Senate – Western Australia – Australia 2022

Incumbent Senators

Term due to expire 2022Term due to expire 2025
Michaelia Cash (Liberal) Slade Brockman (Liberal)
Dorinda Cox (Greens) 1 Pat Dodson (Labor)
Sue Lines (Labor) Matt O’Sullivan (Liberal)
Ben Small (Liberal)1 Louise Pratt (Labor)
Dean Smith (Liberal) Linda Reynolds (Liberal)
Glenn Sterle (Labor) Jordon Steele-John (Greens)

1Dorinda Cox will replace Rachel Siewert later in 2021.
2Ben Small replaced Mathias Cormann on 25 November 2020 following Cormann’s resignation.

History
Western Australian Senate races were dominated by the Coalition from 1951 until the beginning of the 1980s. The 1951 election produced a result of four ALP senators, four Liberal senators and two Country Party senators.  The 1953 election saw the ALP win a seat off the Country Party, but the previous result was restored in 1955. The 4-4-2 result was maintained at every election throughout the 1950s and 1960s. The 1970 Senate election saw the Liberal Party lose one of its four seats to independent Syd Negus, who was elected on a platform of abolishing death duties.

The 1974 double dissolution saw Negus defeated and the Country Party lose one of its two seats. The result saw five Labor senators alongside four Liberals and one Country senator. The 1975 double dissolution saw the Coalition regain its majority in Western Australia, with the ALP losing its fifth senate seat to the Liberals. The 1977 election saw the National Country Party lose its senate seat to the Liberals, producing a result of six Liberals and four Labor senators.

The 1983 double dissolution saw the Liberals lose their majority, with five Liberals, four Labor and one Democrat elected. The 1984 election saw Labor gain both new Senate seats while the Democrats lost their seat. In addition to 6 ALP and 5 Liberal, the Nuclear Disarmament Party’s Jo Vallentine was elected. At the 1987 double dissolution, Vallentine was re-elected as an independent along with a Democrat and five each for the two major parties.

The 1990 election saw the Liberals win six seats, along with five Labor and the re-elected Vallentine, who was re-elected as a Green. The Liberals have maintained six WA seats ever since. The 1993 election saw the Greens win a second seat off the ALP. From 1993 until today, WA has been represented by six Liberals, four Labor senators and two minor party Senators from the Greens or Democrats.

In 1996, the Greens lost one of their seats to the Democrats, losing their other seat in 1998. The Democrats held onto their seat in 2001 before losing one of their seats in 2004. The last Democrat was defeated by the Greens candidate in 2007.

The 2010 election was a status quo result. It was the third election in a row which saw three Liberals, two Labor and one Green elected.

The 2013 election produced a bizarre result, where a tiny vote margin between two nonviable candidates decided whether two seats would go to the Palmer United Party and Labor, or the Greens and the Australian Sports Party. A recount reversed the result, but also saw a large batch of ballot papers go missing, forcing a re-election.

At the 2014 re-election, large swings to the Greens and the Palmer United Party saw both parties win one seat each, with the Liberal Party retaining their three seats and Labor limping in with only one seat.

There were two changes at the 2016 double dissolution. Labor recovered their fourth seat, while the Liberal Party dropped from six to five. The Greens maintained their two seats. The Palmer United Party lost their sole seat, with One Nation winning a single seat.

The Liberal Party regained their third seat (for a total of six) at the 2019 election, with One Nation losing their sole seat. There was no change for Labor or the Greens.

