Swan – Election 2010

ALP 0.3%

Incumbent MP
Steve Irons (Liberal Party), since 2007.

Swan covers suburbs in the inner south of Perth. This includes South Perth, Victoria Park and parts of Belmont and Canning LGAs. Swan goes as far east as the airport.

The seat expanded slightly to the south to take in Ferndale, Lynwood and Langford. The redistribution saw the 0.1% margin for the Liberals become a 0.6% margin for the ALP.

Swan is an original federation electorate. It was first held by John Forrest for the Protectionist party from 1901. Forrest was the first Premier of Western Australia and moved to federal politics in 1901. He served as a minister in various governments, including four stints as Treasurer, the last being in the year up until his death in 1918 under Billy Hughes.

The ensuing by-election was won by 21-year-old Labor candidate Edwin Corboy when the Nationalist and Country Party candidates split the conservative vote. This led to the government introducing preference voting, and he lost the seat at the 1919 election to John Prowse of the Country Party. The  Country part held the seat until 1943, first John Prowse then Henry Gregory and Thomas Marwick. Marwick was defeated by the ALP’s Donald Mountjoy in 1943, and Mountjoy was defeated by the Country Party’s Leonard Hamilton in 1946.

The Parliament was expanded in 1949 and Hamilton moved to the new seat of Canning, and the Liberal Party’s Bill Grayden won the seat. The ALP’s Harry Webb won the seat in 1954 and held it for one term until 1955, when he moved to the new seat of Stirling. Richard Cleaver of the Liberals won the seat in 1955 and held it until his defeat in 1969.

Adrian Bennett held the seat for the ALP from 1969 until 1975, when John Martyr won the seat for the Liberals. Martyr was a former state secretary of the Democratic Labor Party. He was defeated in 1980 by Kim Beazley.

Beazley held the seat until 1996, when he moved to the safer seat of Brand. Don Randall won the seat for the Liberals in 1996 and was defeated in 1998. He later moved to the nearby seat of Canning and has held it since 2001.

ALP candidate Kim Wilkie won Swan in 1998. He held the seat until the 2007 election, when he was the only sitting Labor MP to be unseated, losing to Steve Irons.


  • Tim Hammond (Labor)
  • Joe Lopez (Socialist Equality Party)
  • Rebecca Leighton (Greens)
  • Steve Klomp (Christian Democratic Party)
  • Barry Drennan (Family First)
  • Steve Irons (Liberal) – Member for Swan since 2007.
  • Bret Treasure (Sex Party)

Political situation
Swan is an incredibly vulnerable seat, and Steve Irons will be in great danger of losing if there is any swing away from the Liberals. It is the Liberals’ most vulnerable seat in Western Australia, where the Liberals currently hold a majority of seats. Once you take into consideration the redistribution improving Labor’s position, this seat will be very interesting.

2007 result

Steve IronsLIB32,18344.28+0.14
Kim WilkieALP29,54440.65+0.73
Kim LissonGRN7,36510.13+1.84
Tasman GilbertCDP1,2101.66-0.09
Linda RossIND6560.90+0.90
Joy HarrisON6470.89-0.89
Damon FowlerFF5790.80-0.04
Mark DixonLDP2430.33+0.33
Joe LopezSEP1570.22+0.22
Norman GayCEC920.13-0.16

2007 two-candidate-preferred result

Steve IronsLIB36,42050.11+0.19
Kim WilkieALP36,25649.89-0.19

Results do not take into consideration effects of the redistribution.

Booth breakdown
I have divided the booths into four areas according to the four main local government areas in the seat. Booths have been sorted according to those in Victoria Park, South Perth, Canning and Belmont LGAs. A small part of the seat is in Gosnells LGA and these have been included with Canning.

Most of the area in the seat is slightly pro-Labor, with three of the four areas (which are of similar size) voting for the ALP by 54-7%. These areas, however, have been outweighed by the very strongly pro-Liberal areas in South Perth, where the Liberals won over 62%.

Polling booths in Swan. South Perth in green, Victoria Park in orange, Canning in blue and Belmont in red.
Polling booths in Swan. South Perth in green, Victoria Park in orange, Canning in blue and Belmont in red.
Voter groupGRN %ALP 2CP %Total votes% of ordinary votes
South Perth8.9437.6518,12628.49
Victoria Park12.2154.7713,05520.52
Other votes10.8848.3314,361
Polling booths in Swan
Polling booths in Swan


  1. You’re certainly churning these out in a hurry. Every time I come here now there’s a new seat up. Many thanks!

    How many more have you got in the pipeline?

  2. I don’t have any in the pipeline. I do them one at a time. But I need to get a lot done during the summer if I have a chance of getting a large number done for the election. I’m using the lull to write as many as possible, so don’t expect much on the front page of the blog for the next month.

  3. The funny thing about Wilkie going down in 2007 was the size of the swing. One of the smallest swings anywhere in the country, but that’s all it took. Meanwhile, the region is never notable at state elections, because it’s made up (mostly) of the state seats of Victoria Park and South Perth, which pretty much always have a >10% margin for Labor and Libs respectively. Put ’em together and it becomes very different.

    Also, keep an eye on the Lynwood booth. That booth somehow got a >20% vote for the Greens last state election (state seat of Cannington), and was the only one above 20% outside the areas you’d expect (Freo, the hills, a few SW towns). It may just have been a “we hate Bill Johnston” effect, but may yet be interesting.

  4. Donald Mountjoy who won for Labor in 1943 may have been a secret member of the Communist Party.
    Swan was Labor on 1975 figures after the 1976 redistribution so it was a particularity bad result for Labor.

  5. In the unlikely instance that anyone who lives round here reads this…


    The Sex Party and Greens candidates are having an alternative debate at the Rivervale Hotel tomorrow night (unfortunately I work a night job, otherwise I’d be there). Looks like WA Today were having a bit of a slow news day, running an article on that. Sounds like a pile of fun though.

  6. Think Steve Irons will retain Swan pretty easily. His campaign on the ground seems a lot better resourced, and the electorate (as with most WA electorates) is becoming increasingly affluent nonetheless will be interesting to watch no doubt.

  7. I just discovered that Bret Treasure has a blog about his Swan campaign at http://swanelectionblog.com/. You might want to add the link to that as with the ALP, Liberal and Greens candidates.

    I don’t know whether or not the SEP, CDP and FFP candidates have websites.

Comments are closed.