2021 Western Australian state election

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All 59 seats in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly
and all 36 members in the Western Australian Legislative Council
30 Assembly seats are needed for a majority
Opinion polls
Turnout1,467,159 (85.46%)
  First party Second party Third party
 
Mark McGowan headshot.jpg
NAT
LIB
Leader Mark McGowan Mia Davies Zak Kirkup
Party Labor National Liberal
Leader since 23 January 2012 (2012-01-23) 21 March 2017 (2017-03-21) 24 November 2020
Leader's seat Rockingham Central Wheatbelt Dawesville
(lost seat)
Last election 41 seats 5 seats 13 seats
Seats before 40 seats 6 seats 13 seats
Seats won 53 seats 4 seats 2 seats
Seat change Increase 13 Decrease 2 Decrease 11
Percentage 59.9% 4.0% 21.3%
Swing Increase 17.7% Decrease 1.4% Decrease 9.9%
2PP 69.7% 30.3%
2PP swing Increase 14.1% Decrease 14.1%

2021 Western Australian state election - Vote Strength.svg
Left: first preference vote by electorate. Right: two-party-preferred vote by electorate.

Premier before election

Mark McGowan
Labor

Elected Premier

Mark McGowan
Labor

The 2021 Western Australian state election was conducted on Saturday 13 March 2021 to elect members to the Parliament of Western Australia, where all 59 seats in the Legislative Assembly and all 36 seats in the Legislative Council were up for election.

The incumbent Labor Government, led by Premier Mark McGowan, won a second consecutive four-year term in office in an historic landslide victory. Their primary challengers were the opposition Liberal Party, led by Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup, and the National Party, led by Mia Davies. Several minor parties also contested the election in the Assembly and Council.

ABC News psephologist Antony Green called the election for the Labor Party 42 minutes after the polls closed, with 0.7% of the vote counted.[1][2] Labor won 53 out of 59 of the seats in the Assembly, outdoing its previous record of 41 seats in 2017, whilst the Liberals had a wipeout loss and won only two seats, suffering a 14% two-party preferred swing.[3] The Nationals claimed the four remaining seats and became the largest opposition party in the Assembly. To date, the election is the most decisive result at any Australian state or federal election since Federation in terms of percentage of lower house seats controlled by the governing party (89.8%),[4] and two-party preferred margin (69.7%–30.3%).[5] Labor's unprecedented victory extended to the Legislative Council, and the party claimed a majority of the seats in the upper house for the first time.[6]

Candidates were elected to single-member seats in the Legislative Assembly via full-preferential instant-runoff voting. In the Legislative Council, six candidates were elected in each of the six electoral regions through the single transferable vote system with group voting tickets. The election was conducted by the Western Australian Electoral Commission.

Results

Legislative Assembly

See also: Results of the 2021 Western Australian state election (Legislative Assembly)

Winning party by electorate.
Winning party by electorate.
Legislative Assembly (IRV) – Turnout 85.46% (CV)[7][8]
Party Votes % Swing Seats +/–
  Labor 846,116 59.92 +17.72 53 Increase 13
  Liberal 300,796 21.30 −9.92 2 Decrease 11
  Greens 97,713 6.92 −1.99 0 Steady
  Nationals 56,448 4.00 −1.40 4 Decrease 2
  No Mandatory Vaccination 23,178 1.64 +1.64 0 Steady
  Australian Christians 20,869 1.48 −0.62 0 Steady
  One Nation 17,824 1.26 −3.67 0 Steady
  Shooters, Fishers, Farmers 9,669 0.69 −0.62 0 Steady
  WAxit 7,984 0.57 −0.43 0 Steady
  Liberal Democrats 7,159 0.51 +0.46 0 Steady
  Western Australia 5,276 0.37 −0.09 0 Steady
  Legalise Cannabis 4,996 0.35 +0.35 0 Steady
  Sustainable Australia 1,356 0.10 +0.10 0 Steady
  Socialist Alliance 726 0.05 −0.00 0 Steady
  Liberals for Climate 552 0.04 −0.13 0 Steady
  Independents 11,328 0.80 −1.04 0 Steady
 Formal votes 1,411,990 96.24 +0.78
 Informal votes 55,169 3.76 −0.78
 Total 1,467,159 59
 Registered voters / turnout 1,716,732 85.46 −2.06
Two-party-preferred vote[9]
Labor 983,299 69.68 Increase 14.14
Liberal/Nationals 427,812 30.32 Decrease 14.14

