North West Central by-election, 2022

Cause of by-election
Sitting Nationals MP Vince Catania announced his plans to resign from parliament in June 2022.

MarginNAT 1.7%

North West Central covers northern parts of Western Australia, south of the Pilbara region. The largest town is Carnarvon, and the seat also covers Denham, Exmouth, Meekatharra, Paraburdoo and Tom Price.

Seats in the north west of the state have changed names and boundaries and it is difficult to identify a single predecessor to North West Central.

The current seat was formed in 2005 as North West Coastal from parts of the abolished seats of Burrup and Ningaloo. Both seats had existed since 1996.

Burrup was held over those nine years by the ALP’s Fred Riebeling, and Ningaloo was held by Rod Sweetman for the Liberal Party.

In 2005, Riebeling ran for the ALP in North West Coastal while Sweetman was unsuccessful in finding a seat elsewhere for either the Liberal Party or Family First. Riebeling won the seat despite a small swing to the Liberal Party.

In 2008, Riebeling retired and the ALP ran Vince Catania, who had served one term in the Legislative Council. Sweetman returned to run for the Liberals. The seat was renamed to North West after more areas further from the coast were added to the seat.

Catania won with no swing against him, despite only polling 36% of the vote, and the combined vote for the Liberal and National candidates almost reaching 49%. The Liberal candidate came second, with the Nationals a close third.

Catania resigned from the ALP and joined the Nationals in 2009, and he was re-elected to represent the renamed seat of North West Central in 2013, 2017 and 2021.

No information.

North West Central is just one of six seats currently held by opposition parties in the WA Legislative Assembly. The seat is very marginal, and could be vulnerable to Labor in the absence of the sitting member, who had been a Labor member when he first won the seat. On the other hand, it wouldn’t be surprising if local voters decided not to add yet another seat to the Labor supermajority.

2022 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Cherie Sibosado Labor 3,114 40.2 +13.5
Vince Catania Nationals 3,075 39.7 +3.6
Alys McKeough Liberal 611 7.9 -7.9
Sandy Burt Greens 318 4.1 -1.5
Stefan Colagiuri Shooters, Fishers & Farmers 233 3.0 +2.6
Robert Tonkin One Nation 232 3.0 -8.4
A Agyputri No Mandatory Vaccination 81 1.0 +1.0
Henry Seddon Independent 40 0.5 +0.5
Brendan McKay WAxit 37 0.5 +0.2
Informal 367 4.5

2022 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Vince Catania Nationals 3,997 51.7 -8.4
Cherie Sibosado Labor 3,738 48.3 +8.4

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into four parts. Polling places in the town of Carnarvon have been grouped together, with the remainder divided between east, north and south.

The Nationals won a majority of the two-candidate-preferred vote in three out of four areas, ranging from 51.2% in the east to 65.5% in Carnarvon. Labor polled 59.9% in the north, which covers a majority of the population.

Voter group NAT 2PP Total votes % of votes
North 40.1 2,057 26.6
East 51.2 845 10.9
Carnarvon 65.5 412 5.3
South 58.3 348 4.5
Pre-poll 57.9 2,228 28.8
Other votes 52.8 1,851 23.9

Election results in North West Central at the 2021 Western Australian state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Nationals, Labor and the Liberal Party.

Become a Patron!


  1. I would be surprised if Labor won here. The Liberals are planning of running and it isn’t inconceivable a Liberal wins instead of a National but it’s unlikely given the state of the WA Liberal Party and the dominance of the National Party in regional WA compared the Liberal within the coalition.

  2. ABC News has run an article today updating about this by-election. Link below:

    Basically, Vince hasn’t officially resign yet but the WA Nats released a statement saying it was always Vince’s plan to retire at beginning of August. I agree with the article that the only real reason for the delay is for the Nationals to get there house in order in picking a candidate.

    Candidates declared so far:
    Will Baston (Liberals)
    Merome Beard (WA Nationals)

    Next sitting period commences 9th August, so if he resigns by then, as is the intention, September would be the period for the by-election. I get the feeling Labor might now sit this one out and let the Libs and Nats have a squabble at it. For now, having this as a Nationals retain.

