The Poll Bludger
Margin: Liberal 12.7%
Region: Northern Perth, Western Australia
In a nutshell: Moore is a safe Liberal seat in Perth’s northern coastal suburban corridor, where current member Ian Goodenough replaced noted party moderate Mal Washer on his retirement in 2013.
Candidates in ballot paper order
Moore covers a stretch of strong Liberal territory in Perth’s northern coastal corridor, beginning at Marmion and Duncraig in the south and extending through Hillarys and Ocean Reef to Joondalup. The recently published draft redistribution proposes transferring 17,400 voters its northernmost regions to Pearce, including the outer northern coastal Mindarie and Clarkson along with Carramar and northern Banksia Grove further inland, and compensating it with 15,800 voters in the more established suburbia of Kingsley and Woodvale immediately east of the Mitchell Freeway. This slightly increases an already healthy Liberal margin from 11.9% to 12.6%.
The electorate had a very different complexion when it was created with the expansion of parliament in 1949, at which time it extended north along the coast to Dongara just south of Geraldton, and eastwards through the Avon Valley to the northern Wheatbelt. It retained this orientation throughout the post-war years due to the creation of the Stirling electorate in 1955, which absorbed the rapid post-war development of northern Perth areas that had originally been within Moore. The electorate of O’Connor was created to accommodate the Wheatbelt in 1980, at which time Moore was drawn in to the outer northern and eastern Perth centres of Wanneroo and Mundaring, while continuing to extend along the coast as far north as Jurien. Not until 1990, with the creation of the Pearce electorate, did Moore gain an entirely outer suburban orientation, extending at that time from Duncraig north to Yanchep and Two Rocks. Perth’s northern coastal sprawl has since past it by, such that the fringe suburbs are now accommodated by Pearce.
Moore was held by the Country Party for all but one term from 1949 to 1974, the exception being a solitary Liberal victory in 1958. The turning point came when the Country Party lost both of its seats in Western Australia at the 1974 election after the state branch entered a poorly received “National Alliance” with the Democratic Labor Party. This allowed Liberal candidate John Hyde, noted for having one arm and being an intellectual figurehead of the neo-liberal “New Right”, to unseat Donald Maisey, who had held the seat for the Country Party since 1963. Labor won the seat for the first time with Bob Hawke’s sweep of the mortgage belt in 1983, but the party’s grip was loosened when it assumed its approximate current location in 1990.
The new Liberal member, Paul Filing, lost his endorsement at the 1996 election due to what many saw as the machinations of controversial Liberal Party power-broker Noel Crichton-Browne, though the truth was somewhat more prosaic. Filing then proceeded to hold the seat as an independent ahead of Liberal candidate Paul Stevenage, who received little campaign support from John Howard or the national party headquarters (a similar story unfolded at the same election in Curtin). After flirting with One Nation, Filing was defeated at the 1998 election by Liberal candidate Mal Washer, a self-described “progressive” who comfortably retained the seat until his retirement at the 2013 election.
The seat has since been held by Ian Goodenough, a former Wanneroo councillor who emigrated to Australia from Singapore in 1984 at the age of nine, and is of English, Portuguese and Malaysian Chinese descent. Goodenough has been linked to a Christian Right faction said to have been gaining influence in Liberal branches in suburban Perth, and was public in his support for Tony Abbott during Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership challenge in September 2015.
Analysis by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.