North West Central – WA 2021

NAT 10.1% vs ALP

Incumbent MP
Vince Catania, since 2013. Previously Member for Mining and Pastoral in the Legislative Council 2005-2008, Member for North West 2008-2013.

Geography
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.

Redistribution
North West Central gained Kalbarri on the southern border from Moore. This change increased the Nationals margin from 9.5% to 10.1%.

History
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, and again in 2017.

Candidates

  • Vince Catania (Nationals)
  • Robert Tonkin (One Nation)
  • Brendan Mckay (Waxit)
  • Alys McKeough (Liberal)
  • A Agyputri (No Mandatory Vaccination)
  • Stefan Colagiuri (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)
  • Cherie Sibosado (Labor)
  • Sandy Burt (Greens)
  • Henry Seddon (Independent)

Assessment
North West Central is a safe Nationals seat.

2017 result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Vince Catania Nationals 2,57135.3-7.536.2
Shane Hill Labor 1,97927.1+4.426.8
Julee Westcott Liberal 1,17916.2-11.815.7
Dane SorensenOne Nation81811.2+11.211.3
Carol Green Greens 4265.8+0.85.7
Sandy DaviesIndependent2213.0+3.02.7
Adrian D’CunhaFlux731.0+1.00.9
Angela HooperMicro Business240.3+0.30.3
0.4
Informal 3494.6

2017 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Vince Catania Nationals 4,33759.560.1
Shane Hill Labor 2,94740.539.9

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 all four areas, narrowly winning in the north and winning much bigger majorities in the other three areas.

The One Nation vote peaked in the north and the Liberal vote peaked in Carnarvon.

Voter groupLIB prim %ON prim %NAT 2CP %Total votes% of votes
North14.313.450.42,34428.8
East12.610.168.51,02512.6
Carnarvon17.16.468.297912.0
South7.99.564.24305.3
Pre-poll19.79.067.41,50118.4
Other votes16.814.360.61,86122.9

Election results in North West Central at the 2017 WA state election
Toggle between two-candidate-preferred votes (Nationals vs Labor), Liberal primary votes and One Nation primary votes.

35 COMMENTS

  1. If there is one seat Labor would love to take off the Coalition its North West Central from former Labor turncoat defector Vince Catania. I have read on poll bludger a comment someone suggesting the Labor candidate is in with a good chance in this seat.

    I find it weird that the Nationals took in Catania as a former Labor MP. Chris Davis a Queensland state LNP MP quit the LNP and quit parliament of his seat of Stafford. Davis then approached Labor about being the candidate in Ashgrove against Campbell Newman. The approach was rebuffed considering Davis praised Margaret Thatcher in parliament.

    I could understand a conservative independent or One Nation, or Fisher Shooters Farmers party MP, joining the Nationals. But to get a former Labor MP and overlook their completely the other side of politics is peculiar.

  2. I think Catania was chasing Royalty for Regions money and being on the winning team. It is a seat up for grabs as Labor has a good candidate.

  3. Considering the kinds of people that make it up the ranks in the major parties, it’s no surprise that some of them completely switch political affiliations. In an election where winning overall is likely, getting back at a turncoat is a tantalising prospect.

    This election Labor appear to be trying here with announcements and an active candidate. Perhaps it’s over the prospect of more seats from Mining & Pastoral, but possibly this seat is in their sights too.

    This is the electorate of Ningaloo Reef and Juukan Gorge. The Greens have a lot to work with. Their candidate is from Exmouth and there is an environmental issue at large there. If the Greens can muster up a decent campaign and booth presence, that will help Labor after preferences. However it’s hard to tell whether that will amount to much in such a large electorate.

    The Nationals seem to be basing their campaign on opposing one vote, one value (which Labor didn’t even try to get up in this term for some reason). Will that play well? Probably.

    One to watch on election night, surprisingly enough.

