Cowan – Australia 2022

ALP 0.9%

Incumbent MP
Anne Aly, since 2016.

Cowan covers parts of the northern suburbs of Perth. These include the suburbs of Girrawheen, Greenwood, Marangaroo, Alexander Heights, Ballajura, Noranda, Beechboro, Lockridge, Mirrabooka, Nollamara, Balcatta and Stirling.

Cowan was radically redrawn, shifting south and taking in large parts of the abolished seat of Stirling, along with small parts of the seat of Perth.


The seat was first created in 1984, and was first won by Carolyn Jakobsen of the ALP. Jakobsen held the seat until she was defeated by Richard Evans of the Liberal Party in 1993.

Evans was himself defeated in 1998 by wheelchair-bound Vietnam veteran and former state minister Graham Edwards, standing for the ALP. Edwards was a popular local member and held the seat until he retired at the 2007 election. The Liberals took the opportunity to win the seat off the ALP. Cowan was one of only two seats the Liberals gained in 2007.

The Liberal Party’s Luke Simpkins won the seat in 2007 after running for the first time in 2004, and was re-elected twice in 2010 and 2013, increasing his margin every time. Simpkins built up a substantial margin over nine years, but the redistribution before the 2016 election sliced his margin by 3%, and a further 5.2% swing to Labor saw him lose to Labor candidate Anne Aly. Aly was re-elected in 2019.


  • Anne Aly (Labor)
  • Isabella Tripp (Greens)
  • Sylvia Iradukunda (Australian Christians)
  • Michael Calautti (Federation)
  • Tyler Walsh (One Nation)
  • Micah Van Krieken (Liberal Democrats)
  • Roland Laverack (Western Australia Party)
  • Claire Hand (United Australia)
  • Vince Connelly (Liberal)
  • Michael Anagno (Animal Justice)
  • Assessment
    Cowan is a very marginal seat. Aly’s position in the seat is also made more difficult because about half of the electorate are new additions, but a swing to Labor in Western Australia would probably lead to her winning a third term.

    2019 result

    Isaac Stewart Liberal 33,43839.4-2.840.0
    Anne Aly Labor 32,35338.1-3.637.8
    Mark Cooper Greens 8,55110.1+2.511.1
    Sheila MundyOne Nation4,7775.6+5.64.7
    Peter WestcottUnited Australia Party2,1712.6+2.62.3
    Andre LebrasseAustralian Christians1,9812.3-1.01.8
    Paul James BedfordShooters, Fishers and Farmers1,5821.9-1.00.8

    2019 two-party-preferred result

    Anne Aly Labor 43,13550.8+0.250.9
    Isaac Stewart Liberal 41,71849.2-0.249.1

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into three areas: east, north-west and south-west.

    Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in the east (56.5%) and north-west (56%), while the Liberal Party polled 52.3% in the south-west.

    The Greens came third, with a primary vote ranging from 10.5% in the east to 11% in the north-west.

    Voter groupGRN prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    Other votes13.246.617,10717.2

    Election results in Cowan at the 2019 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for the Liberal Party, Labor and the Greens.

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    1. Vince Connally is wasting his time running here, Likely to be a decent swing to Aly here. Unless of course the Liberals are running him here to reduce the swing towards Labor. Connally would be better off running for the senate. and the Liberals are better off trying to save furniture in WA

    2. I’m quite surprised this seat picking up Balga, Mirrabooka and Beechboro (despite also gaining Liberal voting Stirling and Balcatta) only added 0.1% to Aly’s margin. I don’t doubt the redistributed margins have been calculated correctly, it just seems like a drastic undershoot.

      Despite the redistribution, I suspect the apparent decision by Vince Connelly to challenge in Moore as opposed to running here all but confirms the WA Liberals aren’t too confident. I expect a decent swing to Labor here, which will settle over the next few election cycles to make it similar to Perth, marginal on paper, difficult to take off Labor in practice.

    3. I expect a swing to Labor in the areas transferred from Stirling. Labor has not really campaigned in Stirling since 2004. Stirling used to be a classic marginal seat divided in two distinct areas by the Mitchell Freeway. This time around there will be a visible Labor campaign. I expect the same to occur in Perth in the areas that used to be Stirling. The big swing to Labor at the 2016 election in Burt and the redrawn Macarthur shows the effect a contest can have.

    4. Labor held through most of the Howard years, Liberal held through the Rudd-Gillard years, and Labor since 2016.

      Is this the most “anti-bellwether” seat? Does anyone have the stats on hand to easily check?

    5. It certainly does seem to be the kind of seat where a popular local member can ‘dig in’ and withstand the national swing….

    6. Cowan certainly has the most contrarian record going back to 1993. (Perhaps even going back to the 1984 enlargement?) I would suggest three reasons for this:

      1. The Labor position in WA

      By 1993, Labor’s standing in the state had eroded; Cowan and Stirling lost, Swan and Canning barely held. (Even 1990 was poor, but Labor managed to sandbag its WA marginals.) Conversely, under Beazley Labor’s position in his home state recovered quickly, winning back all the suburban seats lost in 1993 & 1996.

      2. The personal vote of Graham Edwards

      Post-Beazley, Labor’s WA vote sunk. Without Edwards, Cowan probably would’ve been lost in 2004. It went Liberal on his retirement in 2007, despite Labor’s improved statewide vote under Rudd.

      3. The 2016 redistribution

      Cowan is a seat with no natural boundaries covering a range of suburbs with contrasting party leanings. Hence, it’s quite volatile to redistributions. You can see from the graph above how much the redistribution prior to 2016 improved Labor’s position, and how crucial that was to the end result.

    7. Vince Connelly, Liberal member for the soon-to-be-abolished seat of Stirling and unsuccessful preselection candidate for the safe seat of Moore, has confirmed his intention to run for Cowan via a press release.

