Pearce – Australia 2019

LIB 3.6%

Incumbent MP
Christian Porter, since 2013.

Regional areas to the north and east of Perth. Pearce covers the entirety of Beverley, Northam, Toodyay, York, Chittering and Gingin council areas, and parts of Swan and Wanneroo councils.

Pearce was created for the 1990 election, and in its short history it has always been held by the Liberal Party.

Pearce was first won in 1990 by Fred Chaney. Chaney had been a Liberal Senator since 1974, and had served as Leader of the Opposition in the Senate from 1984 until he left the Senate to take a seat in the House of Representatives. Chaney had also served as a minister in the Fraser government from 1978 to 1983. Chaney retired from Pearce in 1993.

Pearce was won in 1993 by Liberal candidate Judi Moylan. Moylan served as a junior minister in the first term of the Howard government, and then served as a backbencher until her retirement in 2013.

Pearce was won in 2013 by Liberal candidate Christian Porter, a former minister in the state government. Porter has served as Social Services Minister since 2015.


Pearce is a reasonably marginal Liberal seat, following a large swing to Labor in 2016. Porter is a prominent MP, but shouldn’t take his seat for granted.

2016 result

Christian Porter Liberal 39,55145.4-1.7
Thomas French Labor 29,80934.3+8.1
Lee-Anne Miles Greens 9,54311.0+1.1
Maddison Simmonds Nationals 4,0804.7+0.1
Taffy Samuriwo-VuntardeRise Up Australia4,0494.7+3.7

2016 two-party-preferred result

Christian Porter Liberal 46,67253.6-5.7
Thomas French Labor 40,36046.4+5.7

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into four parts. Polling places closest to Perth, covering most of the seat’s population, have been split between the Swan and Wanneroo council areas, with the rest split into east and north.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in every area, ranging from 50.1% in Wanneroo (a majority of 44 votes) to 63.6% in the north.

The Greens primary vote ranged from 8.3% in the north to 11.7% in Wanneroo.

Voter groupGRN prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes12.954.215,33417.6

Election results in Pearce at the 2016 federal election
Click on the ‘visible layers’ box to toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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  1. Probably the most interesting race in WA, Porter is a pretty high profile MP but this seat is now in an area which should be solid labor territory. +19.5 in Butler and +14.5 in Ellenbrook (swan hills). Outer suburbs of Perth swung the hardest at the state election.

    Libs would have to throw an enormous amount of money at the problem to even have a chance of defending it. labor candidate seems strong and I imagine they will put plenty of resources here this time.

    Porter would be wise to move seats, this seat will only become more difficult for libs in the future

  2. If the Libs see a big swing on in WA at the next Federal eleciton like the one at the last state election, then I’d expect them to put Pearce in the too hard basket, and focus on trying to save Stirling and Canning (and even possibly Moore looking at the state level swings).

  3. Libs won’t abandon Porter, but Travers is the best candidate Labor has ever put up here and she will have the most campaign support behind her.

    Newspoll reckons the WA swing to Labor is larger than the national one, so this has to be one to watch.

  4. I looked back at the state election results again. It’s bleaker for Porter than I remembered.

    The state results by federal electorate are here:

    1 in 6 people who voted Labor at the state election will need to change their vote to Liberal for Porter to survive.

    I think the Liberals will try to pull what Labor successfully did with Albanese in Grayndler 2016; retain the high profile incumbent and hope his personal profile can weather the “inevitable” swing. The circumstances are very different however.

  5. Agree this will be a fascinating contest in WA.

    Whilst Travers may be the best candidate Labor have endorsed in Pearce, Porter has very high levels of name recognition and you’d assume, support.

    I think the Liberals would be stupid to not throw everything at holding Pearce, even at the expense of losing Swan, Hasluck and even retaining Canning/Stirling.

    Porter is future leadership material for the party, especially if they find themselves in opposition.

  6. Meanwhile in Curtin…

    *knock knock*

    Julie Bishop: “Who’s there?”

    “It’s Christian Porter!”

    “Christian Porter…who?”