  4. In 2008, Vince Catania had just won re-election as a Labor candidate and joined the Nationals at a time when the party was flexing its muscle as a balance-of-power party in a hung parliament. Why wouldn’t they take him in? What’s more, the Nationals never held this seat or its predecessors before, so it’s not like Catania is keeping out a traditional Nat.

  5. > This is the electorate of Ningaloo Reef and Juukan Gorge. The Greens have a lot to work with.

    Reality check: the Greens won 426 votes here in 2008.

  6. @David Walsh, Greens won’t win obviously, I just expect them to do better than before. A local Exmouth candidate got 35% of the vote there in the 2019 federal election, so I expect a local Exmouth candidate who also aligns with opposition to a divisive port proposal may get some traction. It’s just one booth but it is one of the larger booths in this electorate.

    The reason I bring it up is while the WA party probably didn’t direct preferences, the Greens will direct preferences to Labor. Anywhere the Greens can get a following and hand out HTVs is a boost for Labor (who seem to be looking decent here)

  7. ‘Anywhere the Greens can get a following and hand out HTVs is a boost for Labor’.

    @John

    The Greens split the Left vote, and do more harm to Labor then good. The suggestion Greens contest seats and gain a following ‘is a boost for Labor’ is laughable. David Walsh is right, the Greens got 426 votes and came fifth in the primary vote are largely irrelevant in this seat.

  8. @Political Nightwatchman I’m sure you understand how preferences work and that “splitting the vote” is irrelevant in Australian elections. Labor won some seats like Kalamunda and Joondalup last time off Green preferences.

    The two parties attract different voting demographics. This election Liberals are arguably outflanking Labor on environmental issues. Would you prefer voters upset with Labor’s embrace of coal vote Liberal, or vote Green and follow the HTV (which in most seats amounts to a full value vote for Labor).

    It won’t matter much here more than likely, but the Greens could hekp fight against Nat 60 in Exmouth (considering Labor support the port proposal)

  9. The vote (and swing) here is all over the place. Labor have won big in the shire of Ashburton; the Nats won big in Carnarvon. Meanwhile Labor got a 24.5% swing in Cue, but the Nats got a 7% swing an hour down the road in Mt Magnet. One of those seats where you’ll just have to wait for all the results to come in before you call it.

  10. The vast majority of voters don’t care about the ALP’s obsession with hating anyone who leaves their ranks, and the Nats didn’t really do anything to register vote distaste in the same way as the Liberals.

  11. First by-election of the 41st WA Parliament upcoming. Vince has decided to resign.
    ABC Article: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-10/nationals-mp-vince-catania-shock-resignation-from-politics/101141172

    This by-election is going to be fascinating. With Nats only holding 4 seats, now 3 and the Libs 2… this really does affect the power balance in the Opposition. While Govts rarely gain opposition seats in by-elections, you really do sense Labor are in with a chance here. I admit, I was surprised Vince held on so long after his defection from LAB>NAT. The other question is, how hard do the Liberals want to go at this to make it a 3-3 split in the opposition. Personally, I see this as a LAB vs NAT shootout with a strong possibility LAB could gain a seat which is predominantly in an area they used to hold. Expect GRN, ONP and LIB to contest, possibly SFF.

  12. North West Central of all seats going to a by-election has got to make an already cripped state opposition even more uneasy, especially with the federal election results (which show about a 10% decline in the National Party vote in Canarvon).

    With the borders now open I’d anticipate big state government spending at trying to sure up support in the tourist dependent parts of the seat around Exmouth and Shark Bay – perhaps it was that demographic that lost Labor this seat in 2021. Voters will be aware of how big Labor’s majority is however and that fact itself might make them less willing to back them, but it’s definitely too early to call.

    The ultimate question I have is that if Labor do pick this seat up, what on earth could the “opposition alliance” do afterwards? It’s almost surreal to compare the WA Libs & WA Nationals of today to the position each party was in not even 10 years ago.

  13. If the Liberal Party wins this seat, then the Liberals and Nationals will be on three seats each in the Legislative Council. Who knows who would be the opposition leader in that case.