2019 result

GroupVotes%SwingQuota
Liberal 591,86040.9+2.42.8639
Labor 399,63927.6-0.71.9338
Greens 170,87111.8+1.50.8268
One Nation85,1295.9+1.90.4119
Australian Christians23,9831.7+0.00.1160
Help End Marijuana Prohibition24,4041.7+1.70.1181
United Australia Party25,2961.7+1.80.1224
Nationals 20,3361.4-1.10.0984
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers17,0721.2-0.70.0826
Western Australia Party17,2131.2+1.20.0833
Animal Justice14,1301.0+0.00.0684
Liberal Democrats10,4380.7-0.10.0505
Conservative National Party8,4250.6+0.60.0408
Pirate Party8,5260.6+0.60.0413
Others29,3012.0

Preference flows
Three seats were won on primary votes: two for the Liberal Party and one for Labor. Three other candidates were over 80% of the way to a quota.

Fast forward to the last ten candidates competing for the final three seats:

  • Louise Pratt (ALP) – 0.9559 quotas
  • Matt O’Sullivan (LIB) – 0.8939
  • Jordon Steele-John (GRN) – 0.8883
  • Peter Georgiou (ON) – 0.4536
  • Nick Lethbridge (HEMP) – 0.1674
  • James McDonald (UAP) – 0.1386
  • Ellen Joubert (CHR) – 0.1378
  • Stuart Ostle (SFF) – 0.1160
  • Julie Matheson (WAP) – 0.1159
  • Nick Fardell (NAT) – 0.1156

Nationals preferences primarily flowed to the Liberal candidate:

  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.9619
  • O’Sullivan (LIB) – 0.9590
  • Steele-John (GRN) – 0.8948
  • Georgiou (ON) – 0.4595
  • Lethbridge (HEMP) – 0.1700
  • McDonald (UAP) – 0.1435
  • Joubert (CHR) – 0.1405
  • Ostle (SFF) – 0.1254
  • Matheson (WAP) – 0.1233

Preferences from the Western Australia Party scattered amongst the remaining candidates, with Labor and Liberal doing best:

  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.9856
  • O’Sullivan (LIB) – 0.9824
  • Steele-John (GRN) – 0.9144
  • Georgiou (ON) – 0.4685
  • Lethbridge (HEMP) – 0.1820
  • McDonald (UAP) – 0.1558
  • Joubert (CHR) – 0.1462
  • Ostle (SFF) – 0.1343

Shooters preferences elected O’Sullivan to the fourth seat:

  • O’Sullivan (LIB) – 1.0048
  • Pratt (ALP) – 0.9980
  • Steele-John (GRN) – 0.9234
  • Georgiou (ON) – 0.4940
  • Lethbridge (HEMP) – 0.2094
  • McDonald (UAP) – 0.1666
  • Joubert (CHR) – 0.1543

After distributing O’Sullivan’s small surplus, UAP preferences elected Pratt to the fifth seat:

  • Pratt (ALP) – 1.0216
  • Steele-John (GRN) – 0.9381
  • Georgiou (ON) – 0.5462
  • Lethbridge (HEMP) – 0.2187
  • McDonald (UAP) – 0.1966

The small flow of Pratt preferences favoured the Greens, and then UAP preferences most strongly flowed to One Nation, but still brought the Greens close to a majority:

  • Steele-John (GRN) – 0.9877
  • Georgiou (ON) – 0.6289
  • Lethbridge (HEMP) – 0.2411

At this point, Georgiou had no mathematical chance of victory, and Lethbridge’s preferences pushed Steele-John over the line:

  • Steele-John (GRN) – 1.0836
  • Georgiou (ON) – 0.6749

Candidates

  • Ungrouped
    • Ziggi Murphy (Independent)
    • Ashley Buckle (Independent)
    • Peter McDonald (Independent)
    • Yunous Vagh (Independent)
    • Bob Burdett (Independent)
    • Valentine Pegrum (Independent)

Assessment
The most likely result at the next election would be a status quo result of three Liberals, two Labor and one Green.

If there is a large swing to Labor like we saw in the 2021 state election, it could see Labor gain a seat off either the Liberal Party or the Greens, but it would require quite a large swing.

We could also see the Liberal vote drop far enough to lose their third seat to a minor party without being enough for Labor to gain the seat.

