Margin: Liberal 16.6%
Region: North Metropolitan
Click here for electoral boundaries map
Electorate analysis: Nedlands covers well-heeled areas west of the city, including riverside Dalkeith and Crawley (home to the University of Western Australia campus and the Royal Perth Yacht Club) along with Shenton Park and Subiaco to the north. The redistribution has added 750 voters in Floreat from Churchlands, adding 0.3% to the Liberal margin. A natural blue-ribbon Liberal seat, Nedlands has been held by conservatives of one kind or another since its creation in 1930, including Charles Court from 1953 to 1982 and Richard Court from then until 2001. It nonetheless came close to delivering a surprise win for the Greens at the by-election held after Richard Court’s exit in 2001, who fell 3.4% short in the absence of a Labor candidate.
The seat was then held for two terms by former crown prosecutor Sue Walker, who promptly rose to Shadow Attorney-General. She was briefly sacked in March 2006 after publicly criticising then leader Matt Birney, before being reinstated a week later when Birney was replaced by Paul Omodei, and her relationship with her party colleagues appeared to deteriorate over time. In early 2008 she quit the front bench and then the party, in apparent protest at Troy Buswell’s elevation to the leadership.
The seat was recovered for the Liberals at the 2008 election by Bill Marmion, who outpolled Walker 45.5% to 22.8%. This put Walker clear of Labor on 15.8%, who themselves only barely outpolled the Greens on 14.1%. The preferences of each flowed strongly to Walker, but still left her 2.5% short of victory. Marmion entered cabinet in April 2010, taking over commerce, housing and works, and science and innovation from Troy Buswell following his resignation. He was promoted to environment and water in the reshuffle that accommodated Buswell’s return the following December, although a year later there was speculation he faced demotion over his handling of November’s Margaret River bushfires.
Nedlands mayor and former Liberal Party member Max Hipkins will run at the election as an independent, in alliance with Cottesloe mayor Kevin Morgan running against Colin Barnett, in protest against over-development.