Perth – Australia 2022

ALP 3.2%

Incumbent MP
Patrick Gorman, since 2018.

Geography
Central and northeastern Perth. The seat covers the Perth CBD, which is in the southwestern corner of the seat. Perth runs along the northern shore of the Swan river, to the east of the Perth CBD. Other suburbs include Maylands, Mount Lawley, Bayswater, Ashfield, Bedford, Morley and Mount Hawthorn.

Redistribution
There were changes to suburbs on the northern edge of Perth, losing Noranda to Cowan and gaining Dianella, Yokine, Tuart Hill from Stirling. These changes reduced the Labor margin from 4.9% to 3.2%.

History
Perth is an original federation seat. It was dominated by conservative parties until the 1940s, and became a marginal seat until the early 1980s. It has been held by the ALP ever since 1983.

Perth was first won in 1901 by the ALP’s James Fowler. Fowler was a fierce opponent of Billy Hughes within the party, and he switched to the new Liberal Party in 1909. He joined the new Nationalist Party in 1916, but his conflict with Hughes made this difficult. He lost Nationalist endorsement before the 1922 election, and lost Perth.

Nationalist candidate Edward Mann won Perth in 1922. He was re-elected in 1925 and 1928, but in 1929 was one of a number of Nationalist MPs led by Billy Hughes to rebel against the Bruce government and lead to the government’s downfall. Mann lost Perth as an independent in 1929.

Perth was won in 1929 by Nationalist candidate Walter Nairn. Nairn became a United Australia Party member in 1931, and held the seat for the next decade. He served as Speaker from 1940 to 1943, and retired at the 1943 election.

The ALP’s Tom Burke won Perth in 1943. He held the seat for the next twelve years, until 1955, when he lost Perth to the Liberal Party’s Fred Chaney. Burke was expelled from the ALP in 1957, although he later rejoined the party. His sons Terry Burke and Brian Burke were both later elected to the Western Australian state parliament, and Brian went on to become Premier.

Chaney held Perth for the next fourteen years. He served in Robert Menzies’ ministry from 1964 to 1966, but was dropped from the frontbench when Harold Holt became Prime Minister in 1966. He lost Perth in 1969. He went on to serve as Administrator of the Northern Territory and Lord Mayor of Perth.

Perth was won in 1969 by the ALP’s Joe Berinson. He was re-elected in 1972 and 1974, and in July 1975 was appointed Minister for the Environment in the Whitlam government. He lost his seat at the 1975 election. He went on to serve in the Western Australian state parliament and as a minister in a number of state Labor governments.

The Liberal Party’s Ross McLean won Perth in 1975, and held the seat as a backbencher for the entirety of the Fraser government, losing the seat in 1983.

Perth was won in 1983 by the ALP’s Ric Charlesworth. Charlesworth had been caption of the Australian men’s field hockey team, and represented Australia at five Olympics in the 1970s and 1980s. He captained the team at two Olympics while he held the seat of Perth. Charlesworth also played Sheffield Shield cricket for Western Australia in the 1970s.

Charlesworth held Perth for ten years, retiring in 1993 at the age of 41. He was replaced by Stephen Smith, former Keating advisor and State Secretary of the ALP in WA.

Smith was promoted to the Labor frontbench after the 1996 election, and served as a shadow minister in a variety of portfolios until 2007. Smith served as Foreign Minister in the first term of the last Labor government, and as Defence Minister in the second term, before retiring at the 2013 federal election.

In 2013, Perth was won by Labor’s Alannah MacTiernan. MacTiernan had been a state MP from 1993 to 2010, and a minister in the Gallop/Carpenter state Labor government. She had resigned from state Parliament in 2010 to unsuccessfully contest the federal seat of Canning. After that loss, she had served as Mayor of Vincent from 2011 until her election to federal Parliament in 2013.

MacTiernan retired in 2016, and was succeeded by Labor’s Tim Hammond.

Hammond held the seat for less than two years before quitting in early 2018. The subsequent by-election was won by Labor’s Patrick Gorman. Gorman was re-elected in 2019.