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49 COMMENTS

  1. There’ll definitely be 2 Labor, 2 Liberal and 1 green elected (Lines, Sterle, Cash, Smith, and soon to be Senator Cox). The contest will be between Ben Small, who replaced Mathias Cormann, and Fatima Payman, who could become the first MP or Senator to wear a hijab in Parliament.

  2. Labor’s vote is fast collapsing in WA with every word coming out of McGowan and Sanderson’s mouths.

    If they’re pushing ahead with reopening despite the clear democratic will of the WA people, and going down the vaccination passport/ mandatory ID/ surveillance state route instead, their support isn’t still there like it was. No one here wants the border to reopen. Virtually no one. And what they’re bringing in instead is just horrifying.

  3. This is starting to look like a very interesting contest – if there’s any way labour can keep its 26 senators this cycle after the disaster in Queensland 2019, keeping their third senator here seems much more likely than gaining one in Victoria. With the current polls from WA they seem set to win it, but whether the gap closes is yet to be seen.

    I disagree with Ryan Spencer though, i wouldn’t be certain that the greens get one in. In fact this is might be the one sate where they don’t get a senator up.

    – Take the most recent piece of WA polling
    – lab 46, lib 39, grn 7, on 3, uap 1, und 4

    that immediately creates 3 labour and 2 liberal with one remaining – with a 15 percent quota the grns have 7% libs 9% on 3% and uap 1% – I see most likely these preferences of the far right favouring the liberal candidate.

    The one thing that might sabotage the elimination of the greens could be a revamping of the Wa national vote, due to being the official opposition, which might just split the vote enough to allow the greens to squeak through,

  4. All I’m hearing at the moment is anger and frustration that McGowan isn’t calling a lockdown. Positive feedback on abandoning the reopening, but anger that the current outbreak isn’t being addressed with a short sharp lockdown. How Labor perform at the election comes down to how the McGowan government handles Covid. If they turn us into NSW, then they’re screwed.

  5. Marie, many countries around the world (except China) have abandoned Covid zero as it is simply too punishing for the economy and for some people’s livelihoods in terms of family and businesses. Even countries that have introduced lockdowns like the Netherlands are doing it to control spread/suppression rather than full elimination.

    I feel Mcgowan has hit the right balance by putting in restrictions to control spread. For most people who are vaccinated, Covid is like the flu and even with flu there are deaths so trying to avoid deaths is not a good outcome unless you want to be closed off indefinitely

  6. Fair enough Marie, Wa seems to have a strong sense of identity and independence compared to other states.

    Even where I live in Queensland there are still people who believe the decision to open up was made too early and the border should have been closed whilst other states experience their surge in cases

  7. Marie, I don’t think that is a very accurate read. Plenty of friends and colleagues I have talked to acknowledge that eliminating Omicron is not an option and setting a date to re-open the border and learning to live with it is inevitable. The West Australian newspaper editorial line has also changed since last week. I suspect they have a good reading on the public sentiment moving on this issue.

  8. Huxley Brown

    As a fellow (?) Sandgroper the reaction to McGowan’s decision really isn’t as positive as Marie seems to think. To be completely honest, if McGowan wanted to make a decision, he should have made it in late December. Because of this, Senators Lines, Sterle, Smith, Cash and Cox are practically assured of their incumbency post-2022. Ben Small, not so sure. He just seems like a career politician and he’s not particularly charming.

  9. I feel that McGowan tends to make decisions on the fly, whilst they do have merit they are made without much planning and hence why people can get frustrated easily. At least Queensland Premier Anastasia was committed to decisions such as border reopening dates, although to reduce the risk somewhat the final opening should have also included 5-7 days home quarantine as a precaution to control the omicron spread.

