Margin: Labor 10.5%
Region: South West
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Electorate analysis: The municipality encompassing the satellite city of Mandurah 75 kilometres south of Perth is divided electorally between Mandurah in the north and Dawesville in the south, the former accounting for all the territory north of the Mandurah Estuary mouth with the exception of Dudley Park. One of the anomalies of the vote weighting regime abolished by one-vote one-value was that Mandurah was a beneficiary by virtue of being outside the metropolitan area, despite its urbanisation and consolidation as a communter town with the December 2007 opening of the Perth to Mandurah railway. The new rules forced it to expand into the northern suburbs of Mandurah which had previously been in Murray (henceforth renamed Murray-Wellington), with Dawesville acquiring the Dudley Park area.
Mandurah was first created as an electorate when it was carved out of Murray at the 1983 election, the inaugural member being Labor’s John Read. In 1989 Read was defeated by Liberal candidate Roger Nicholls, who went on to serve as Community Development Minister in the Court government before falling victim to the 2001 election defeat. The seat then passed to Labor’s David Templeman, whose 7.9% swing was assisted in no small part by preferences from a strongly performing One Nation (12.6%). Templeman picked up a strong 4.6% swing at the 2005 election and made another 2.0% gain against the trend of the 2008 election, perhaps aided on each occasion by the Labor government’s commitment to the rail project.
A member of the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union sub-faction of the Left, Templeman was appointed to the front bench after its numbers helped deliver the premiership to Alan Carpenter in January 2006. He initially took on the same community development portfolio which his Mandurah predecessor Roger Nicholls had filled (the name of which was changed to child protection in December 2006), before winning further promotion to environment and climate change in March 2007. He declined to nominate for a position in shadow cabinet after the 2008 election defeat.
The Liberal candidate at the election will be Tony Solin, public relations director at Peel Health Campus, an institution which was at the centre of fraud and witness intimidation allegations in late 2012. Kim Hames, Health Minister and member for Dawesville, was accused by Labor of a conflict of interest over an approach to Solin for the hospital to donate money to a sailing club of which Hames was a former member, shortly before the hospital needed Hames’s support for a $75 million redevelopment proposal. Hames initially claimed he did not known Solin was a candidate for Liberal preselection, but later conceded he “may have been informed that he was the only nominee”. Early in the campaign it emerged that the whistleblower behind the various allegations involving the hospital, its former chief operating officer Ashton Foley, was wanted in the United States on fraud charges, and had served six weeks in prison there in 2008.