Fremantle – WA 2021

ALP 23.1%

Incumbent MP
Simone McGurk, since 2013.

Geography
South-western Perth. The seat covers the centre of Fremantle, and stretches from Palmyra to North Coogee.

Redistribution
Fremantle lost part of the suburb of East Fremantle to Bicton. This made no difference to the seat margin.

History
The seat of Fremantle has existed continuously since 1890. The seat was held by the ALP continuously from 1924 to 2009.

The seat was held from 1980 to 1990 by David Parker. He served as Deputy Premier briefly from 1988 to 1989 and resigned in 1990.

The 1990 by-election was won by Jim McGinty, despite a large swing against the Labor government.

McGinty served as Labor leader from 1994 to 1996, and as Attorney-General from 2001 to 2008.

After the Labor government lost power in 2008, McGinty resigned and triggered the 2009 Fremantle by-election.

The Greens ran Adele Carles, who had polled over 27% at the 2008 election. The ALP ran former Fremantle mayor Peter Tagliaferri.

The ALP’s primary vote stayed steady, but a 16% swing to the Greens on primary votes put Carles on a 44% primary vote, and gave her 54% of the two-candidate vote.

Carles’ time as a Greens MP didn’t last. In 2010 she admitted to an affair with the Treasurer, Troy Buswell. Her relationship with the Greens broke down, and she resigned as a Greens member. She served out the remainder of her term as an independent.

Labor’s Simone McGurk recaptured Fremantle in 2013, with Carles coming a distant fourth.

McGurk was easily re-elected in 2017.

Candidates

  • Carl Schelling (Liberal Democrats)
  • Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance)
  • Miquela Riley (Liberal)
  • Liberty Cramer (Greens)
  • W Schulze (No Mandatory Vaccination)
  • Rod Grljusich (Independent)
  • Janetia Knapp (Western Australia Party)
  • Simone McGurk (Labor)

Assessment
Fremantle is probably not as safe as the margin suggests, but Labor are still strong favourites. The Liberal Party are weak here, but there is a history of the Greens taking a much larger share of the left vote, and if they encroached on that Labor vote the margin could shrink significantly. Despite this potential, it seems unlikely enough votes could shift in 2021 to turf out McGurk.

2017 result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Simone McGurk Labor 12,00851.2+7.051.3
Hayden Shenton Liberal 4,79920.5-8.820.4
Martin Spencer Greens 4,40818.8-0.218.8
Warren DuffyOne Nation1,0044.3+4.34.2
Chris JenkinsSocialist Alliance4822.1+2.12.1
Gabrielle van der LindeAustralian Christians4531.9+1.91.9
Janetia KnappMatheson for WA1600.7+0.70.7
Andrew AyreMicro Business1440.6+0.60.6
Informal 1,1124.5

2017 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Simone McGurk Labor 17,12773.1+7.773.1
Hayden Shenton Liberal 6,31826.9-7.726.9

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three parts: central, north and south.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 71% in the south to 76% in the north.

The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 11.2% in the south to 24.2% in the north.

Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Central19.275.56,55828.9
North24.276.04,95121.8
South11.271.03,20614.1
Pre-poll18.472.73,50815.5
Other votes18.168.24,46919.7

Election results in Fremantle at the 2017 WA state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

10 COMMENTS

  1. I think this will go to an ALP vs Greens runoff, but McGurk will be tough to catch even with Liberal preferences (which appear to be at least possible given the group voting tickets). The Greens don’t seem to be running a winnable seat campaign, and Labor don’t seem remotely afraid of losing here.

  2. Yeah, a fair chance that the Greens will make the 2PP count however I’d expect Labor to win on the first preference count alone.

  3. Can definitely see the Greens getting up to second, but McGurk’s primary vote should be close enough to 50% where she sails across the line without major difficulty

    Prediction: Labor retain

  4. People in Fremantle still remember Adele Carles and her relationship with the enemy – the Liberal Party. fremantle people don’t forget – this should have been a Greens seat (like inner Western Sydney) but blame Adele Carles for that and one that they will struggle to win.

  5. Got a Lib HTV. They are preferencing Greens ahead of Labor. This is there full order.

    1. Libs
    2. Independent
    3. WA Party
    4. Liberal Democrats
    5. Greens
    6. Socialist Alliance
    7. Labor
    8. Anti Vax Party

  6. Interesting news ZH. Now the seat is theoretically winnable for Greens instead of being a curiosity, though they’d still want Labor’s vote to be not much higher than 40%. That means convincing 1 in 5 2017 Labor voters to change their mind. It’s not impossible (Adam Bandt pulled it off in Melbourne 2010), but it’s very tough.

    Some positive signs for the Greens are that there isn’t all that much Liberal vote to swing to Labor from the general tide of this election, and the Greens are doing ok in polls (mostly holding on despite an enormous swing to ALP). It’s not apparent the Greens tried all that hard here in 2017 so there’s swing to be had. Brad Pettit’s face on corflutes and name on the ballot (in the upper house) could help potentially.

    But McGurk seems to be no slouch as a local MP. While WA Labor are vulnerable to environmental messaging with even the Liberals having a go, at a local level Labor delivered the goods on stopping Roe 8. I expect a lot of Green curious people to ultimately opt with not voting against a solid local MP, especially with the poor track record of Greens MPs in this area.

    Greens should try to win the seat for sure, but it will be a shock result if they pull it off.

  7. The tent city fiasco could swing it either way. That was right across the road from McGurk’s office (she’s the minister for community services as well as the local MP), so her and the state govt have been arguing with Freo council over whose fault it was. It could end up affecting not just Freo but South Metro (where Brad Pettit, the mayor, is running as a Green). The likely outcome there is three Labor and one Green, but if recent polling is to be believed, Labor could dream of getting the fourth left seat for themselves.

  8. If the greens finish second here, this will be the first time any lower house state seat in WA has had the greens finish second at a state election (not a by-election).

  9. Good catch Marko. Greens outpolled Labor in Warren Blackwood 2013 but both Liberals and Nationals were running and both outpolled the Greens.

    There are quite a few seats where it might happen this election but Fremantle is the only one where I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t happen.

  10. Greens came second here as predicted. Did well in ordinary booths, but hammered on earlies by Labor. ALP/Grn margin somewhere out past 15%, but at least they’re on the board.

    Sam Wainwright of Socialist Alliance got 9% in Hilton, ahead of the Libs on a miserable 6.6%. (He’s a Freo councillor for Hilton ward.) With Labor on 50% and the Greens on 28%, this must be the most left-wing booth anywhere in WA.

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