Senate debates

Monday, 9 December 2013


Western Australia: Elections

9:50 pm

Photo of Dean SmithDean Smith (WA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

2013 has been an exceptionally eventful year for Western Australia in political terms. In the space of six months, we have been through a state election and a federal election. It is pleasing to stand here this evening and be able to say that, for my own party in Western Australia, the hard work has definitely paid off. 2013 has produced two historically strong electoral results for the Liberal Party in Western Australia. There are a number of factors behind these results which I will come to shortly, but, firstly, it is worth looking briefly at what has been achieved.

On 9 March this year, Colin Barnett was re-elected as the Premier of Western Australia. In primary vote terms, the swing to the Liberal Party across the state was 8.7 per cent, resulting in a gain of five seats from Labor and a further two from Independents. The result represents the largest gain of seats by an incumbent government in Western Australia since 1917. The Liberal Party was able to gain seats it had previously not held, including Balcatta, won by Chris Hatton, and Belmont, won by Glenys Godfrey. Additionally, seats that the Liberal Party just managed to win in 2008 saw double-digit swings to the Liberal Party. This is a direct result of our incumbent MPs proving themselves as effective, hardworking advocates for their local communities.

I believe Labor's complacency over many years in merely assuming they could take some of these seats for granted was also a factor. In several seats, we saw ugly Labor preselection brawls, with unions carving up the spoils. Local communities react very badly to this type of behaviour and Labor were punished on 9 March for being for being more interested in themselves than—


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