Facebook Google Menu Linkedin lock Pinterest Search Twitter

Advertisement

Seat of the week: Fremantle

There have been suggestions that the electorate of John Curtin might be lost to Labor at the next election as part of a statewide conservative sweep, although they have faded with Labor's recent improvement in the polls.

User login status :

Share

The electorate of Fremantle covers Perth’s coastal southern suburbs from North Fremantle south to Henderson. It extends only a short distance eastwards along the southern bank of the Swan River to Bicton, Liberal-voting riverfront territory beyond being accommodated by Tangney, while going deep inland as far as Jandakot and Banjup further to the south. Liberal support is strongest along the riverfront, in the Jandakot/Banjup area, and in recently developed Port Coogee south of the city. The Greens polled between 25% and 30% in the Fremantle city booths in 2010, reflecting a strength of support that allowed Adele Carles to win the state seat for the party at a by-election in April 2009. However, their competitiveness in the federal seat is curtailed by the more traditionally working-class complexion of the suburbs further south.

The electorate of Fremantle has existed in name since federation, with the entirety of the Perth metropolitan area being divided between it and Perth until parliament was expanded in 1949. Only then did the port city and its surrounds sufficiently dominate the seat to allow Labor to secure its hold. John Curtin became the member in 1928 after unseating independent incumbent William Watson, who recovered it at the 1931 election as the candidate of the United Australia Party. Curtin was back for the long haul in 1934 and succeeded Jim Scullin as Labor leader the following year, although he survived in Fremantle by only 641 votes at the 1940 election.

After leading the country through the sharp end of the war years, Curtin became only the second prime minister to die in office in July 1945. Fremantle was retained for Labor at the ensuing by-election by Kim Beazley Senior and remained a home for high-profile Labor figures thereafter: Keating government Treasurer John Dawkins succeeded Beazley upon his retirement in 1977, and former Premier Carmen Lawrence in turn assumed the seat when Dawkins quit in 1994. Fremantle was the only WA seat left standing for Labor after the twin disasters of 1975 and 1977, but it was overtaken by Perth as Labor’s strongest seat in WA at the 2010 election, by which time the statewide tide to the Liberals had worn the margin in Fremantle down to 5.7%.

Fremantle has been held since Carmen Lawrence’s retirement in 2007 by Melissa Parke, a former United Nations human rights lawyer factionally aligned with the Left. Parke has thus far been overlooked for promotion, but made headlines over the past term after criticising the government’s “Malaysia solution” and decision to resume live cattle exports to Indonesia. As one report put it, Parke was “widely believed” to have voted for Kevin Rudd when he challenged for the leadership in February 2012.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

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.

Get a free trial to post comments
More from William Bowe

Advertisement

We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola

830 comments

830 thoughts on “Seat of the week: Fremantle

  1. Fulvio Sammut@805


    Did anyone else see Adele Carles on TV tonight in WA reading out Troy Buswells’s love letter to her?

    My heart was full…

    Ooooh, don’t tempt me! Is there a link to this depravity? 😉

    This Nielsen should kill a lot of the bulldust narratives that built up around last week’s strong of 54s. Doubtless a new set will take their place. Labor supporters should not get carried away.

  2. @ Poliquant…..thanks.

    Carey Moore’s “I know. I didn’t mean to imply things were 52-48 again but, rather, that they were swinging back to the govt (which I don’t believe btw)” comment made me think I had misunderstood you.

    I hadn’t.

  3. [The Age says the disapproval rate for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has risen three points to 63 per cent, which is the second-highest for an opposition leader in the poll’s 40-year history.]

    Who was worse? Nosferatu?

  4. Shows On, earlier tonight I urged William to let you run PB in his absence after Christmas.

    Are you available? 👿

    It is also a bit staid with him running it.

  5. <a href="Bushfire Bill@813



    The Age says the disapproval rate for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has risen three points to 63 per cent, which is the second-highest for an opposition leader in the poll’s 40-year history.