    8. I wouldn’t guarantee a Labor win, Aly only just won in 2019 against a lower profile liberal candidate, so Vince Connelly as a pseudo incumbent could poll well if national vote is close.

    9. Yoh An

      Please don’t try and say Cowan might be lineball.
      Any myth of a strong LNP showing in WA is utter garbage.

    10. Well, there was talk of a strong ALP showing last time following McGowan’s 2017 landslide and that never eventuated, so people can distinguish between state and national politics. Then again, this time post 2021 is different with east vs west debate on covid travel restrictions, so there could be a stronger ALP vote this time.

    11. In response to David, that occasion was in the seat of Bruce with then Labor MP Alan Griffin beating Liberal Julian Beale. A similar situation with Labor’s Anne Aly winning over Vince Connelly could also eventuate if local factors (state border closures) prove decisive and deliver Labor a stronger vote in WA.

    12. Ben, that was Greg Hunt vs Julia Banks (former Liberal MP for Chisholm who ran as an independent). However, that was slightly different compared to the 1996 contest in Bruce. Bruce 1996 would be classed as a ‘redistricting race’ where one MP has a district abolished and must run against another incumbent. Julia Banks wasn’t ‘forced’ to run against another incumbent, she could have recontested Chisholm as an independent.

    13. Ah yes, Flinders. What a quixotic decision that was.

      Let’s put it another way. Cowan will be the first House of Reps contest between a Labor MP and a Coalition MP contest in 25 years.

    14. The betting markets certainly believe Aly will safely retain her seat. Labor are $1.08 to retain on Sportsbet, with the Coalition out at $6.50.

    15. I am in the redistribution area from Stirling to Cowan. Aly has picked up very Labor-heavy areas such as Mirrabooka, Balga, and Westminster. I like her and am excited to have a MP that shares my values (no offence Michael Keenan or Vince Connelly).

      Also, I don’t think we should underestimate the sheer disdain people have against Scomo atm. Our state parliament is almost all Labor, people might follow that trend in feds too.

      I did think it was strange that Connelly is running in Cowan. He is from Scarborough and I imagine his main supporters will be in Curtin and Moore. Maybe he is on a kamikaze mission

    16. Some posters mentioned Connelly tried to challenge Ian Goodenough for preselection in Moore but lost, so maybe he is just running so that he doesn’t feel like a ‘loser’ by retiring.

      Connelly is probably different to others who resigned after their seats were abolished in redistributions, as he is only a first term MP and could easily run for a state seat. Current projections also indicate WA could gain a seat at the next reapportionment, which means he would have an opportunity to run federally as well.

    17. all the people saying libs arent gonna do well in WA is odd as a former resident i grew up in the Howard years when Labor had been in for god know how long in WA and yet Libs always did well. given then new boundariers are about even this isnt a shoein for Aly the fact they effectively have 2 sitting mps running for a very marginal seat and 15-20% of the electorate coming from Perth which negates the incumbency vote that could go either way

    18. Ben close

      Anne Aly has the incumbency vote nailed down, mainly as she’s simply more well known.
      Also as a “former resident” you’d hopefully stop writing as if you still knew the place like the back of your hand.

    19. Your prediction sounds right Ben (not Ben close) – although I would probably say a Labor hold with a narrower 2-3% margin.

      Daniel – whilst Labor holds the state seats with super safe 10%+ margins, these are unrealistic when overlaid to a federal election. Margins of 5-10% (outside the marginal category) would be more meaningful in this case.

    20. I don’t believe at all there will be a 10% swing to Labor in WA, I suspect it will be between 3-5% and that Swan will fall, however Pearce is line ball and Hasluck will likely stay with the Liberals. Tangney was always a fever dream for Labor.

    21. @Yoh An – I think defeated MPs get a payout that retiring MPs don’t. It’s why Christensen is running for PHON in an unwinnable position.

      I don’t see why Vince Connelly won’t get a sophomore surge in the former Stirling parts of the seat. Maybe Cowan will remain the anti-bellwether, though it’s hard to imagine Labor gaining Swan and Pearce but losing Cowan.

    22. The Liberals have no hope in Cowan. Vince Connelly is a strong candidate sure but Anne Aly is even stronger and will ride the sizable swing against the Liberals in WA. Would be surprised if the margin isn’t above 5% post election.

    23. This seat is more of the old Stirling than it is of the old Cowan but it takes in the strongest Labor areas of both Stirling and Cowan. Voters redistributed from Stirling might not approve of Connelly abandoning them and running off to Moore before returning reluctantly. Anne Aly definitely is more well known than Connelly. I’d say that Aly will retain this with an increased margin.

    24. I don’t think many, even in the Libs, would describe Connelly as a strong candidate. Half of his speeches in parliament made no sense.

      They weren’t all that sad to see his seat disappear so they could use him as an expendable in Cowan.

    25. The redistribution benefits noone as you can see her notional increase based on redistribution is only 0.1% so that won’t be a factor here it’ll down to the swing. If libs lose here expect them to make a comeback in 2025 if the government changes and Topple Aly then. WA will most likely recover the lost seat after next review.

    26. @ John Smith agreed, The Old Stirling used to be a polarised seat with two very distinct ends divided by the Mitchell Freeway in the 2000s it was a closely divided seat but since then Labor has underformed. Like my comments in the Perth thread, Labor has not really bothered campaigning in Stirling since 2004 and so expect there to be swing to Labor in those areas as this will be the first Labor campaign in a generation. On these boundaries Labor would have got 54% TPP in 2004, which was a bad year in WA for Labor. If Labor’s WA vote returns to 2001 levels it maybe the case this will be a relatively safe Labor seat maybe 6%


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