Although the Liberals and Nationals did not contest the election as a coalition and are separate parties, the two-party-preferred calculation aggregates Labor/Liberal and Labor/Nationals contests.

Seats changing parties

Seat Pre-2021 Swing Post-2021
Party Member Margin Margin Member Party
Bateman Liberal Dean Nalder 7.8 14.5 6.7 Kim Giddens Labor
Carine Liberal Tony Krsticevic 10.2 12.6 2.4 Paul Lilburne Labor
Churchlands Liberal Sean L'Estrange 11.7 12.5 0.8 Christine Tonkin Labor
Darling Range Liberal Alyssa Hayden 3.5* 16.5 12.9 Hugh Jones Labor
Dawesville Liberal Zak Kirkup 0.8 14.7 13.9 Lisa Munday Labor
Geraldton National** Ian Blayney 1.3 12.9 11.6 Lara Dalton Labor
Hillarys Liberal Peter Katsambanis 0.4 19.3 19.0 Caitlin Collins Labor
Kalgoorlie Liberal Kyran O'Donnell 6.2 18.2 12.0 Ali Kent Labor
Nedlands   Liberal Bill Marmion 8.0 10.8 2.8 Katrina Stratton Labor  
Riverton Liberal Mike Nahan 4.2 13.2 9.0 Jags Krishnan Labor
Scarborough Liberal Liza Harvey 5.7 16.1 10.4 Stuart Aubrey Labor
South Perth Liberal John McGrath 7.2 17.3 10.1 Geoff Baker Labor
Warren-Blackwood   National Terry Redman 12.8 14.1 1.3 Jane Kelsbie Labor  
Members listed in italics did not contest this election
* Darling Range was won by Labor at the 2017 state election, but was regained by the Liberals at a 2018 by-election. The margin here is based on the by-election result.

** Ian Blayney defected from the Liberal Party to the Nationals in 2019. The margin shown here is the two-party margin Blayney achieved as a Liberal at the 2017 state election.

Labor's victory was built on a near-sweep of Perth. Labor had gone into the election holding 33 of Perth's 43 seats (having lost one at a by-election). It won an additional nine in 2021, some on swings of over 10 percent, leaving Cottesloe as the only non-Labor seat in the capital. Many of Labor's gains came in seats long considered Liberal heartland. For example, Nedlands, the seat of former Liberal premiers Charles and Richard Court, fell to Labor for the first time since its creation in 1930, while South Perth was taken by Labor for the first time since its creation in 1950.

Among the more prominent casualties was Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup, who was heavily defeated in his own seat of Dawesville on a swing of over 14 percent, and former opposition leader Liza Harvey, whose seat of Scarborough fell to a 16 percent swing.

On paper, Labor was left as the only party with official status in the legislature, as no other party won at least five seats. However, McGowan promised that the Nationals would be properly resourced as an opposition, envisaging that they would divide opposition funding with the Liberals.[10]

Legislative Council

See also: Results of the 2021 Western Australian state election (Legislative Council)

