Margin: Labor 16.4%
Region: South Metropolitan
Click here for electoral boundaries map
Electorate analysis: Kwinana was created at the 2008 election as the one-vote one-value redistribution created six seats from Labor’s southern suburbs stronghold which had previously been accommodated by five. The electorate took over the southern half of Cockburn and the northern half of abolished Peel, the remainder of which formed the new seat of Warnbro, along with semi-rural areas east of the Kwinana Freeway formerly in abolished Serpentine-Jarrahdale. Most of its voters come from burgeoning suburbs surrounding the town centre of Kwinana (located inland of the heavy industrial area with which the name is most commonly associated), who are supplemented by incursions into Rockingham at Cooloongup and Waikiki, and the northern part of fast-growing Baldivis further inland. The latest redistribution has added about 1500 voters in the northern part of Baldivis while removing around 2000 at the Rockingham end of the electorate, reducing the Labor margin by 1.2%.
Labor’s candidate for the new seat in 2008 was Roger Cook, former party state secretary, state manager of Labor-friendly public relations firm CPR, and member of the Left sub-faction centred around the United Voice (“Missos”) union. However, he first had to overcome a determined challenge from Kwinana mayor Carol Adams, who ran as an independent after failing to win Labor preselection. Adams appeared to have prevailed on election night, and was confident enough to publicly discuss her terms for minority government formation over the following days. However, Adams’ lead slipped away in the late count, and while she did outpoll the Liberal candidate 22.1% and to 20.2% to take second place, she emerged 0.8% and 300 votes short after preferences.
Cook’s political fortunes continued their sharp upswing when he was made deputy leader, beneficiary of an arrangement in which the position was reserved for the Left in exchange for it supporting Eric Ripper for the leadership. Mark McGowan also nominated for the position, but Cook defeated him by 30 votes to nine. This arrangement went undisturbed when McGowan replaced Ripper as leader in January 2012, with Cook himself having led a progressive exodus of Missos members that fatally weakened Ripper’s position. Cook also took on the health, mental health and indigenous affairs portfolios after the election, but the latter two were reassigned when McGowan became leader.
Cook will again be opposed at the coming election by Carol Adams, who has now been the mayor since 2006.