  10. McGowan is just fear driven. He is acting out his fixation, & is too conceited to look his own motivations. The reality of his political success doesn’t help sadly. Iremain hopeful of a reckoning…… Exposure is rarely pretty, or without cost.
    I

  11. Wow winediamond, not a McGowan fan!

    He is fear-driven, but a lot of people in WA are. He has shown great leadership over the past two years, he seems to have a people over politics approach. Covid aside, Labor are doing a lot in WA with metronet, integrating e-rideables, cheap public transport, Boola Bardip. I wonder if this positive press will leak into feds

  12. The key is that Mark McGowan is following the Flu Pandemic Playbook to the letter. It is a pity the other states and territories have not. This is the 4th pandemic I have been through in Australia in the last 15 years and what McGowan is doing is exactly how the playbook was written.

  13. Stirl Girl
    Not as personal as you seem to think. i measure pollies through the enneagram, & the best example (of his kind of fear/phobic decision making “leadership”) is the shambles Angela Merkle has created. The “Emperor” has a way tom go, so does WA. His luck will change, & his brittle cowardice will be exposed. Anna ,& Gladys are the same type & observe the difference, only with Gladys, as she had real strength & courage.

    Fed politics is about a lot more than provision of govt services. This will be demonstrated well by the Labor “alumni” of 2013 when they get to pick up where they left off !!

  14. It’s still perfectly possible to eliminate Omicron in WA, we’re getting less than 20 cases a day. A short sharp lockdown would easily take care of it. The way forward is closed borders and freedom within. Do you want to be checking in, having telehealth consults and showing ID everywhere for the rest of your life?

  15. And how long do you suggest the border be closed for Marie?

    I’m one of the few people in WA whose opinion of Labor declined over the past two years.

  16. You might be able to eliminate it for a short term but it won’t work for long. Plenty of places have tried a “short sharp lockdown” and ended up with a long lockdown and eventually had to accept the virus in the community.

    “checking in, having telehealth consults and showing ID everywhere” isn’t the long-term solution. Once the virus spreads checking in won’t be relevant. In the end you’re just going to have high rates of vaccination and will have to deal with having covid out there.

    Western Australia has benefited from its isolation and the fact that states like New South Wales took on so much of the burden to bring in supplies from the rest of the world – I wonder how much of WA’s groceries come from the big distribution centres in Western Sydney where so many people caught the virus. That’s not going to be sustainable forever.

  17. I agree with Ben, long term with vaccination covid will become like the common cold, you just maintain hygiene and social distance, maybe keep wearing masks in high density areas and if unwell isolate at home.

  18. Ben, short sharp lockdowns that are actual lockdowns can work wonders without needing extended lockdowns. The problem was that NSW and Victoria didn’t do short sharp lockdowns, they did weak lockdowns two weeks later than needed. To keep it out, you need to lockdown before it hits certain critical points.

    Queensland is a very clear demonstration of that. It still frustrates me that the Qld Government decided to let loose with the most recent wave, rather than maintaining the approach that had worked so well up until that point.

  19. Again, people in WA strain credulity with their slavish adherence to the unachievable zero-Covid dream. All WA is doing is delaying the inevitable; Omicron will spread there just like everywhere else.

  20. I think Omicron is fast spreading, more so than the earlier strains that even quick lockdowns early will struggle to eliminate it. All you can do is suppress the spread, which WA is trying to do now with a closed border.

    Queensland and other states (minus NSW and Victoria) could have maintained their closed border with home quarantine requirements for a few more months until Feb/March to ensure the peak viral load is spread out across the year rather than a big hit over Christmas/new year.

  21. Some of us can still think for ourselves Wreathy. Most in WA recognise that elimination of Omicron is not a viable option and it is time to stop putting off the inevitable. The sentiment has shifted.

  22. I think the idea is waiting for the peak in the east to fall, which allows the reopening in May/June to be pretty breezy. Would you rather have people die? I wouldn’t. Having said that, our health/hospital system is straight-up GARBAGE.