Legislative Council (STV/GVT) – Turnout 85.50% (CV)[7]
Party Primary votes % Swing Seats +/-
  Labor 868,374 60.34 +19.93 22 Increase 8
  Liberal 254,380 17.68 −9.03 7 Decrease 2
  Greens 91,849 6.38 −2.22 1 Decrease 3
  National 40,285 2.80 −1.63 3 Decrease 1
  Legalise Cannabis 28,473 1.98 +1.98 2 Increase 2
  Australian Christians 28,051 1.95 +0.01 0 Steady
  One Nation 21,259 1.48 −6.71 0 Decrease 3
  Shooters, Fishers, Farmers 21,210 1.47 −0.89 0 Decrease 1
  No Mandatory Vaccination 16,094 1.12 +1.12 0 Steady
  Western Australia Party 10,496 0.73 +0.34 0 Steady
  Animal Justice 9,732 0.64 −0.42 0 Steady
  Liberal Democrats 9,218 0.64 −1.13 0 Decrease 1
  Liberals for Climate 7,515 0.52 +0.08 0 Steady
  WAxit 4,924 0.34 −0.21 0 Steady
  Sustainable Australia 4,405 0.31 +0.31 0 Steady
  Daylight Saving 3,485 0.24 −0.44 1 Increase 1
  Great Australian 3,397 0.24 +0.24 0 Steady
  Health Australia 3,105 0.22 +0.22 0 Steady
  Socialist Alliance 948 0.07 −0.04 0 Steady
  Independents 11,486 0.80 −0.35 0 Steady
  Other 482 0.03 +0.03 0 Steady
 Formal votes 1,439,168 98.05 +0.76
 Informal votes 28,577 1.95 −0.76
 Total 1,467,745 36
 Registered voters / turnout 1,716,732 85.50

Distribution of seats

Background

See also: Results of the Western Australian state election, 2017 (Legislative Assembly) and Results of the Western Australian state election, 2017 (Legislative Council)

The 2017 state election saw Labor win one of the most comprehensive victories on record at the state or territory level in Australia. Labor won 41 of the 59 seats in the Legislative Assembly—a 23-seat majority—both WA Labor's strongest result ever, and the largest government seat tally and largest government majority in Western Australian parliamentary history. Additionally, Labor exceeded all published opinion polling, winning 55.5 percent of the two-party-preferred vote from a state record landslide 12.8 percent two-party swing.[11][12] The Liberals were hit by a 15.8% swing against them on the primary vote and lost 18 seats to Labor, finishing with just 13 seats, the lowest share of seats the party has won in any election. The Nationals won the remaining five seats.[13] Labor also became the largest party in the Legislative Council with 14 of the 36 seats, ensuring it required at least five additional votes from non-government members to pass legislation.[13][14]

Two by-elections were held during the term of parliament, both in 2018. The Liberal Party held the seat of Cottesloe and picked up the seat Darling Range, increasing the Liberal/National bloc in the Assembly to 19 and decreasing the Labor Party to 40. In July/August 2019, Liberal MP Ian Blayney resigned from the party and joined the Nationals, thus returning the Liberal vote bloc to 13 and increasing the National vote bloc to 6.[15]

In the lead up to the election, Premier Mark McGowan had high approval ratings over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Opinion polls pegged the McGowan Government as unbackable favourites for a second term, and suggested that Labor would be re-elected by a record majority. Labor enjoyed support approaching 70% in the two-party preferred polls, and McGowan maintained a personal approval rating of 88%.[16] On 25 February 2021, 16 days before Election Day, Leader of the Opposition Zak Kirkup conceded that the Liberals could not win the election, citing polling indicating immense popularity for McGowan and the Labor Government. Kirkup said that his main priority was ensuring the Liberals would be able to form a credible opposition, arguing that a Liberal party room reduced to the single digits would be in no position to stop Labor if it went "too far."[17]

Electoral system

Candidates are elected to single-member seats in the Legislative Assembly via full-preferential instant-runoff voting. In the Legislative Council, six candidates are elected in each of the six electoral regions through the single transferable vote system with group voting tickets.[18]

Registered parties

The following parties contested the election:[19]

Key dates

Election dates are set in statute with four-year fixed terms, to be held on the second Saturday of March every four years.[20]

Key dates for the election are:[21]

Date Event
29 January 2021 Dissolution of the Legislative Assembly[22]
3 February 2021 Writs issued
11 February 2021 Close of party nominations (12 pm) and close of electoral rolls (6 pm)
12 February 2021 Close of nominations (12 pm) and draw of ballot paper positions
15 February 2021 Deadline for group voting ticket lodgement
22 February 2021 Early voting begins
13 March 2021 Polling day, between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm
18 March 2021 Last day for receipt of postal votes by 9 am

