Margin: Labor 2.2%
Region: North Metropolitan
Outgoing member: John Kobelke (Labor)
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MUBARAK KIM KIDIMA
Electorate analysis: The electorate of Balcatta is located inland of the Mitchell Freeway to the north of the city, from Joondanna north through Tuart Hill to Hamersley. An electorate bearing the name existed from 1904 to 1911, 1962 to 1974, 1977 to 1996 and again since 2005, having been held at all times by Labor barring one term after the 1905 election. However, Labor has been left looking vulnerable by a substantial swing at the 2008 election and the impending retirement of long-serving member John Kobelke. The redistribution has added around 1000 voters north of Reid Highway from Girrawheen, shaving 0.1% from the margin.
Balcatta was held by Brian Burke from 1973 until its abolition the following year and again during its next incarnation from 1977 to 1983 (at other times he was the member for Balga). It was then held until 1989 by Ron Bertram, previously member for Mount Hawthorn, and subsequently by Nick Catania until the seat was again abolished in 1996. Catania then made an unsuccessful attempt to win Yokine from Liberal incumbent Kim Hames, who now holds the distant seat of Dawesville. Balcatta was once again recreated at the 2005 election and bequeathed to John Kobelke, whose abolished seat of Nollamara provided the electorate with about a third of its voters. Kobelke served first as Labour Relations and Consumer Affairs Minister under Geoff Gallop and then as Police Minister under Alan Carpenter. He announced his impending retirement in early 2012.
The new Labor candidate is Janet Pettigrew, who has worked in television, film and theatre as a performer, writer, director and producer, and currently works as a voiceover artist. Pettigrew won preselection ahead of David Michael, deputy mayor of Stirling. The Liberal candidate is school teacher Christopher Hatton, who won preselection unopposed.