  3. For the opposition’s alliance’s own sake, it had better hope the Nationals retain the seat over a Liberal victory, otherwise the Nats and Libs will be at 3 each, which will certainly cause a big scuffle over who should have the opposition leadership. If that did happen, I’m sure Davies would probably stay leader, as the current Liberal leader is openly talked about as if a placeholder. There might be disquiet though over the fact that in upper house numbers, the Libs dominate the Nats. In any case, right now this looks like a relatively easy Nat retain, especially if Labor’s not running.

  4. Apparently Mark McGowan does not want to run a candidate, but certain other sections of the Labor party do. Under-fire Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan has been lobbying for Labor to field 2021 election candidate Cherie Sibosado.

    Personally I think it would be best for Labor to not run a candidate, especially after MacTiernan’s controversial comments which have not been received well in the bush. If Labor runs, then this election would show the public how much this government’s support has dropped since the 2021 election. There is little upside. What is the point of Labor winning? They don’t need another backbencher.

  5. This is not a safe national party seat. It is naturally. Marginal..but Mr catania had a personal vote here. It is complicated by its small population less than 8000 and large size.

  6. There’s a rumour that the Nats didn’t even want the OL job and tried to trade it for a winnable Senate spot on a joint ticket, but Libs weren’t interested

  7. Only reason Catania won was because of Exmouth. If Labor had won it which it is the biggest booth in the seat. He would no longer be MP

  8. The arguments against the Labor party contesting this electorate are valid, although have a short-term frame of reference. Labor are not always going to have the basically unilateral majority they have right now. There would be profound use in having an incumbent in a strongly regional seat like this during an election where they aren’t expected to get 70% of two-party preferred votes.

    Then again, on the balance of probabilities, I have to suspect that this will be a Nationals retain, and if Labor don’t contest a very easy Nationals retain.

    On what you suggest Entrepreneur, I have heard this as well. I don’t think the Liberal Party in WA would want to in any circumstance legitimise the National Party at a federal level, similar to how discussions about Steve Martin making his way on the Tasmanian “Coalition” ticket went. Not that, I suspect, the federal National Party would stake too much on expanding their horizons from just the eastern states.

  9. Mick, I believe Labor would win on federal numbers but federal numbers would be a bit deceiving I reckon considering the Nats are a different beast entirely

  10. Its rare for the government to win a seat from the opposition unless the member was controversial & broke some law which I believe is not the case here, but the LNP are still very unpopular in WA so it will be interesting to see if Labor can pick this one up.

  11. That was my gut feeling the seat would be won by Labor on the Durack figures . The miracle here was that the nats retained this seat at the last state election. Elsewhere including Geraldton and part of Kalgoorlie labors vote was much better. I Suspect Labor would have won Durack O’Connor’s and Forrest even on those state figures. But of course the state figures were not repeated at the 2020 election Of course . The nats are indeed a different beast but with a small election and personal vote loss who lnows

  12. Catania has resigned yesterday. By election will be most likely on 17 September. Labor are not fielding a candidate. Greens and Legalise Cannabis will in addition to the aforementioned Liberals and Nationals.

  13. Did Labor give reason as to why they’re sitting out? Given this was a Labor seat pre-2009, and they came close last time…

  14. The Greens got 32% at Coral Bay and 18% at Exmouth so them coming second relies on the Libs tanking again which wouldn’t be shocking.
    Legalise Cannabis did fairly well (5-6%) out this neck of the woods so there is certainly room for them to grow in vote.

  15. @Anton Kreitzer

    McGowan sums it up as “It’s just a political reality that those by-elections are difficult for governments, particularly in an electorate that we were not successful in last year.” The full article on ABC is as follows:

    OL Mia Davies seems to be campaigning on that reason for sitting out “That demonstrates how much this government has completely ignored the electorate and isn’t willing to show their face to deal with some of the real challenges I know that those communities are facing”

    I think the main interest here is to see how much the Liberals can recover but really, it’s just going to be a simple NAT retain. The interesting question is if those backing ALP at the last election switch to GRN to make it an unusual NAT vs GRN or whether this by will be NAT vs LIB. The most humiliating result would be LC beating GRN and NAT beating LIB by a huge margin. I wait to see if ON will contest… that could making it interesting!

  16. McGowan is delusional. He is popular in this seat (or was), Catania just had a special appeal and got cross party-support from locals in this seat.

    McGowan is just running scared and while they may not win this ( I personally think it would be very close ) McGowan is perhaps worried a narrow win would be humiliating considering as I said in the above statement, Catania has allot of personal support, quite unprecedented however this is a rural seat, and it is easier to get a personal vote in these sorts of seats.