    *sobbing sound on other side of door is heard*

  7. I’ve read Christian Porter has stated on radio recently that he has ruled out changing seats to Curtin. Yes Julie Bishop has said she will be re-contesting Curtin but I’ve now read reports some expect her to do a U-Turn and quit before the next federal election.
    If Porter did move seats then you could probably write off the Liberals off in Pearce. The trouble is for the Liberals even with Porter re-contesting he is now going to be further behind the eight ball after the damaging leadership stoush that has hurt the Liberals chances at the next election. The fact Porter admitted voting for Peter Dutton doesn’t make him look like a innocent player in all this either despite him suggesting a change of Prime minster shouldn’t have happened.

    Right now I would tip a Labor gain. Unless something miraculous happens or Morrison can tighten the National polls its just hard seeing Porter being able to hold Labor off in this seat after what has transpired with the federal Liberals recently.

  8. This may be the last time Porter needs to defend Pearce as a marginal. WA will likely lose a seat in a redistribution during the next term and Pearce will likely be at the pointy end of the changes, either being abolished or being dramatically transformed (it’s rural areas will be required to get the country divisions up to an increased quota).

    I’ve messed around with some scenarios and one of the more reasonable options I came up with saw a significant territory swap between Pearce and Cowan, so that Cowan becomes more of a City of Wanneroo division, including picking up the coastal part of that LGA where I understand Porter to live. If that happened, Cowan would probably be a Liberal seat that Porter could quite justifiably switch to.

  9. My personal view is that Pearce is a good candidate for abolition. It consists of various different “bits and pieces” that don’t have much connection with each other, and could be carved up neatly between surrounding seats.

  10. The problem with eliminating Pearce is that I couldn’t see a sensible way to do it that doesn’t require Canning to extend even further north than it currently does (to take part of Hasluck which would have absorbed a large part of Pearce). However there is a problem with Pearce, in that once you take away the rural LGAs, it is almost split in two, with the Wanneroo LGA portion almost cut off from the rest.

    My solution was to put the coastal Wanneroo LGA bit into Cowan, while the new Pearce (possibly with a name change because it would be almost unrecognisable) would gain some of the eastern part of Cowan and the northern part of Hasluck, and that division would shuffle south towards Armadale. I would probably eliminate Burt, but only after exhausting ways to eliminate the hopelessly under-quota Tangney instead.

    Speaking of Tangney, one of my “when I get time projects” (which means it will probably never happen) is to do a deep dive into the enrolment projection methodology to try and figure out just how they came up with a projection (for the last redistribution) that Tangney’s enrolment was going to grow at something materially north of zero. The projected growth rates across WA for that redistribution were in a hopelessly narrow range (every division was between 4.2% and 7.2% across the projection period) and it shows up in the current enrolment discrepancies.

  11. This seat was mentioned on Insiders yesterday suggesting it was lineball. There has been some mention of WA Liberals executive appointing their own canidate for Curtain with possibly Christian Porter in mind. But I believe that is looking less likely to happen now.

    I read now in the Western Australian its reported Porter is getting heat for giving a plum job to someone who worked for a company who was able to organise lending a campaign bus for his campaign.

    Its also been reported in the Western Australian Porter as Attorney General he has recently stacked the AAT with former coalition politicians making transparency and bipartisanship a joke. I would be happy for this clown to lose his seat he now lurks where Peter Dutton and Tim Wilson are as an unprincpled Liberal party headkicker.

  12. @David, same as any outer urban electorate. Interest rates, cost of living, transport and infrastructure. I agree with the poll this is lineball and we won’t have a result on the night. Libs will throw the kitchen sink at this (also Canning and Stirling) which will have knock-on effects on seats such as Cowan and Perth where the Liberal vote will slump and Anne Aly and Patrick Gorman’s margins will blow out so they romp home easily. Will be similar to in 2010 where the Libs sandbagged Pyne and Southcott in their Sturt and Boothby while seeing blowouts in Makin, Wakefield and Kingston. Anyone’s guess at this stage really.

  13. echt
    The poll was hopelessly flawed. It’s methodology for preferences was simply pathetic, & shallow. Porter may be challenged, but is he really under threat ?? Do you really think he won’t get most of the preferences. Porter is the most senior WA liberal, & he has been a successful AG.