Retiring MPs

Further information: Candidates of the 2021 Western Australian state election

Labor

Liberal

Nationals

Greens

Campaign/candidate controversies

In January 2021, Liberal Party candidate for Victoria Park Amanda-Sue Markham defended her husband's controversial views on homosexuality and conversion therapy. Despite calls for her to do so, she did not withdraw from the election.[39]

Additionally, the Liberal Party candidate for Baldivis, Andrea Tokaji, was forced to resign from the Liberal Party after making discredited claims[40] about a link between 5G towers and COVID-19.[41] She continued as an Independent candidate for Baldivis, with the Liberal Party selecting Luke Derrick as her replacement.[42]

In March 2021, One Nation dumped Roger Barnett as its candidate for the seat of Forrestfield after offensive Muslim and Aboriginal comments emerged from his Facebook page that were posted between 2012 and 2018. It was also reported later that another One Nation candidate had comments that were offensive towards Muslim and African people.[43]

Redistribution

A redistribution of electoral boundaries for the lower house was announced on 27 November 2019. The changes did not result in a district changing party status notionally based on the new boundaries. However, the districts of Hillarys and Joondalup became far more marginal, with margins of 0.4 and 0.03 respectively. There was one seat renamed in due to the boundary changes, with Girrawheen becoming the new district of Landsdale. Ten districts were not affected by boundary changes.[44]

Electoral pendulums

Pre-election pendulum

This is a pre-election pendulum, taking into account the 2019 boundary redistribution. Estimated margins are calculated by Antony Green for the Western Australian Parliamentary Library.[44] Retiring members are shown in italics.

Government seats
Marginal
Joondalup Emily Hamilton ALP 0.03
Kingsley Jessica Stojkovski ALP 1.2
Murray-Wellington Robyn Clarke ALP 1.7
Jandakot Yaz Mubarakai ALP 1.8
Pilbara Kevin Michel ALP v NAT 2.2
Kalamunda Matthew Hughes ALP 2.3
Bicton Lisa O'Malley ALP 3.6
Mount Lawley Simon Millman ALP 4.0
Burns Beach Mark Folkard ALP 5.4
Albany Peter Watson ALP v NAT 5.9
Fairly safe
Southern River Terry Healy ALP 7.9
Balcatta David Michael ALP 8.0
Wanneroo Sabine Winton ALP 8.6
Forrestfield Stephen Price ALP 9.4
Landsdale Margaret Quirk ALP 9.6
Safe
Bunbury Don Punch ALP 10.5
Belmont Cassie Rowe ALP 11.4
Swan Hills Jessica Shaw ALP 12.1
Morley Amber-Jade Sanderson ALP 12.3
Perth John Carey ALP 12.6
Midland Michelle Roberts ALP 12.8
Kimberley Josie Farrer ALP 13.1
Cockburn Fran Logan ALP 14.3
Collie-Preston Mick Murray ALP 14.7
Thornlie Chris Tallentire ALP 15.8
Baldivis Reece Whitby ALP 16.6
Victoria Park Ben Wyatt ALP 16.8
Cannington Bill Johnston ALP 17.6
Willagee Peter Tinley ALP 17.7
Maylands Lisa Baker ALP 17.9
Mandurah David Templeman ALP 18.0
West Swan Rita Saffioti ALP 18.4
Very safe
Butler John Quigley ALP 20.5
Kwinana Roger Cook ALP 20.7
Bassendean Dave Kelly ALP 21.6
Fremantle Simone McGurk ALP 23.0
Mirrabooka Janine Freeman ALP 23.3
Rockingham Mark McGowan ALP 23.5
Warnbro Paul Papalia ALP 23.7
Armadale Tony Buti ALP 25.2
Non-government seats
Marginal
Hillarys Peter Katsambanis LIB 0.4
Dawesville Zak Kirkup LIB 0.8
Darling Range Alyssa Hayden LIB (b/e) 3.5
Riverton Mike Nahan LIB 4.2
Scarborough Liza Harvey LIB 5.7
Fairly safe
Kalgoorlie Kyran O'Donnell LIB 6.2
South Perth John McGrath LIB 7.2
Bateman Dean Nalder LIB 7.8
Nedlands Bill Marmion LIB 8.0
Safe
Carine Tony Krsticevic LIB 10.2
Churchlands Sean L'Estrange LIB 11.7
Cottesloe David Honey LIB 14.1
Vasse Libby Mettam LIB 14.6
Crossbench seats
Geraldton Ian Blayney (NAT) LIB v ALP 1.3
North West Central Vince Catania NAT v ALP 10.1
Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman NAT v ALP 12.8
Moore Shane Love NAT v LIB 19.5
Central Wheatbelt Mia Davies NAT v ALP 22.2
Roe Peter Rundle NAT v LIB 25.9

