The few poll results to have emerged from Western Australia since Mark McGowan became Opposition Leader have provided Labor with a measure of encouragement but not the latest Newspoll, which suggests the Liberals are well in contention to win a majority in their own right.
GhostWhoVotes reports the long, long, long-awaited Newspoll result for state voting intention for the July-September quarter has the Liberal-National alliance with a resounding 57-43 lead on two-party preferred, compared with a 53-47 when the last such poll was published for the January-March quarter. On the primary vote, the Liberals are up four to 43%, the Nationals down one to 5%, Labor down five to 30%, and the Greens up one to 12%. Despite that, Mark McGowan, who took over the Labor leadership from Eric Ripper in January, continues to be well received: his approval rating is up five to 48%, with disapproval up six to 23%. Colin Barnett’s numbers also maintain their long-term deterioriating, his approval down three to 48% and disapproval up four to 37%. That being so, the increase in Barnett’s lead as preferred premier from 42-30 to 45-29 is counter-intuitive.
Liberal preselection news:
The local party ballot to choose Christian Porter’s successor in Bateman has been won by Matthew Taylor, a sustainability consultant who has paid his dues as federal candidate for Fremantle and state candidate for Willagee. Beatrice Thomas of The West Australian reports the field also included Phil Edman, upper house member for South Metropolitan region; Matt Brown, head of member advocacy at RAC and twice-thwarted federal preselection nominee for Tangney; Simon Creek, a family lawyer (clients include Rose Porteous) said to be very close to Porter; Jane Timmermanis, a lawyer for not-for-profit group Sussex Street Community Law Services; and Cam Tinley, a high school teacher. Non-starters who had previously been mentioned included another South Metropolitan MLC, Nick Goiran, said by Gareth Parker of The West Australian to have had the support of the electorate’s one and only party branch (although others say his social conservatism is a mark against him in the eyes of some influential colleagues); and Russell Aubrey, long-serving mayor of Melville.
Linda Aitken, a nurse at Hollywood Private Hospital, is the new Liberal candidate for the outer northern suburbs seat of Butler (the new post-redistribution name for Mindarie), held for Labor by John Quigley. This follows the withdrawal of Simon Morgan after his preselection met with a blizzard of adverse publicity surrounding his past indiscretions in Victoria, namely running an anti-Ted Baillieu blog while serving as his campaign director and making offensive comments about former federal Liberal MP Fran Bailey.
Dean Nalder, a former ANZ and Australia Post executive, has been preselected to run against independent incumbent Janet Woollard in the naturally conservative seat of Alfred Cove.
Local café owner and Chamber of Commerce president Trevor Cosh has won preselection for Albany, held for Labor on a razor-thin margin by Peter Watson.
Jaimee Motion, Collie native and until recently media adviser to Troy Buswell, has been preselected unopposed for Collie-Preston, where the redistribution has increased Labor member Mick Murray’s buffer from 1.0% to 3.8%.
Badgingarra agronomist Chris Wilkins will run in Moore, to be vacated at the election by Nationals member Grant Woodhams, after winning a July preselection vote ahead of Perenjori shire president Chris King.
Natasha Cheung, who represents Ellenbrook ward on Swan City Council, will run in West Swan against Labor’s Rita Saffioti, whose margin is 4.1%.
David Goode, owner of a small business in the banking and finance industry, will run in Gosnells against Labor’s Chris Tallentire, whose margin is 4.8%.
The candidate for Kalgoorlie is Melissa Price, a lawyer who has worked in the mining and agriculture sectors. The presumed front-runner had been local branch president Matt Eggleston, who withdrew citing a potentially life-threatening health scare along with business commitments, although had also been fined after being caught driving nearly three times over the legal limit.
Taking on tasks with various degrees of thanklessness against Labor are Bayswater councillor Sylvan Albert in Maylands (held by Lisa Baker with a margin of 8.8%), physiotherapist Daniel Parasiliti in Midland (Michelle Roberts, 8.3%), Jesse Jacobs in Cannington (Bill Johnston, 9.0%), Joel Marks in Warnbro (Paul Papalia, 10.1%), Katherine Webster in Armadale (Tony Buti, 14.8%) and Matthew Hanssen in Fremantle (Adele Carles, margin indeterminate). Tony Solin, public relations director at Peel Health Campus, will run in Mandurah (David Templeman, 10.5%).
And taking on tasks with various degrees of thanklessness against the Nationals are George Levissianos, owner of Karratha Retravision, who joins the race in Pilbara; Stephen Strange, who also ran in 2008, in Central Wheatbelt; Tami Maitre in North West Central; Jenny Bloom in Kimberley. Augusta Margaret River shire president Ray Colyer will run against Nationals member Terry Redman in Warren-Blackwood, having failed in a bid for upper house preselection.
Labor preselection news:
Cockburn councillor Lee-Anne Smith has withdrawn as Labor’s candidate to run in Jandakot, which Joe Francis holds for the Liberals on a margin of 1.8%, as she wishes to focus on her not-for-profit group providing assistance to Aboriginal youth. She has been succeeded by her campaign manager, Klara Andric.
Susy Thomas, former chief executive of drug and alcohol counselling service DrugARM, will run in Southern River, held for the Liberals by Peter Abetz on a margin of 1.8%.
Labor’s candidate for the fading prospect of Kalgoorlie is Terrence Winnner, 27-year-old chief executive of the Eastern Goldfields YMCA. The Kalgoorlie Miner reports Labor had approached local businessman Rod Botica, who withdrew due to work commitments, and Daniel and Sam Bowler, the sons of the seat’s Labor-turned-independent member John Bowler. Bowler Sr expressed his displeasure at the approach, saying he would campaign vigorously against either of them because I hate nepotism.
Jennifer Shelton, a 29-year-old public servant who grew up in Carnarvon, will run against Labor-turned-Nationals member Vince Catania in North West Central. Catania won the seat of North West for Labor by 3.1% in 2008, which he owed to the Nationals’ narrow failure to edge out the Liberals into second place. He has since defected to the Nationals and enjoyed a good turn in the redistribution, which produced a 3.3% margin in his favour.
After announcing in March that she would not contest the next election as the Liberals’ determination to run a candidate left her with no chance of victory, Adele Carles has told Joe Spagnolo of the Sunday Times that she might consider running again in Fremantle as a wild card.
Former Liberal member Bernie Masters has announced he will run as an independent against Troy Buswell in Vasse. Masters also ran as an independent in 2005 after Buswell defeated him for preselection, and fell 0.9% short of victory.
Local councillor and businessman Shane van Styn will run for the Nationals against Liberal member Ian Blayney in Geraldton. Labor’s candidate is school teacher Kathryn Mannion.
William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, is one of the most heavily trafficked forums for online discussion of Australian politics, and joined the Crikey stable in 2008.