Candidates

  • Cameron Bailey (One Nation)
  • Dean Powell (Australian Christians)
  • Sean Connor (Great Australian Party)
  • Dave Vos (Western Australia Party)
  • Sarah Szmekura-Moor (Animal Justice)
  • Patrick Gorman (Labor)
  • Evan Nickols (Liberal Democrats)
  • Sonya Eberhart (United Australia)
  • Caroline Perks (Greens)
  • David Dwyer (Liberal)
  • Aiden Gyuru (Federation)
  • Assessment
    Perth is a marginal seat, and has been made more marginal by the redistribution, but the recent results were recorded at a time when Labor was at a low point in Western Australia. If Labor bounces back in the west they should have no trouble retaining Perth.

    2019 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
    Jim Grayden Liberal 32,80037.4-4.939.0
    Patrick Gorman Labor 30,20734.4-2.933.6
    Caroline Perks Greens 16,55218.9+1.818.4
    Mel LowndsOne Nation2,3332.7+2.72.7
    Jane BoxallWestern Australia Party2,2222.5+2.52.4
    Chas HopkinsUnited Australia Party1,6611.9+1.91.8
    Gary DaviesScience Party1,3291.5+1.51.2
    Curtis GreeningFlux6020.7+0.70.5
    Others0.4
    Informal4,2204.6+0.8

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
    Patrick Gorman Labor 48,17654.9+1.653.2
    Jim Grayden Liberal 39,53045.1-1.646.8

    Booth breakdown

    Polling places in Perth have been divided into three parts: central, east and west.

    Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 53.8% in the west to 59.8% in the east. The Liberal Party counterbalanced those results with 50.9% in the pre-poll vote.

    The Greens did well in Perth, with a primary vote ranging from 19.6% in the east to 20.3% in the west.

    Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    West20.253.829,70930.5
    Central20.355.516,63617.1
    East19.659.814,87515.3
    Pre-poll14.749.119,21719.7
    Other votes16.349.117,08417.5

    Election results in Perth at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor and the Greens.

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    34 COMMENTS

    1. I’d be keen to see how this contest plays out.

      Patrick should retain but victory ABOUSTELY not guaranteed.

      Redistribution makes this a more marginal seat than usual (always has been), Patrick Gorman’s main challenger probably will come from The Greens rather than the Liberals unless a strong swing occurs towards the Libs. Greens won Northbridge TAFE booth in 2019, and won 20% of the vote more in more than 20 booths.

      Liberals haven’t endorsed/announced a candidate yet – Caroline Perks is running for the seat again quite popular candidate within the party & in the electorate.

      A future three-way seat like Macnamara, Griffith or Brisbane.

    2. Labor will win but the primary gap between Labor and Greens will probably narrow. Even though the redistribution doesn’t seem to have increased the Green primary however Joondana, Turat Hill and Yokine has a much better potential for growth for Greens Noranda and Morely did.

    3. I think Perth will be a wildcard seat in WA. A possible three-way split. The Liberal candidate who ever they preselect it likely lead on first preferences but a Green win from 3PP is an outside chance.

      Especially considering suburbs like Maylands, Northbridge, Bayswater, North Perth and Highgate are comparable to suburbs in Macnamara, Griffith and parts of central Melbourne.

    4. CG – for a 3 party contest the Greens will have to grow significantly with Labor falling. I cannot see that in this next election. Labor’s vote will grow, Liberals will decrease and who knows what happens with the Greens – remain the same. Having lived in Perth I don’t know how this is similar to Macnamara.

    5. Perth is a clear Labor retain, in future could be a three-way contest but it would need to be reduce in size and be centred on the inner suburbs.

    6. The major party vote is too evenly matched for Greens to be a threat. Maybe in a low tide ALP election they could leapfrog a win on preferences. But that won’t be 2022. In fact I think ALP will win the primary vote.

      Greens won’t be able to overtake Liberals but will have a good showing (low 20s?). The Greens senate strategy revolves around running their vote up here.

    7. Liberals have announced their candidate for Perth rather late in game. David Dwyer, a former candidate for them in Roe.

    8. Why did they choose someone who doesn’t even live in the seat and was parachuted from southern WA? Do they not care about community’s anymore? How can Scotty from marketing say his government works for all Australians when they just parachute candidates from other parts of the country?

