Kalgoorlie – WA 2021

LIB 6.2%

Incumbent MP
Kyran O’Donnell, since 2017.

South-eastern Western Australia. Most of the seat’s population is contained in the Kalgoorlie urban area, while the seat also covers the Coolgardie, Dundas, Kalgoorlie/Boulder, Menzies, Laverton, Leonora and Ngaanyatjarraku council areas.

No change.

Kalgoorlie has existed continuously as a seat since 1904, and in that time was dominated by Labor MPs. The seat was held by Labor continuously from 1923 to 2001.

In 2001, Labor MP Megan Anwyl was defeated by the Liberal Party’s Matt Birney.

Birney was re-elected in 2005, and became Liberal leader following the election. He only led the party for one year, before being challenged by Paul Omodei in 2006 and moving to the backbench.

Birney retired in 2008. A redistribution saw the seat of Murchison-Eyre merged into another seat, and the sitting MP for Murchison-Eyre, John Bowler, ran for Kalgoorlie as an independent. Bowler had been elected twice as a Labor member and served in Alan Carpenter’s cabinet but had since moved to the crossbenches.

At the 2008 election, the ALP dropped to fourth place behind a strong performance by Nationals’ candidate Tony Crook. Bowler came first on primary votes, and defeated Crook by 3.6% after preferences. Crook had only come third on primary votes but overtook the Liberal thanks to Labor preferences.

Bowler retired in 2013, and the seat was won by Nationals candidate Wendy Duncan.

Duncan retired in 2017, and the Nationals dropped to third place, with Liberal candidate Kyran O’Donnell winning.


There will be a close contest between the Liberal member and the Nationals challenger for which of them is the stronger conservative candidate. Normally that would make the winner of that contest the favourite, but a Labor landslide could see Labor overcome both.

2017 result

Kyran O’Donnell Liberal 4,25628.0-10.6
Darren Forster Labor 3,96526.1+6.9
Tony Crook Nationals 3,71324.4-10.3
Richard BoltonOne Nation1,84612.1+12.1
Jacqueline Spurling Greens 6464.3-1.0
Mike LucasShooters, Fishers & Farmers6224.1+4.1
James ErwinFlux1491.0+1.0
Informal 6494.1

2017 two-party-preferred result

Kyran O’Donnell Liberal 8,53356.2-10.3
Darren Forster Labor 6,65643.8+10.3

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into three parts. Polling places in the town of Kalgoorlie, which make up a vast majority of the seat’s population, have been grouped together, and the remainder have been split into north and south.

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in Kalgoorlie (57.6%) while Labor polled 50.8% in the north and 60.7% in the south.

The Nationals primary vote peaked in Kalgoorlie while One Nation’s vote was highest in the south.

Voter groupNAT prim %ON prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes19.213.852.81,86812.3

Election results in Kalgoorlie at the 2017 WA state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes, Nationals primary votes and One Nation primary votes.


  1. I wouldn’t write Labor off here. They got a swing towards them in the 2019 federal election in the Kalgoorlie booths, in an electorate where they almost certainly wouldn’t have been trying very hard. This is in what wasn’t a good election at all for WA Labor.

    I don’t think the 6.2% swing required to win here is a bridge too far, unless the Nats had weird HTVs in 2017 (which I don’t think was the case)

  2. This seat has an interesting history. Geoff Gallop swept Labor into power in 2001 with a 8.09% statewide swing across the board but yet Labor still managed to lose Kalgoorlie. Kalgoorlie would be the only seat they would lose that election. Ironically the Liberal MP that won the seat was Matt Birney who would do a short stint as opposition leader for the Liberals.

    Labor have never been able to mange to win the seat back since then. But I agree with the analysis from John that this seat is potentially in play if the swing eventuates from what he have seen on the recent statewide poll.

  3. Labor already got a pretty decent preference flow in 2017. They got 38% of preferences – not a majority, but a lot more than what you might expect from the Nats, One Nation and Shooters.

  4. In an expected swing to labor they will win the primary vote here, the question being who comes second and third. Sportsbet have the liberals at $18.00. This would be strange if the liberals get shunted into 4th(behind ALP,SFF and NAT here. If this somehow occurred, has a major party incumbent ever been pushed into 4th in any seat anywhere in Australia before?

  5. Mayo By-election 2018 Labor came 4th behind Greens Libs CA but I don’t think that’s a fair comparison if Liberals are running to win in Kalgoorlie.

  6. Marko: if it’s $18 odds, put a lobster on that. If they lose, so it goes, but if they win, that’s two weeks rent where I live!

    Kalgoorlie’s been a strange seat for a while now. The Libs won for the first time ever while losing govt in 2001, lost it while gaining govt in 2008, won it back while getting thumped in 2017, and in between was an ex-Labor indie and the Nats. Maryborough in Queensland is the only seat I can think of with a weirder history.


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