Margin: Labor 0.2%
Region: East Metropolitan
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Electorate analysis: The eastern suburbs seat of Forrestfield was one of the new metropolitan electorates created upon the introduction of one-vote one-value in 2008, taking slightly under half of its voters from a dramatically redrawn Darling Range and most of the rest from Belmont and abolished Kenwick. It covers three distinct areas: High Wycombe and Maida Vale in the north, Forrestfield and Wattle Grove in the centre and Kenwick in the south. All but the latter are marginal territory, with Kenwick giving the seat enough of a Labor lean that they were able to hold on here amid a generally poor result in 2008.
The winning Labor candidate, by a total of 98 votes, was Andrew Waddell, a former official with the Centre faction Transport Workers Union who had worked since 1999 with the Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission. Waddell unsuccessfully contested preselection for Cockburn ahead of the 2001 state election, his failure to win being part of the motivation behind TWU secretary Jim McGiveron’s infamous assault on Girrawheen MP Ted Cunningham, who had backed successful Left nominee Fran Logan.
Waddell reportedly won the Forrestfield preselection with the backing of the Shop Distributive and Allies Employees Association, associated in Western Australia with the “Old Right”. However, he was among the members of the fraction to be frozen out for supporting Ben Wyatt’s unsuccessful challenge to Eric Ripper’s leadership in January 2011, opponents of which debarked into an alliance with Michelle Roberts and the “New Right”. Waddell and the other outcasts went on to form a bloc of support for Mark McGowan when his move against Ripper crystallised a year later.
The Liberal candidate for the second election running is Nathan Morton, a locally resident school teacher and the nephew by marriage of Helen Morton, Mental Health Minister and member for the upper house region of East Metropolitan.