      Maybe they are conceding this seat but nobody wants to vote for a party who is giving up and conceding. Sound like Zak Kirkup saying there’s no chance of winning. You can’t just take peoples support for granted by assuming how they will vote.

      The liberals would have been better served with a local who could run and lose this time and then run again in 3 years time but they have decided against this.

      Labor should get a 10% margin post-election here. Won’t even be close but expect it to become marginal again in 2025 or 2028.

      I’m also fully aware Labor does the same thing by parachuting candidates (the UK parties also do the same they have them run in a no-chance seat then move them somewhere else in the country at the next election) this is not good enough because you are elected to serve your constituency not to serve your party and their interests.

    9. The Liberal Party probably has written off most of the marginals and is focusing on the safer seats: Curtin, Tangney, Pearce, Forrest, Durack, O’Connor, Canning, and Forrest.

      Despite the Liberals regularly leading on the primary like in Macnamara, Cowan, Griffith, and Moreton, etc, Green preferences elects the ALP at final distribution. Patrick Gorman may lead on first preferences for the first time since the federal election.

      Candidates for Perth:

      Patrick Gorman (ALP)
      David Dwyer (LIB)
      Caroline Perks (GRN)

    10. The only seat in WA that would be a realistic Greens target in the near future would be Fremantle, in the scenario of a collapsing ALP government. And even then, while the area in the state seat of Freo is very fertile Greens territory, the outer parts of the federal Freo electorate are not so much.

      Perth is a long way off – if the ALP were to lose it, it would most likely be to the Libs who have held this seat before. I’d say it’s more like Brisbane than Melbourne in that respect, just a bit more ALP friendly. It may change over time, but I don’t see it as a realistic Greens target

    11. Patrick Gorman has been campaigning hard in Perth dropping off leaflets across the electorate. Particularly in Mount Lawley, Maylands and North Perth.

      When The Greens announced their candidate, A large ALP-Gorman poster was posted near North Metropolitan TAFE in Northbridge – the only booth that recorded a Green plurality win in Perth.

      Gorman likely sees the Greens as the long term threat.

    12. Strong possibility the Greens will start winning more primary vote at inner-city booths in Perth (Highgate, Highgate North, West Perth, Perth) etc.

      As in topping the vote in individual booths.

    13. ^^I think the Labor vote in WA is at a high point atm so that might suppress the Greens vote in Perth a bit. Generally expect the Greens vote to be down across the country in the lower house at least as they will lose some votes to teal independents, Bandt also doesn’t seem really cutting through as leader and where there is a sense of change in Government some Green voters seem to move to Labor.

    14. We’ve all discussed this to death, but most can probably agree the likely scenario is that they’re definitely in for ups and downs on a seat-by-seat basis, potentially very wild swings in some seats, but it’s not going to work out to be a dramatic change overall.

      As for Bandt – the party room is his main threat, and almost all the prospective class of 2022 would at least be ideological allies for him, with the exception of Peter Whish-Wilson (and maybe Elizabeth Watson-Brown, but I suspect she’s on the left too). The membership’s broadly behind Bandt’s strategy and won’t let it go back to the centrists without a fight, even if they’re not necessarily keen on Bandt personally as leader. I think he’ll stick around, and the Greens will control the balance of power, in the Senate if not the House. If Labor does manage to pass bills without Greens consent it’ll have to be with a frankenstein coalition passing centre-right nonsense, incensing the voters who were hoping for actual change rather than continuity Liberal government. More than likely Albo’s going to have to play ball, at least to some extent.

    15. with the acquisition of liberal voters from stirling and the loss of labor voters to cowan seat definately in play

    16. Only if polls suggesting about 10% swing to Labor in WA are miles off.

      It’s hard to see the Libs claiming any new seats in WA, they’ll be working hard to try and hold the ones they’ve got.

    17. Expat, are those state based polls for WA recent? I haven’t seen state based polls and the ones that I have seen show a narrowing of the Labor swing (These are mostly nationwide however, and they indicate that Pearce and Swan are no longer considered easy pickups, thus suggesting a swing to Labor of only a few percent.