  14. The Nationals might have a chance of holding this seat but even now a year on from the 2021 wipeout they’re going to struggle. They’re very lucky Catania chose not to retire at the last election. The fact that he was a former Labor member doesn’t help them at all as I imagine he had a personal vote from people who wouldn’t pick the Nats with him off the ticket.

    Personally I want the Nationals to keep their edge over the Liberals just to see what they might try and do next election. Every state’s National party is nothing more than an extension of the conservative Liberal party bloc now and coalition infighting like 80s Queensland is entertaining at the very least.

  15. That might be true in other states, but in WA, the Nationals are fully independent of the Liberals and the parties sometimes disagree with each other.

  16. What is interesting looking at the state election results, is that Labor got over 50% primary in the Legislative Council in North West Central, whilst their primary vote in the Legislative Assembly was 40%. This would suggest Vince has a large personal vote of around 10%. The question is does this return to Labor, or does it go to the Liberals and/or Nationals, or potentially a rural Independent.

    North West Central is a very strange seat, largest in the state, but the smallest by population, with about 50% of the population in Carnarvon, the by-election could really be won by anyone. Alot, will come down to the candidate.

  17. Good riddance to a scab. It will be interesting to see if the Libs contest and whether Labor wins.

  18. (Sorry Accidentally put the wrong email address in previous comment so please ignore/delete it)

    Governments almost ALWAYS get swings against them at by-elections, or at least of they don’t, they only slightly improve their position (Eden-Monaro)

    The lessons from previous by-elections makes it quite clear to me the Nationals will hold this with a slightly increased majority, but not enough to make it safe.

    The result of the by-election doesn’t change the government and the voters know that. So traditional conservative voters know they won’t be rewarding the premier here. Liberals would be foolish to run here because this is a country seat.

    Even if the Libs and Nats are tied on 3, Davies would still be opposition leader. Unless the Liberals surpass because there would be no point on changing opposition leaders with a party that has the same number of seats. The best that could happen is the Nats and Libs merged and then Honey leads that new party this becoming opposition leader.

    Imagine if Brendan Grylls decided to run here??

  19. We had the Daly by-election not too long ago where a government with an already strong majority (albeit far from that of the current WA government) gained a seat from the opposition.

  20. This area is naturally marginal but there was a lot of personal voting. For catania .look.at upper house vote here maybe gives an indication

  21. @Daniel despite their current animosity towards each other I suspect a merger of the Liberals and Nationals in WA is not far off especially if they don’t claw back good enough numbers next election (think of QLD 2006).

    The WA Nationals are running on borrowed time as it is to be honest. Even taking into account the special large electoral district allowance that adds ghost voters, another rural electorate will almost certainly be struck out next redistribution.
    Average enrollment statistics in the seats they currently hold and/or are relatively competitive in as of March 31:
    Central Wheatbelt: -6.77%
    Geraldton: -8.36%
    Moore: -11.75%
    Roe: -10.71%
    Albany: -6.19%
    Warren-Blackwood: +3.45%
    Kalgoorlie: -5.29%
    Kimberley: -25.76%
    North West Central: -22.02%
    Pilbara: -0.10%

  22. Agree with Daniel’s comment, a good comparison might by the South Brisbane state by election in Queensland 2012 held just after Labor’s landslide defeat/loss. In that case, the LNP only secured a small (3%) swing in their favour, so the Nationals or any other conservative candidate would be heavily favoured to win here.

  23. There might be another by election in WA. Apparently Liberals are attempting to force David Honey to retire and then for Justin Langer to run in Cottesloe and then Lead the WA Liberal Party to the next Election.

  24. @ patreon_57 – i saw that mentioned on Pollbludger and did a google search and came up with a 2010 article https://www.perthnow.com.au/news/wa/justin-langer-looking-at-a-political-career-with-liberal-party-ng-5a433b8b0123fb92d3e60a6c253df377 before finding the more recent article about it. As much as I enjoy watching elections… I don’t think the Liberals would be that silly to force David Honey out for a by-election. Maybe a Campbell Newman lead from outside 2012 style? (That also worked in Ontario a couple of years later for memory as well.)