    McGowan and his frontbench don’t want to see a bad result with any swing against them, and if his idea is to divide the Nats and the Liberals with them fighting over this seat then he is wrong because Libby Mettam, the deputy liberal leader said today that they would welcome either a NATIONAL or Liberal victory here.

    McGowan is running scared just like the NSW coalition government was in 2013 or 2014 where they didn’t run in a by-election in a seat they held. Safe for the other side or not, run and give your supporters an opportunity to vote for you.

  17. A large number of candidates – 12 in total, including two from the Western Australia Party? Reminds me of the Christian Democrats in Bradfield ’09.

    • Niels Glahn-Bertelsen (GRN) –– Greens did well in the ballot draw in a NAT v GRN count.
    • Andrea Randle (WAP)
    • Peter Baker (SBP) –– I thought Small Business Party was only a NSW thing?
    • Merome Beard (NAT) –– Nationals did well in the ballot order draw in a NAT v LIB count.
    • Gerald Laurent (PHON)
    • Leanne Lockyer (LCP)
    • Jake McCoull (LDP)
    • Anthony Fels (WAP)
    • Aaron Horsman (NMV)
    • Peter Dunne (IND)
    • Tony Stokes (IND)
    • Will Baston (LIB)

    The ballot order is good for the Nats on 2PP and particularly good for the Greens especially if they are able to jump into the 2PP above Liberal, but I doubt that eventuality to be honest.

    Totally agree with those saying that it was a mistake for Labor to sit out this by-election. These are the sorts of seats they need to have incumbents in when in eight years’ time they aren’t universally popular in the state. Their loss!

  18. I don’t think Labor cares about the incumbency factor. They think that this seat will be abolished at the next redistribution.

  19. I think not running a candidate here was still a terrible PR move, even if the seat is likely to be abolished come 2025. A not insignificant minority may not react well to this betrayal (of sorts) in a traditionally favourable seat.

  20. Wonder if the potential alp voters in the absence of a Labor candidate would vote green? Or is that a bridge too far

  21. I think a sizeable chunk of Labor voters will vote Greens, but another sizeable chunk will vote Liberal.

    On the seat being abolished, an incumbent MP is an incumbent MP no matter how the lines are redrawn. Whatever MP gets their seat abolished, they run in the new seat and may have to appeal to a new couple of towns or suburbs than before, but they still have their legislative record and history of representing those areas which are in the new electorate.

  22. People on the ground in Carnarvon are saying that it is going to be pretty close, based on the pre-polling. It is apparently looking to be a pretty even Libs/Nats split.

    Greens are preferencing Libs above the Nats, so it will be interesting to see how it all works out.

  23. Isn’t inconceivable One Nation polls 20% in some rural booths like Tom Price where Labor’s primary was 65% and The Greens poll 30% in Coral Bay.

    Nationals HOLD.

  24. Labor will be secretly praying for a Nationals victory because if the Liberals were to get opposition status out of this they would stand a better chance at doing better at the next state election, obviously they aren’t going to win the next election but a win or loss for the Liberals here could determine the difference between a small Labor majority or a 2017-style large one at the next state election.

    Other possibilities is that they merge parties after this election if they can’t agree on who leads the opposition, Honey would almost certainly lead this united opposition however.

    Another possibility is an MP switches parties to offset the balance, but it won’t be Honey or his deputy so any switch would be a Nats MP to the Libs.

    The Nats probably would get this back at the next election if they lose it to the Libs (Or maybe just maybe Labor if this seat still exists and Labor is going for another landslide)

    The language the Liberal party used in saying they wouldn’t careless if the Nats win this shows they are serious of a formal coalition or a merger, the question is when.

    Nats hold, but they shouldn’t be too comfortable and Labor should be nervous it the Nats lose this as it might better shape David Honey at the next election.

    I’d personally advise any Labor or Green supporter here to put the Nats ahead of the Libs if you want to keep the Libs out of power for more terms.

  25. The Libs may want a Coalition, but there’s no way the Nationals do. The Nationals value their independence from the Liberals, and forming a coalition or even merging parties would hurt them.

    Anyway, I don’t see anything other than a National Party victory in this by-election. The Liberals only polled 8% last election.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here