Margin: Labor 10.4%
Region: North Metropolitan
* Name changed from Mindarie in redistribution
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Electorate analysis: Butler covers the northernmost coastal reaches of the Perth metropolitan area, encompassing the fringe suburbs of Quinns Rocks, Merriwa, Clarkson and newly emergent Butler, together with hinterland areas around Two Rocks and Yanchep. The redistribution has changed its name from Mindarie, the suburb of that name and its 4200 voters having been transferred to Ocean Reef. There has been a compensating gain of 1700 voters in the suburb of Banksia Grove, located inland of Wanneroo Road, who had previously been in the electorate of Wanneroo. The changes have increased Labor’s margin from 8.5% to 10.4%, owing to the relative softness of Labor support in Mindarie.
Mindarie was created at the 2005 election, when the Quinns Rocks area suburbs formed the northern end of an electorate that extended southwards to Currambine and Ocean Reef. It was contested for Labor by John Quigley, previously member for abolished Innaloo further to the south. Amid a generally static election result, Quigley gained a swing of 2.8% to prevail by a margin of 4.0%. The seat was dramatically redrawn with the one-vote one-value redistribution at the 2008 election, which created the new seat of Ocean Reef from the suburbs at the southern end and expanded Mindarie to encompass the outer north of the metropolitan area, hitherto accommodated by Wanneroo since 1989. The changes added 2.9% to Quigley’s margin, which he bolstered with an emphatic 6.9% swing against the trend of the 2008 election. He may have been assisted here by the demographic change attendant to the area’s exploding population, which increased by a third between the 2001 and 2006 censuses.
John Quigley came to politics with a high profile as lawyer for the Police Union, winning a series of cases on behalf of officers appearing before the Anti-Corruption Commission. He won preselection for Innaloo in 1999 with support from the established Right faction, including his former legal client Brian Burke. When Innaloo was abolished at the redistribution ahead of the 2005 election, Quigley was able to secure cross-factional support in his bid for Mindarie. He was promoted to the front bench in April 2009, assuming the position of Shadow Attorney-General upon Jim McGinty’s retirement. Quigley was one of seven members who were effectively dumped from the Old Right faction over their support for Ben Wyatt’s abortive leadership challenge in January 2011, Shop Distributive and Allied Employees Association state secretary Joe Bullock taking the remainder of the faction into alliance with Michelle Roberts and the New Right.
Quigley has sustained a reputation as a maverick through his aggressive advocacy for wrongful murder convictee Andrew Mallard, which caused him to be fined $3000 in November 2011 for threatening to reveal the identity of an undercover police officer unless he provided details of police corruption. This came a month after a defamation action by a former partner was resolved with a public apology from Quigley. In 2005 he was diganosed with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, a rare form of skin cancer.
The Liberals originally raised eyebrows by preselecting Simon Morgan, a former campaign director for the Victorian Liberals in 2008 and later a staffer for Cowan MP Luke Simpkins and Senator Dean Smith. Morgan’s contentiousness related to his tenure in the former position, in which time it emerged he had been anonymously running an anti-Ted Baillieu blog. Morgan was also known to have described federal Liberal MP Fran Bailey as a “stupid fat bitch”, among other character assessments. The ensuing blizzard of bad publicity prompted Morgan to withdraw, and he was succeeded by Linda Aitken, a nurse at Hollywood Private Hospital.