    @yoh-an interesting comparison. But even 3% here would knock over this seat. The ALP swing still hit hard in WA at the fed, so there might be some left or maybe it has reached its zenith and Nationals will hold on. I’m still in two minds, but still rate ALP a strong chance here. @nicholas made a good point about Daly and the interesting times we live in. WA paying less than the East Coast for gas would be a another plus for McGowan and could play well into the campaign. Just have to wait for Vince to officially resign first and see how quick the by-election will be held.

  25. Seems bizarre to run Justin Langer as state Liberal party leader. But maybe that’s all they’ve got to play with. If he does run at the next state election it will probably be unconventional like with Campbell Newman where he is party leader while not actually a sitting MP.

    As for the by-election in North West Central the individual candidates that will stand will be crucial to the outcome, it’s a very small electorate in terms of actual numbers of voters with only 11,000 voters, as compared to your average Perth/South West electorate that has 30,000 voters. If WA didn’t have rules that considered the geographic size of districts there would probably only be 2 electorates north of the Tropic of Capricorn, Pilbara would be abolished and distributed between Kimberley and North West Central.

  26. Justin Langer is seen as far-right member of the Liberal party *He actually isn’t a registered member yet but he is a strong supporter of John Howard and is a devout catholic*

    The WA Liberals would be shooting themselves in the foot doing this. and you would have to look at the circumstances around Doug Ford and Campbell Newman considering they led their parties out of the wilderness after 15 years or so out of power and the incumbent centre-left government’s led by progressive women were incredible unpopular at the time, so no, Justin Langer would fail and possibly they would lose even more ground at the next state election and the WA Nats increase their seat count, A New Liberal party could take its place otherwise.

    Labor could even pick up Cottesloe if a by-election is forced considering Justin Langer would be extremely controversial of a choice, he would be parachuted in, and he has no political experience, and he is the exact type of Liberal that was REJECTED (Do they ever learn from their mistakes?) Maybe the Pentecostal Christians and the WhatsApp conservatives will support him but they would be annihilated once again.

    Conservatism has no place in Australian politics and if they want to run these kinds of policies of Trumpism they should just move to the United States.

  27. I agree – I’ve always voted Liberal, and getting Honey to resign would be an epic fail. If they really want Langer, get him to run in Nedlands/South Perth/another traditional Liberal seat next time.

  28. Having been involved in cricket at a high level (i.e. last game of cricket I played had 7 test cricketers play in it), you ever love or hate Justin Langer – very polarising character,

    You really cannot see the Liberal Party in WA grow with another Western Suburb rich guy. The Western Suburbs is the money in Perth, and they wake up in the majority with an Independent at the Commonwealth Level and Labor members (except ifor one seat)

  29. I am somewhat bemused by Daniel’s claim that Langer is seen as holding far right views. Any evidence to cite?

    And I can’t see any chance of Brendon Grylls wanting to go around again in North West Central – years in Opposition before the opportunity to sit on the Government benches again when he has already had the ride as Leader of the Nats with lots of Royalties for Regions money to splash around. Lots of uncertainty about what the state of conservative politics in WA will be like for years yet – why would he bother?

  30. Actually just thinking there is a current opportunity for Justin Langer – North West Central – I wonder if he will put his hand up as a candidate – that might show how committed he is – or does he just want an easy run and then unless Cottesloe he would need to win Churchlands, or Nedlands or South Perth or Bateman

    Lets see what happens – I also think that people are over the celebrity candidate – they want someone who will work for them.

  31. National party are in serious trouble here with the wafer thin margin & the LNP still deeply unpopular. However, it’s worth noting that WA now has a federal & state Labor in so the anger might subside & also it’s rare for the government to win a seat from the opposition especially how Labor already have such a lopsided majority

Comments are closed.