      I do agree with the second part of your post that the Liberals will struggle to pick up Perth. With a narrowing of polls they do have a shot at winning Cowan (no longer considered a guaranteed Labor hold)

    18. Hard to imagine the Libs picking up anything, even with the swing narrowing. And of course, Perth is an inner city seat – not exactly the place I’d imagine Morrison to poll well. Still think Labor would be shooting for around 5% statewide swing so that puts them in a good position in Swan and Pearce. Hasluck is tougher.

    19. Patrick Gorman is probably the least liked WA Labor MP even among Labor voters, this should still be a fairly comfortable win for him though.

      In a normal Elections he would have had a tough time due to the redistribution & and the slow decline in Labor’s primary vote. This isn’t a normal election though, at least not in WA.

      The Libs have put forward a much better candidate than they did in previous elections, specially in 2019, still have absolutely no chance this time.

      I think Libs will probably end up on a primary of around 34% Labor around 35-37% and Greens will do well to maintain their vote around 20% and Gorman to win with a TTP of around 58%

    20. @Ben

      I haven’t read anywhere where the Liberals think Perth is in play. The only WA Labor held seat I have read where the Liberals have had a mumble about taking off Labor is Cowan. Liberals will be looking for a more defensive strategy in WA in retaining Swan, Pearce, and Hasluck.

      Barrie Cassidy also seems think Labor holding their launch in Perth will have a bigger impact then the eastern states. Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne has been done before. But holding it in WA for the first time will likely have more traction with Western Australians.

      Labor retain.

    21. @Ben, I actually expect a swing to Labor in the areas that were transferred from Stirling. Labor has not really campaigned in the those suburbs since 2004 and The Libs are likely to focus on holding there own in WA rather than pick anything off Labor. Look at Burt in 2016, covered a lot of areas where Labor did not bother campaigning for two elections and suddenly there was a swing. I expect the same in suburbs such as Yokine.

    22. Agree Nimalan, the suburbs transferred from Stirling (Yokine and Mount Lawley) fall into state seats that are naturally Labor leaning and are only won by Liberals when they are on the ascendancy (2008 and 2013).

      Just because an area was supportive of one party at a particular election does not mean it will continue at future elections, especially if there is a redistribution that transfers a community into a different district. Yass is one example where it becomes competitive when placed into a swing district (Eden Monaro) but reverts to its natural conservative lean when placed into a safe Coalition seat (Hume).

    23. Patrick Gorman seems like he has little public profile tbh, but Perth should be easily retained by Labor. Would expect both the Labor and Green primary vote to increase.

    24. Tbh I think people are backing Labor too heavily in the west. While a populist protectionist Labor govt got them in to state parliament federal Labor are another story in the west. Marginal swings maybe on the McGowan vote but won’t be the same bloodbath we saw in the state election. F Labor can’t win a seat here in WA they won’t be in the lodge.

    25. @ Yoh An, good point about Yass. Another good example was when the state seat of Goulburn was redrawn before the 2015 election and Labor campaigned strongly in 2015 also the seat of Macarthur when it was redrawn to be more competitive for Labor in 2016 followed by a huge swing once Labor actually campaigned in the area.

    26. Yoh An, that’s an interesting point you make about Yass. I don’t live far from there, but I am curious – why do you think that Yass votes in such a way? Is it to do with communities of interest, or because people have a sense of how the rest of the seat they are in plan to vote at any given time?

    27. Strong swing to The Greens in booths within borders of the state seat of Perth.

      11% swing in Highgate North
      7% swing in West Perth and North Perth
      Topped the poll in Mount Lawley East, Northbridge and Highgate North.

      This may be a Wills type seat where Labor will win but will face Greens in TPP but win on Liberal preferences.

    28. I have already run the numbers on the state seat of Perth (results in 2022) ALP 37.72% GRN 28.35% LIB24.58%, if Liberals prefrerence the Greens (like they did last election) then the it would come to something like ALP 46.3% vs GRN 44.3% before minor party preferences. Would easily be the best seat for Greens to target at the next state election.

    29. The seat finally joined the 20% club for Greens. They aren’t far off the range where they could make the runoff in a low tide election. A fully resourced “winnable seat” campaign may have seen them beat the Libs this time, though Labor would retain easily on Liberal preferences.

      I think this will be a Green target in 2025, though it will still be hard to overtake either major.

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