  23. also mocking us West Aussies just because we dare adhere by the rules a bit better than all you east-coasters is a bit insulting, really.

  24. I don’t see who is mocking West Australians, but what makes you think WA people are better at following the rules?

    NSW didn’t have a weak lockdown, Victoria and the ACT certainly didn’t, locking down as soon as there were cases. It’s just nonsense justification to blame the eastern states for the virus spreading in their communities.

  25. Ben Raue
    ” It’s just nonsense justification to blame the eastern states for the virus spreading in their communities.” Of course your absolutely right. But look at how well the “Emperor ” has done with making the accusation, judgement, & denial !
    Sorry Ben but you can’t argue with success !!!.
    If the Emperor proposed to build a new “Maginot Line” on the SA border, WA might take him seriously !

    BTW i am ALWAYS mocking West Australians !!. How could we not !?
    cheers wd

  26. WD I would hate to see what would happen to the Australian economy if WA succeeded. One country would be super rich (WA) and one would be super poor.

  27. Yeah, let’s just forget the last 100 years when the eastern states propped up thr mining outpost that was WA. It’s a give and take relationship, not “I’m financially independent now so go away!”

  28. James
    NAH !! China would just say ” Well now that we have bought everything, lets make it official & we will take it all “. Then we might have to build our own “Maginot LINE”!!!. So we would have “NEW CHINA”(formerly WA) & Australia!.

    There are many historical precedents of Chin claiming “sovereignty ” Tibet, Sikkim, South China Sea, Taiwan & SO ON . They are just getting started. Chinese concepts of sovereignty are “unusual”
    btw i live in N Sydney & not even Zimmerman could lose it ! AND THAT SAYS IT ALL !

    Wreathy of Sydney
    Absolutely right. But it leads to the question of whether WA can actually contribute to the Commonwealth, our future, our national purpose ? Or i they simply too isolated, insular, & self absorbed ?
    Are we indeed better off without them !?. Maybe we would be better off replacing them with the Kiwis !!?
    At least they are adults !
    cheers wd

  29. This thread has meandered off topic in my view – I perhaps bear some of the blame. Shall we get back to WA senate prospects for 2022?

  30. Huxley Brown
    How do you figure that
    Western Australian parochialism is always the No1 issue in WA !. It seems to colour everything.

  31. I agree with Ryan and the likely outcome for Wa is status quo in Senate (small, maybe 30-40% chance of Labor taking a seat from Liberals or Greens if vote is high enough) and a net gain of 2-3 seats for Labor in the House

  32. I think that the ALP’s veneer has worn off enough to save Dorinda Cox from losing, but I’d be less certain about Ben Small. He has no profile whatsoever (whereas Cox does, being a fairly high-profile Indigenous rights campaigner, ex-police officer etc.) and this might make him vulnerable. Also the Liberals are completely obscured from the public given the election and I feel they’ll struggle with campaign resources.

  33. @ryan Spencer
    As someone who seems involved in the wa greens, what is your take on their campaign – they seem to be suffering in the polling at the moment, what do you think about that.

    Also I would doubt the chances of the libs winning three seats would be damaged by small’s small profile. Unless there is a personality driven party in the mix most senate races are decided by party support.

    Again, I find it hard to figure out why the greens aren’t vulnerable if the libs are.

    P.S what is your down low on the Perth campaign, aside from the 11 key seats it seems the strongest greens seat apart from maybe Cunningham

  34. I believe Paul filing lost a preselection contest at one election (1996 I believe). He then successfully ran as an independent that year but lost re-election the following election.

  35. The 6th seat will really be the one to watch here, it will either elect a 3rd Liberal or One Nation. 2 Lib, 2 Lab and 1 GRN is all but certain. It all depends where the preferences go. And does One Nations support go up this time? Will they recover from previous poor results like in the QLD state election?

