North West Central – WA 2013

NAT 3.3%

Incumbent MP
Vince Catania, Member for North West since 2008. Previously Member for Mining and Pastoral in the Legislative Council 2005-2008. Catania was a member of the ALP until his defection to the Nationals in 2009.


Map of North West (Central)’s 2008 and 2013 boundaries. 2008 boundaries appear as red line, 2013 boundaries appear as white area. Click to enlarge.

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.

The seat gained the shires of Sandstone and Wiluna from Kalgoorlie in the centre of Western Australia, changing the name of the seat from North West to North West Central. At the northern edge, the Shire of Roeburne was transferred to Pilbara in exchange for the remainder of Ashburton Shire. This changes the margin from 3.1% for the ALP to 3.3% for the non-Labor parties.

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.


The National Party only managed 22% of the primary vote in 2008, but should benefit from Catania’s personal vote and other factors. The Nationals have been very effective over the last term and have focused on northern parts of the state in their efforts. It is likely that Catania will strengthen his hold on the seat.

2008 result

Vince CataniaALP4,16136.2-7.4
Rod SweetmanLIB3,07126.7-10.4
Tom DayNAT2,60922.7+22.7
Peter ShawGRN8407.3+2.4
Lex FullartonIND8287.2-3.0

2008 two-candidate-preferred result

Vince CataniaALP6,10353.1+0.0
Rod SweetmanLIB5,38446.9-0.0



Polling booths in North West Central at the 2008 WA state election. East in orange, West in blue, Carnarvon in green, North in yellow.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into four areas. The three booths in the Carnarvon area have been grouped together. The remainder of the seat has been divided into north, east and west.

The ALP topped the poll in all four areas, with the Labor vote varying from 37.6% in the west to 32.7% in Carnarvon. The Liberal vote varied from 32.7% in the west to 23.7% in the north. The Nationals vote peaked at almost 30% in the north, compared to 14.9% in the west.

Voter groupALP %LIB %NAT %GRN %Total votes% of ordinary votes
Other votes33.2632.1319.918.112,823
Labor primary votes in North West Central at the 2008 WA state election.
Liberal primary votes in North West Central at the 2008 WA state election.
Nationals primary votes in North West Central at the 2008 WA state election.


  1. National GAIN (or not), you two. ‘Notional retain’, if you must (due to redistribution).

    I was picking Catania here… it gets weirder with HTV decisions, though. The Libs are preferencing Catania over Labor, so no surprises there. Much stranger, though: the Greens have the Lib candidate at #2! (As in, ahead of Labor.) If the Lib comes a close third, she could jump over either Labor or Catania into second on Green prefs, then win Andrew Wilkie-style. This could get very weird.

  2. I’ll be different and predict a Liberal gain here on the back of Labor and Green preferences. During the count or even on first preferences Labor could slip to third.

  3. With a sitting National MP, albeit a turncoat, you would expect the National vote to rise at the expense of the Liberals. Even allowing for a fall in the Labor vote, I’d still expect most of it to go to the Nationals as the “sitting party” over the Liberals.

    Unless we see a lot of bitter Laborites voting 1 Liberal out of spite, I think Catania should win comfortably.

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