Electorate: Darling Range
Margin: Liberal 7.0%
Region: East Metropolitan
Click here for electoral boundaries map
Electorate analysis: Darling Range covers the south-eastern reaches of the metropolitan area, taking most of its voters from the new urban fringe suburbs of Harrisdale and Piara Waters to the south of Canning Vale, and the South Western Highway towns of Byford, Mundijong and Serpentine. A lean towards Labor in the former areas is more than cancelled out by the conservative tendency of the latter. The redistribution has further emphasised this by transferring 4000 voters in the Labor-leaning Shire of Mundaring communities of Chidlow, Mount Helena and Sawyers Valley to the seat’s northern neighbour, Swan Hills, which has increased the Liberal margin from 5.6% to 7.0%.
Darling Range has existed as an electorate for all but one term since 1950, but it emerged from the one-vote one-value redistribution before the 2008 election bore little resemblance to its old namesake. The old Darling Range provided the new with only 10% of its voters, most of the rest going to the new seat of Kalamunda. Half of the new Darling Range’s voters came from abolished Serpentine-Jarrahdale, with the rest from a redrawing of Armadale and a transfer from Swan Hills which the latest redistribution has reversed. Kalamunda was duly contested for the Liberals by the former member for Darling Range, John Day, while Darling Range went to the member for Serpentine-Jarrahdale, Tony Simpson. Simpson first had to overcome a notional Labor margin of 0.8%, but this was easily achieved with a swing of 6.3%.
Simpson served as a parliamentary secretary from the election of the Barnett government until July 2011, when he moved to the position of government whip. His Labor opponent is Barry Urban, a Serpentine-Jarrahdale councillor and police officer who has served in the British army and as a war crimes investigator in Bosnia.