    Do UAP voters help get PHON in? But if the coalition are getting big swings against them in WA its hard to see them getting the 3rd seat. A minor right-wing party is likely to take it instead and One nation seems the most obvious.

    It would be interesting to see if the Libs and PHON do a preference deal again. I think you all know how it worked out in 2017 for them.

  36. Based on current polling numbers, I’m not sure you can be confident of the final seat going to Coalition or One Nation. There’s a swing of 7.5% coming from the polls, which may be enough to elevate Labor or Greens, or a moderate minor party, into the final seat.

    The Greens nearly got a full quota on first preferences in 2019, and they’re tracking to do similarly in 2022. Meanwhile, Labor got nearly 2 full quotas on first preferences, and got 33% of the lower house primary vote – they’re polling at 42%, which means, with another 9% of the vote, they’d be at close to 2.5 quotas. That could be enough to get them there. Or not – I’d call it “too close to call” right now.

  37. So, I realised I need to revisit what I said here. I looked only at a tiny fraction of the information available. A bit more of a look makes me think this could go quite well for Labor.

    Looking at the 2017 and 2021 state elections, we see that in 2017, Labor got 40.4% of the LC vote, with Liberals on 26.7%, Greens on 8.6%, and ONP on 8.2%. In the 2019 federal election, we saw Liberals get 40.9% and Labor get 27.6% in the senate, with Greens on 11.8% and ONP on 5.9%. It’s clear from this that Liberals do better federally than at state level.

    Now, in 2021, Labor got a whopping 61.3% of the LC vote, with Liberals at a paltry 17.7%, Greens on 6.4%, and ONP on 1.5%. If we factor this in, alongside recent poll numbers from Roy Morgan, we could be looking at a strong Labor performance.

    If I had to venture a guess, I’d say Labor could manage to get 3 quotas in primary – that’s a primary vote of about 43%. In fact, I’d say they could be looking as high as 45-47%, if the patterns hold. This wouldn’t be enough for more than three seats, but it could be enough to get the Greens over the line. In this scenario, I don’t see Greens getting quite as close to a full quota, but I could see them nudged over the line by preferences anyway.

    This is consistent with most recent polling numbers, which seem to put Labor anywhere within 54-60% 2PP.

  38. The Greens have drawn Group A on the ballot paper which will be critical in ensuring Dorinda Cox’s continuation in Parliament.

  39. Labor’s third candidate Fatima Payman apparently has some section 44S issues. She apparently first approach the Afghan Embassy in Canberra in October 2021 even though she was selected to run as candidate many months before. The Afghan Government collapsed in August 2021, so in October 2021, the embassy was pretty much useless.

    She probably only approach the Embassy when she thought she might have a chance to win. That said though, Section 44 is a racist outdated law that should be changed.

    Labor reckons they have legal advice saying that she can sit as a Senator if she wins because its almost impossible to renounce her citizenship after the Taliban take over, but I’m pretty sure there might be some willing to challenge that in the courts.

  40. Bit of a longshot, but I’ve noticed a former MP for Moore, Paul Filing (1990-98, first a Lib then an Ind), is running as One Nation for the Senate.

    What was he like as an MP, and did he have views that were reminiscent of One Nation back then?

  41. This I think won’t be a surprise, with a collapse in the Liberal vote going to help One Nation most of all.
    ALP 2, Lib 2, Green 1, PHON 1.

  42. Interestingly the Guardian have suggested its a possibility that Labor win 3 senate seats in WA and the Liberals win 2 and the Greens win 1. I’m sceptical and think its more likely to replicate the 2019 result of 2 Labor, 1 Green, and 3 Liberals. But if there is talk like that you would think Labor would atleast win Swan and Pearce at the bare minimum.

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/may/20/federal-election-2022-senate-parties-who-will-win-prediction-cross-bench-labor-coalition-greens-independents

  43. Political Nightwatchman, it’s not just the Guardian suggesting it. Take a look at who the author of that article is!

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