.

  18. One of the problems for Wirrpanda is the Nats only contesting Durack and O’Connor. Will they have people handing out Senate HTVs in Perth? Will there be Perth TV ads? These are the key questions.

  19. I notice that the primary vote here swung noticeably towards the minor parties (including Nationals as a “minor party”, since they’re under 15%) in 2010. Is there any particular reason to think that this will not happen again, that minor parties will garner more of the vote?

    In house seats, I can understand why, after a minority parliament, people might be less likely to vote for minor parties. But in the senate, balance of power has been a mainstay, anyway. So could we see further erosion of Liberal and Labor votes in favour of the ever-growing list of minor parties?

    Basically, I’m wondering if Liberals might not get three quotas in their own right, and Labor might not get the second quota in their own right, potentially opening up the field for minor parties to get ahead of them.

  20. AC:

    Will there be Perth TV ads?

    Do they need them? The Nats spent about a year before the 2008 election running ads on GWN, specifically to country WA, and it worked where it needed to. The ads were not seen in Perth and not known about by Perth-based Lib or ALP folk, except for those who had rural connections, so their surprisingly good result in 2008 came out of the blue.

    (East coasters: if you’ve ever stayed in some little town in WA for the night, and the TV in your motel room only picks up ABC and one other channel, that channel is GWN. Lots of ads for tractors and water tanks, and random small businesses in Bunbury or Albany or Geraldton. Their newsreader, Noel Brunning, ran as an independent for Forrest in 2007 and got about 12% of the vote.)

  21. Glen Druery was paid by Shooters and Fishers party and Fishing and Lifestyle to get these parties elected. What he didn’t bank on was so many parties doing deals with each other and risking his Shooter and Fishers party and the other mob being outpolled. How did he deal with this? Being the adaptable little vegemite that he is, he lied to all the minor parties and didn’t stick to his deals. Shooters and Fishers will get elected, so will Fishing and Lifestyle. How? From lying and cheating their way into parliament. Compliments of Glen Druery.

  22. I’ve been playing with the senate calculator for the senate…

    Does anyone else think the Australian Sports Party, with a high number of preferences from all minor parties, might actually be able to achieve a Senate seat?

    If ALL minor parties pick up votes as a protest against Labor, Liberal and the Greens then the Australian Sports Party seems like the biggest chance of all the minor parties. They may take a seat off Labor OR the Greens.

    Even with Wirrpanda, I don’t think the Nationals will get enough primary votes to overcome their lack of preferences from the minor parties.

    I’ve done simulations where the Sports Party gets less than 0.4% primary vote, but still secures a sixth seat!!!

  23. Playing around with AG’s calculator, I alway seem to get the Australian Sports Party elected provided they get 0.4% of the vote……….

  24. Their webpage is very thin, basically ‘we support sport and healthy living…’

    Does anyone know anything about them?

  25. Ive got the Sports Party elected too, but they need the very early count to go their way quite a bit. They need to outpoll either HEMP, Australian Voice, Rise Up, or Motoring and then ride that wave enough to overtake one of Shooter and Fishers, Family First, Sex, Australian Christians, LDP and Wiki – then sweeping up the rest. If they can overcome the micro parties then they should overcome the medium parties.

  26. I dont think the Sports Party’s chances are that good actually, they need something like 0.3 or 0.4% and while admittedly it is difficult to tell at such low levels, I would think they’d poll less than this. In order of likelyhood I’d say 3lib, 2alp, 1grn, then 3lib, 2alp, 1nat, then 3lib, 2alp, 1sport. I do not think ALP can miss out on a second.

  27. The Senate race is fucking weird this time around if we’re talking about the Australian Sports Party as a smokey for the last seat, just like the Climate Skeptics in South Australia.

  28. I can’t help but feel if the “Sex Party” can get 2.25% based on their name (I doubt many of those 2% know much about the party) then the “Sports Party” can easily attract 0.4 or 0.5% on name also… Jonathan Green on ABC has suggested the ‘donkey vote’ first ballot spot tends to contribute at most about 1%.

    It will take a big swing against the Greens and/or Labor, but I wouldn’t be surprised if WA delivered that. It’d also probably take a few protest votes against the Liberals (if the Libs secure significantly above their third quota and the Nationals do well, then Lib preference will possibly get Wirra over the line).

    I think it’s more likely with Abbott and Rudd both largely unpopular and the Greens negatively viewed in mining-dominated states that we’ll see an increase in minor party votes and that would edge the Sports Party into the 6th (possibly even 5th) spot.

  29. The sports party don’t have the first column, so I doubt they will get up to 0.4% of the vote. The first column is the “smokers’ rights party” and they don’t get any early preferences so they also aren’t in the race.

    I think Nats v Greens v Shooters for the last spot.

  30. KAP’s senate candidate here is Anthony Fels. He’s been party-hopping lately… he was a WA Liberal MLC (Agricultural region), before being kicked out of the party for links to Noel Crichton Browne (the Liberal version of Brian Burke). He ran on the Family First ticket in 2008, but didn’t get elected; then ran as an independent in 2010 (federal) and 2013 (WA), both times with his 2008 FF running mate, Felly Chandra. Now he’s onto his third party in five years.

  31. And the Sports party looks like getting up with less than 0.25% of the vote. WTF (Where’s This From)…… Does any one know anything about them? If these guys get elected and the Australian Motorists Enthuasits party gets up with c0.5% of the vote in Victoria and the Liberal Democrats get up from “trading off” the liberal name and the first colum on the NSW then we truely have “unrepresentive swill”. Will have to be refrom of the voting system for the Senate in the next parliament. If not my golf/cricket/football/chess club will become a political party and run for the senate. We may get “lucky” with preference flows and end up with the balance of power in the Senate and what great facilities we will have…………..

  32. Sports Party seems like it’s not some sort of con or joke but genuinely represents what their name implies… access to and reduced cost of community sports, funding for local parks and promoting healthy and active lifestyle in Australia.

    I know someone who knows the potential senator and has nothing but nice things to say about him. Engineer and part of the family that has run American Football in WA for a number of years.

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