Post-election pendulum

Government seats
Marginal
Churchlands Christine Tonkin ALP v LIB 0.8
Warren-Blackwood Jane Kelsbie ALP v NAT 1.3
Carine Paul Lilburne ALP v LIB 2.5
Nedlands Katrina Stratton ALP v LIB 2.8
Fairly safe
Bateman Kim Giddens ALP v LIB 6.7
Riverton Jags Krishnan ALP v LIB 9.0
Safe
South Perth Geoff Baker ALP v LIB 10.1
Scarborough Stuart Aubrey ALP v LIB 10.4
Geraldton Lara Dalton ALP v NAT 11.7
Kalamunda Matthew Hughes ALP v LIB 11.8
Kalgoorlie Ali Kent ALP v LIB 12.0
Darling Range Hugh Jones ALP v LIB 13.5
Albany Rebecca Stephens ALP v LIB 13.7
Dawesville Lisa Munday ALP v LIB 13.9
Bicton Lisa O'Malley ALP v LIB 15.6
Fremantle Simone McGurk ALP v GRN 15.8
Kingsley Jessica Stojkovski ALP v LIB 16.9
Murray-Wellington Robyn Clarke ALP v LIB 17.2
Hillarys Caitlin Collins ALP v LIB 19.0
Very safe
Pilbara Kevin Michel ALP v NAT 20.4
Jandakot Yaz Mubarakai ALP v LIB 21.0
Kimberley Divina D'Anna ALP v LIB 21.4
Mount Lawley Simon Millman ALP v LIB 21.6
Bunbury Don Punch ALP v LIB 22.5
Collie-Preston Jodie Hanns ALP v LIB 23.4
Joondalup Emily Hamilton ALP v LIB 24.7
Mandurah David Templeman ALP v LIB 25.2
Landsdale Margaret Quirk ALP v LIB 25.4
Forrestfield Stephen Price ALP v LIB 25.5
Midland Michelle Roberts ALP v LIB 25.5
Balcatta David Michael ALP v LIB 25.8
Cockburn David Scaife ALP v LIB 26.7
Burns Beach Mark Folkard ALP v LIB 26.9
Swan Hills Jessica Shaw ALP v LIB 27.1
Willagee Peter Tinley ALP v LIB 27.1
Victoria Park Hannah Beazley ALP v LIB 27.8
Wanneroo Sabine Winton ALP v LIB 28.4
Morley Amber-Jade Sanderson ALP v LIB 28.6
Belmont Cassie Rowe ALP v LIB 29.2
Maylands Lisa Baker ALP v LIB 29.3
Perth John Carey ALP v LIB 29.3
Cannington Bill Johnston ALP v LIB 30.4
Thornlie Chris Tallentire ALP v LIB 30.9
Bassendean Dave Kelly ALP v LIB 31.6
Butler John Quigley ALP v LIB 32.2
Southern River Terry Healy ALP v LIB 33.1
Warnbro Paul Papalia ALP v LIB 33.4
Mirrabooka Meredith Hammat ALP v LIB 33.7
West Swan Rita Saffioti ALP v LIB 34.2
Kwinana Roger Cook ALP v LIB 34.8
Armadale Tony Buti ALP v LIB 35.5
Baldivis Reece Whitby ALP v LIB 36.9
Rockingham Mark McGowan ALP v LIB 37.7
Non-government seats
Marginal
North West Central Vince Catania NAT v ALP 1.7
Fairly safe
Moore Shane Love NAT v ALP 8.5
Safe
Central Wheatbelt Mia Davies NAT v ALP 10.7
Roe Peter Rundle NAT v ALP 11.1
Crossbench seats
Vasse Libby Mettam LIB v ALP 4.3
Cottesloe David Honey LIB v ALP 7.4