  14. Pearce hasn’t been redistributed since 2016, and the numbers of voters on Perth’s northern urban fringe have only grown substantially since. If Labor doesn’t pick up Pearce they won’t gain any other seats in WA.

  15. Malcolm – I have to disagree, re if Labor doesn’t pick up Pearce they won’t get any other seats in WA. I think in order (I.e. which seats will fall) 1. Swan, 2. Hasluck, 3. Canning, 4.Pearce and 5.Stirling. Therefore I think 3 seats are more likely to fall before Pearce.

  16. Enrolment in Pearce has grown by about 12,000 since the last election. The big question is whether the main part of the growth has been in the Liberal or Labor voting parts of the seat. Picking up on earlier posts – Pearce in 2022 is going to be a way different seat than Pearce in 2019. Not only is it way bigger than any other WA seat but WA will lose a seat as well.

  17. WA isn’t due for a redistribution until 2023, although WA could lose a seat to trigger an early redistribution, or 6 (or more) seats could be more than 10% away from quota (Pearce would be one of them).

    Again, 1 in 6 of the people who voted Labor in this seat at the state election would need to change their vote to Liberals for Porter to retain. That’s not impossible, but it would be areas like Ellenbrook and Yanchep growing, not Gingin. State Labor’s rail projects seem to be on track and are very relevant for this area.

    The poll showing Porter at 50/50 is a monumental achievement for him, but if I remember correctly, Reachtel is landline only, and it would not reflect the growth in this seat.

  18. Virtually all the growth in Pearce since the last election has been in the greenfields areas adjacent to the Perth Metro area, and if the last state election is anything to go by, they are likely to heavily swing towards Labor. For this reason I think Pearce will be the first Liberal seat to fall however I agree it is debatable which of Swan, Hasluck and Pearce will fall first. I am almost certain that Pearce would fall before Canning.

    The incoming voters in Pearce are mostly young whereas Canning has a large retiree vote centred around Mandurah and enough of them will be annoyed at the impact Labor’s negative gearing and superannuation changes to make it the most difficult to win of Labor’s potential gains.

    My predicted order of possible gains from most likely to least likely for Labor would be Pearce, Hasluck, Swan, Stirling, Canning, of these I’d expect Labor to gain 3 of these seats.

  19. There’s a galaxy seat poll that has Porter just ahead on 51-49 2PP, however on the primaries it looks line ball to me with Porter on 40, labor 35, Greens 11, ON 5 and only 2 for Palmer.

    Usual complaints about seat polls, I imagine labor’s vote will go up by more than 0.7 compared to 2016.

  20. Labor campaigning in Pearce today, whilst Morrison was in the area yesterday. Definitely a seat to watch on the night

    Feel like it’s 50/50, but I’ll let my inner partisan out and predict a close ALP gain off the back of Getup resources.

  21. Seems like Porter’s profile, & personal vote have will get him over the line Labor will still get one or both of Hasluck, & Swan.

  22. WD

    I read in the AFR that labor are most confident about Swan and Stirling interestingly, with libs sources saying they may hold Pearce and Hasluck due in part to the local members like you say. Would certainly be a big scalp for llabor if Porter falls.

    It seems there is a swing on in WA based on the bunch of galaxy polls that have the LNP marginal seats all around 50-50 or 51-49. Picking up 2 seats or so here may be important to labor getting a comfortable majority

  23. Boaty 1025
    Peta Credlin expressed a view. Non Watchers of SKY may have issue with her, however her contacts are irrefutable from BOTH sides. She believes (stated) that Irons, & Wyatt became very inactive (lazy) under Turnbull, perhaps believing they were gone. When MT went they were “reinvigorated”. In contrast Porter never let up. Porter is an enlightened functional TYPE 1 Fixation – Reformer. (Mandela, Gandhi, John Lennon, ) Fabulous contrast to the fanatical grub Di Natale !. Never stops working, & doing whats right. Would make a far better PM THAN Morrison, but not as good as Hastie.

    Stirling is just wishful thinking. There will be a vicious swing though.


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