WA Election Result: Labor Declares Victory

12 March 2017
This briefing note has been prepared by Perth-based bipartisan strategic advisory firm GRA Everingham. For more information, visit www.graeveringham.com.au
  • Labor secures historic landslide victory with a 15.7 per cent primary vote swing against the Liberals.
  • Labor to win up to 21 seats in the 59-seat Legislative Assembly.
  • Liberals reduced to between just 12 and 14 seats in Legislative Assembly.
  • Labor makes big gains in Upper House, while Liberal-Nationals lose control.
  • Nationals leader Brendon Grylls fighting to hold Pilbara.
  • One Nation has underperformed and is likely to win just 1-2 seats in Legislative Council.

New era begins as Labor win in landslide

Mark McGowan and WA Labor have stormed to power in a historic victory overnight. The landslide win by Labor ends more than eight years of Liberal-National Government and opens a new chapter in the state’s political history.

It was a sea of red across the metropolitan area with Labor winning a swathe of seats in Perth’s crucial outer metropolitan suburbs. The northern suburbs seats of Burns Beach, Joondalup, Wanneroo all fell to Labor will massive swings – in Wanneroo, Labor candidate Sabine Winton secured a 19 per cent swing.

Labor needed to win 10 additional seats to form Government — but it has picked up at least 18 seats and may take as many as 21. The party has secured a sizeable parliamentary majority. The record 15.7 per cent primate vote swing against the Liberals saw at least four sitting Ministers lose their seats.

In a surprise result –Liberal Minister Andrea Mitchell lost the seat of Kingsley to Labor’s Jessica Stojkovska, which was held on a margin of 14 per cent.

The story was much the same in the eastern and southern metropolitan areas. Sitting Liberal MPs were overcome by a tidal wave of support for Labor. New Labor MP Terry Healy won Southern River with a swing of 19.5 per cent.

Liberal veteran John Day lost the seat of Kalamunda to Labor’s Matthew Hughes on a swing of 13.3 per cent, while Liberal leadership aspirant Joe Francis is fighting for his political life today after suffering a huge 18 per cent swing to Labor. Counting continues in Mr Francis’ seat of Jandakot tomorrow, who trails Labor candidate Yaz Mubarakai by 26 votes.

Nationals leader Brendon Grylls is facing a nervous wait to find out if his parliamentary career is over. Mr Grylls is currently trailing Labor’s Kevin Michel by 300 votes.

The Nationals have lost the seat of Kalgoorlie to Liberal Kyran O’Donnell, who secured an 8.3 per cent swing. The seat of Hillarys was also won by the Liberals – with Peter Katsambanis holding off sitting Liberal turned independent MP Rob Johnson and Labor’s Teresa Ritchie.

The results were the only bright spots for the Liberals in an otherwise catastrophic loss.

Labor steamrolled through the metropolitan seats of Balcatta, Belmont, Forrestfield, Morley, Swan Hills and Perth, which were all Liberal seats with margins under 10 per cent, and had been written off by Liberal strategists early in the campaign.

However, the size of Labor’s gains exceeded even the party’s most optimistic assessments, with its victories over former Minister Murray Cowper in Murray-Wellington and Ms Mitchell in Kingsley considered shock results. Labor is also in a knife-edge race with the Liberals to win Geraldton after securing a 17 per cent swing.

The party was confident it could win Bunbury – but a swing of 23 per cent to new Labor MP Don Punch defied expectation.

Former Liberal minister Tony Simpson (Darling Range) and Legislative Assembly speaker Michael Sutherland (Mount Lawley) were among the other casualties.

The seat of Bicton – the epicentre of the Roe 8 and Perth Freight Link debate – was convincingly won by Labor candidate Lisa O’Malley with a swing of 12.4 per cent.

In the Upper House, the ABC is predicting WA Labor will win 15 seats, up from 11 – while the Liberals have suffered huge loses, dropping from 16 seats to 9. The Nationals are likely to lose 1 Upper House spot, while the Greens may gain a third Legislative Council representative.

One Nation’s primary vote of just 4.7 per cent in the Lower House was far worse than the party had been hoping, but it fared slightly better in the Legislative Council – where it could still win one or two seats.

A handful of micro parties are in contention for the remaining Legislative Council spots, including Shooters, Fishers and Farmers – who could end up with two seats – and Fluoride Free WA and the Liberal Democrats who could pick up one a piece.

Despite spinning the result as a good outcome for One Nation, Pauline Hanson has suffered a setback with the party’s worse than expected performance – particularly given the considerable time she spent in WA this week.

ABC election analyst Antony Green said the remarkable thing from the result was the collapse of the Liberal vote.

“The National Party has struggled in Kalgoorlie and Pilbara, but their halted vote has held up quite comfortably in all the other areas where the Nationals contested,” Mr Green said.

“It’s the Liberal Party vote that suffered. The collapse in their first-preference vote hasn’t gone to One Nation, a lot of it’s gone straight to Labor.”

The Liberals have been reduced to their western suburbs heartland and a long period of introspection not doubt awaits the party in Opposition. Liza Harvey, Joe Francis and Dean Nalder have all been touted as potential leaders, but the role may be something of a poisoned chalice as the party begins a mammoth rebuilding process.

Only Mr Francis has publicly declared he will be a leadership contender, however he will first have to win his seat of Jandakot.

Mr McGowan used his victory speech to reaffirm several of his key election commitments, including the delivery of Labor’s multi-billion-dollar Metronet public transport system.

The sheer scale of Labor’s victory gives Mr McGowan huge authority over his Parliamentary Labor colleagues – he is now a Labor hero after securing the biggest swing and seat change in WA political history.

Mr McGowan is now considering the make-up of his 17 member Cabinet and the allocation of portfolios. The new Cabinet is expected to be sworn in by the end of this week.

An extraordinary victory for Labor has shifted the political landscape and the party will head into Government with an overwhelming mandate.

The people of Western Australia have voted in huge numbers for change in the state, the challenge now for Mr McGowan and his Labor colleagues is to deliver it.

Election Results

At the close of counting on Saturday night, WA Labor had won in 37 seats, the Liberals had 11 seats and the Nationals had five (5) seats. The ALP won the seats of Balcatta, Baldivis, Joondalup and Perth from the ALP.  There were still six (6) too close to call, with the ALP ahead in Jandakot, Joondalup, Murray-Wellington and the Pilbara. The other two seats, has the Liberals ahead in Dawesville and Geraldton.

For a full breakdown of the Election results, seat-by-seat, and new Members of Parliament click here. The figures are only indicative at end of counting last night (which varies from seat to seat).

There is no counting by the WA Electoral Commission today and they will recommence tomorrow morning.

Further information


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