    Who was worse? Nosferatu?

    “>Bushfire Bill@813



    The Age says the disapproval rate for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has risen three points to 63 per cent, which is the second-highest for an opposition leader in the poll’s 40-year history.


    Who was worse? Nosferatu?

    Bushfire Bill@813



    The Age says the disapproval rate for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has risen three points to 63 per cent, which is the second-highest for an opposition leader in the poll’s 40-year history.


    Who was worse? Nosferatu?

    Not even Alexander, so it seems. Peacock in ’84.

  6. NTERESTING INFO RE LIKELY NEW US DEFENCE SEC
    ex-Sen. Hagel
    ____________________________________________
    He doessn’t believe in”containing China”
    He won’t support an Israeli attack on Iran
    and thinks “The Jewish Lobby intimidates people in Washington to control US policies in the Middle East ”
    WOW

    are we seeing a “new day” in US policy

  7. Evening and Morning.

    More encouraging is this, in Neilsen.Of the 75 per cent aware of the AWU affair – in which Ms Gillard, as a lawyer, advised on setting up an entity from which her then-boyfriend and another official siphoned money – 47 per cent approved of her recent handling of the issue, while 40 per cent disapproved.

    In sharp contrast, only 24 per cent approved of Mr Abbott’s handling of it, with 64 per cent disapproving. More Coalition voters disapproved than approved.

    More than seven in 10 said the AWU matter had not influenced their view of the Prime Minister’.

    If the LOTO has any sort of sense, he will not be taking his bare knuckles to Julia again on this.

    Let alone Jbishop’s futile flailing.

    Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/abbotts-attacks-fail-with-voters-20121216-2bhoo.html#ixzz2FDgwxYgC

  8. Kevin Boneham, sadly I can’t recall which channel ran the touching scene, what with choking on my ham steak and then bursting into fits of hysterical laughter.

    As far as I could digest of her performance (she was robed in a flowing dress of virginal white by the way) she was appealing to and reminding him of his former passion for her as an inducement to cease the suing and recomence whatever previously occured in their relationship.

  9. 52:48

    And given that an incumbent government can win on 51:49 and contrary to ML’s wet dreams things do change a lot in an election year, I’d say its time to pig out and say Merry Xmas to you all, except you Liberal losers, of course 🙂

  10. I have to say with 12 surpluses, most of which I assume were during the Howard government years, how can anyone hold that against Labor. The 2000-2007 were the best years any government could wish for in terms of global economic conditions. 2008-2012 on the other hand were so bad that the global economy has not experienced something like that since the 1920s-1930s great depression. It is like comparing apples and oranges.

  11. BB

    [Sydney Water” is the old “Water Board”, main supplier of water for Sydney]

    More precisely, The Metropolitan Water Sewerage and Drainage Board (MWS & DB) for which my father once worked. Yes, we always called it The Water Board.

  12. [I have to say with 12 surpluses, most of which I assume were during the Howard government years, how can anyone hold that against Labor. The 2000-2007 were the best years any government could wish for in terms of global economic conditions. 2008-2012 on the other hand were so bad that the global economy has not experienced something like that since the 1920s-1930s great depression. It is like comparing apples and oranges.]

    Of course. And if you really go into it and look at every government and the prevailing circumstances you generally find that Labor governments got handed the hard times.

    Adding to that the Howard surpluses, not just good circumstances but flogging off the silver, including the biggest act of sheer idiocy being the selling of Telstra under pissweak regulation – which incidentally started the process that led to the NBN.

    Mod Lib conveniently trots out this sort of rubbish but fails to defend the Liberals on a policy by policy basis.

    He can’t even defend the Liberals “policy” on broadband which isn’t even a policy so much as a smokescreen.

    Until he wishes to enter into serious policy debate and defend the policy vacuum the Liberals have now descended into I won’t take him seriously.