Vasse – WA 2021

LIB 14.7%

Incumbent MP
Libby Mettam, since 2014.

Geography
South-western Western Australia. Vasse covers the town of Busselton and surrounding areas. Vasse covers the entirety of the Busselton council area, and northern parts of the Augusta-Margaret River council area. The electorate’s southern border runs close to the town of Margaret River but does not actually cover the town.

Redistribution
Vasse expanded on its north-eastern border by taking in territory from Collie-Preston. This made no difference to the margin.

History
The electorate of Vasse has existed since 1950, and has been won by the Liberal Party at every election in its history. The seat was first won in 1950 by the Liberal and Country League’s William Bovell in 1950. The LCL was the state branch of the Liberal Party, and was renamed as the ‘Liberal Party’ in 1968.

Bovell retired in 1971, and was succeeded by Barry Blaikie. Blaikie held Vasse as a Liberal MP from 1971 to 1996.

Bernie Masters won Vasse in 1996, and was re-elected in 2001. After the Liberal Party lost power in 2001, Masters joined the opposition frontbench.

In 2004, Masters was defeated for Liberal preselection by Busselton Shire President Troy Buswell. Masters resigned from the Liberal Party and served his final year as an independent. In 2005, Buswell defeated Masters, running as an independent.

Buswell was elected deputy leader of the Liberal Party in October 2005, after only eight months in Parliament.

Buswell was elected Leader of the Liberal Party in January 2008, after challenging then-leader Paul Omodei.

Buswell’s short tenure as Opposition Leader was marred by controversy, with a number of examples of embarrassing behaviour emerging. He resigned as Liberal leader in August 2008, and was replaced by former leader Colin Barnett. An early election was called by Labor Premier Alan Carpenter shortly after Barnett resumed the Liberal leadership, and in September 2008 the Liberal Party and National Party won the election.

Buswell served as Treasurer in the new government until early 2010, when he moved to the backbench due to a sex scandal involving another MP.

In December 2010, Buswell returned to the cabinet, and was reappointed Treasurer in July 2012.

He was re-elected to a third term in Vasse in March 2013. In March 2014, Buswell resigned as Treasurer after revealing that he suffers from bipolar disorder, and had suffered a breakdown. In September 2014 he resigned from Parliament.

The 2014 Vasse by-election was won by Liberal candidate Libby Mettam. Mettam was re-elected in 2017.

Candidates

  • Mia Krasenstein (Greens)
  • AW Judd (No Mandatory Vaccination)
  • Libby Mettam (Liberal)
  • Cameron Van Veen (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers)
  • Neridah Rich (Independent)
  • Chris Hossen (Labor)
  • Brad Satchell (Sustainable Australia)
  • Jackson Wreford (One Nation)
  • Peter Gordon (Nationals)
  • Nicolas Oancea (Waxit)

Assessment
Vasse is the safest Liberal seat in the state. The Liberal Party will probably hold this seat but no Liberal seat is safe if there is a massive Labor landslide.

2017 result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Libby Mettam Liberal 11,03246.2-11.046.2
Wes Hartley Labor 4,91820.6+8.320.6
Peter Gordon Nationals 4,60619.3+12.019.3
Luke O’Connell Greens 3,29713.8+3.813.8
Informal 9924.0

2017 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
Libby Mettam Liberal 15,42964.7-6.564.7
Wes Hartley Labor 8,42135.3+6.535.3

Booth breakdown


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

The Liberal Party won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 56.5% in the south to 66.1% in the north.

The Nationals came third, with a primary vote ranging from 16.7% in the north to 22.2% in the south.

The Greens came fourth, with a primary vote ranging from 11.9% in Busselton to 25.2% in the south.

Voter groupGRN prim %NAT prim %LIB 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Busselton11.918.763.26,79928.5
North18.616.766.15,44622.8
South25.222.256.51,2535.3
Pre-poll8.522.767.36,36226.7
Other votes15.517.663.73,99316.7

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

8 COMMENTS

  1. This and Warren Blackwood are the Greens’ best chances at a seat. They have a path if they can get environmental issues on the board to build up a strong primary, then take advantage of a LNP -> ALP swing among major party HTV following voters. Being #1 on a huge ballot paper will help, as will the Liberals raising environment issues (which will help the parties that seem more sincere on those issues)

    However as Ben correctly points out, this is the safest Liberal seat in the state. Shooters -> ALP preferences, which are currently being negotiated, will make the Greens leapfrogging scenario harder. This area had the lowest Green -> ALP preference flows at last year’s federal election and I don’t see Labor winning a head to head with the Liberals.

    Liberal retain

  2. Busselton is not like Margaret River. Busselton’s full of old people who will never vote anything but Liberal (and also a surprising number of FIFO workers). Margs is full of surfers and hippies. They may be only half an hour’s drive apart but they’re very different places. Warren-Blackwood may be a Greens target when Terry Redman retires (other towns like Denmark and Nannup are also pretty good for them), but Vasse never will be.

    I wonder why they transferred in that little area near Capel. According to Antony Green’s 2019 report, it contains 112 voters, 37 of whom actually voted. (So, a 33% voting rate – that makes the Kimberley look good.) The boundary used to follow the Busselton/Capel LGA boundary and now doesn’t, so that can’t have been why.

  3. Fair point Bird of Paradox now I’ve looked a bit closer. WA Nats can do funny things with preferences sometimes but probably not this election.

    With the right distribution you might have a Green seat in the south-west (the western half of this seat + the Margaret River and Denmark parts of Warren Blackwood), but Busselton looms large here and the hippie influence wears off eventually in Warren Blackwood.

    Nothing to see here.

  4. Liberal retain.

    I can imagine the margin narrowing a little bit, but Labor is not taking this seat seriously hence only recently choosing a candidate and if I was Libby Mettam I wouldn’t be too worried as she holds the safest Liberal seat in the state. What would be catastrophic for the Liberals though if there was a swing big enough away from them to make the seat marginal.

  5. I think this will be the safest seat for the Liberals after the election, the absence of tourism will have hit this seat the hardest, and the hard border approach of the government is probably not as popular given this.

  6. I’ve seen it mentioned in the media that Libby Mettam will likely take over as Liberal leader if Zak Kirkup loses his seat. I tend to think this is one of the few seats the Liberals can rely on to stay in the Liberal column.

  7. Mettam as leader is probably the best way of reducing the chances of the Nats leveraging Opposition status to gain Vasse.

  8. @ Tom the first and best

    With present polling just over 4%, a Nationals candidate would have a very long way to go indeed! Moreover, he’s struggling to get that in the larger booths in Busso and Duns.

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