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WA election: ballot paper draw

With nominations closing earlier today, the Western Australian election has attracted six parties, 291 candidates for the lower house, and 165 for the upper house.

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Nominations have closed for the March 9 Western Australian state election and the ballot paper orders have been drawn, so I hope you got your nominations in on time if you were hoping on running. Salient factoids:

• Labor, Liberal and the Greens are contesting every seat, with the Nationals contesting 17. There are also 42 Australian Christians candidates and 16 from Family First, plus 39 independents (some from unregistered parties such as the Socialist Alliance).

• There are 291 candidates for the lower house, ranging from three in Bateman, Jandakot, Victoria Park and Warnbro to seven in Balcatta, Bunbury, Churchlands, Mandurah, Vasse and Warren-Blackwood.

• There are 165 candidates for the upper house, including 41 in Agricultural, 24 from East Metropolitan, 26 from Mining & Pastoral, 25 from North Metropolitan, 23 from South Metroplitan and 26 from South West.

• The 41 for Agricultural is apparently a Legislative Council record, which isn’t bad going for a pocket borough of 85,766 voters which gets six upper house seats in addition to its four lower. This includes the formidale independent ticket of Max Trenorden, Phil Gardiner and Bill Cowan (two outgoing Nationals MPs and the brother of former Nationals leader Hendy Cowan). Former Liberal member and 2008 Family First candidate Anthony Fels is in the mix as an independent, presumably at the head of his own ticket (the website display doesn’t make this clear).

• I’m not seeing any big surprise late entrants as independents. I had been waiting to see who would emerge as the Max Trenorden candidate in Central Wheatbelt, but I’m not sure that there is one – the one independent candidate for the seat is Gerald Sturman, a former Labor candidate. Other noteworthy independents are Kwinana mayor Carol Adams, who very nearly thwarted Labor deputy leader Roger Cook’s entry into parliament in 2008; former MP Bernie Masters running against the man who unseated him for Liberal preselection in 2005, Troy Buswell, in Vasse; Cottesloe mayor Kevin Morgan, running against Colin Barnett in Cottesloe; and Nedlands mayor Max Hipkins, running against Bill Marmion in Nedlands in tandem with Morgan in opposition to local over-development.

UPDATE: From today’s West:

The Weekend West can reveal internal Liberal Party polling shows Metronet has gained traction in the community but that a Liberal-Nationals Government would be returned by a narrow margin.

According to the polling, the Liberals would win Forrestfield from Labor, while Brendon Grylls would win the Pilbara and Wendy Duncan would take Kalgoorlie for the Nationals.

However, Labor would win Morley and Swan Hills from the Liberals and pick up Fremantle from independent Adele Carles.

If that scenario plays out, Labor would hold 27 seats seats – three short of Government – and the Nationals would increase their representation to six seats, entrenching their balance of power position.

The polling also suggests that Wanneroo is in danger of falling to Labor and that the party’s Peter Watson may hang on in Albany.

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