Opinion polling

Legislative Assembly (lower house) polling
Date Firm Primary vote TPP vote
ALP LIB NAT GRN ONP OTH ALP LIB
13 March 2021 election 59.9% 21.3% 4.0% 6.9% 1.3% 6.6% 69.7% 30.3%
5–11 March 2021 Newspoll[45] 57% 23% 3% 9% 2% 6% 66% 34%
18 February 2021 Newspoll[46] 59% 23% 2% 8% 3% 5% 68% 32%
16 February 2021 uComms[47] 46.8% 27.5% 5.1% 8.3% 6.9% 5.3% 61% 39%
16 February 2021 Online Research Unit[48] 49% 24% 3% 9% 3% 12% N/A
12 August 2018 YouGov-Galaxy[49] 40% 32% 6% 11% 5% 6% 54% 46%
Oct-Dec 2017 Essential[50] 41% 29% 4% 13% 7% 6% 57% 43%
Jul-Sep 2017 Essential[50] 39% 32% 4% 12% 8% 6% 54% 46%
Apr-Jun 2017 Essential[50] 44% 33% 4% 9% 5% 6% 55% 45%
11 March 2017 election 42.2% 31.2% 5.4% 8.9% 4.9% 7.4% 55.5% 44.5%

Newspaper endorsements

Newspaper Endorsement
The West Australian Labor[51]

Demographic trends

While all electorates swung towards Labor, there was some correlation between certain characteristics (demographics as measured by the 2016 Australian Census) and the magnitude of the two-party-preferred swing to Labor in each electorate. This does not necessarily imply a causal relationship but rather some similarities between electoral districts which moved more or less towards the Labor party on the two-party-preferred.[52]

Incumbent MP

Electoral districts which were flipped by a Labor candidate at the last election (e.g. the electoral district of Joondalup, which was a Liberal-held district prior to the 2017 Western Australian state election) saw a bigger swing to Labor than similar districts which were already Labor-held or which had not changed hands. Districts where a Labor incumbent retired (e.g. electoral district of Albany) saw a smaller swing to Labor than similar districts where there were no Labor retirements.[52]

Age

Electoral districts with a high proportion of persons aged 60 years or older swung less to Labor than the rest of the state (R2 = 0.2, p < 0.001), even after adjusting for the incumbency effect mentioned above.[52]

Occupation

Electoral districts with a high proportion of persons working in clerical or administrative jobs swung more to Labor than the rest of the state (R2 = 0.12, p < 0.01). This may be confounded by the fact that most such electorates are inner-city Perth electorates and therefore this may be more a factor of inner-city Perth swinging harder to Labor than the rest of the state, and not due to clerical/administrative-heavy electorates swinging to Labor per se.[52]

Language

Electorates with a higher proportion of persons who spoke a language other than English at home also somewhat swung more to Labor than the rest of the state (R2 = 0.08, p < 0.05).[52]

See also

References

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  2. ^ Law, Peter (14 March 2021). "WA a sea of red in Liberal bloodbath". The Sunday Times. West Australian Newspapers Limited. p. 3. Green formally called the election for Labor on ABC at 6.42pm, just 42 minutes after polls closed and with only 0.7 per cent of votes counted.((cite news)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  3. ^ "WA Election: Sean L'Estrange loses Churchlands, leaving Liberals with just two Lower House seats". ABC News. 19 March 2021.
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