2021 Western Australian state election

Last updated

2021 Western Australian state election
Flag of Western Australia.svg
  2017 13 March 2021 2025  

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 partySecond partyThird party
  Mark McGowan headshot.jpg
NAT
LIB
Leader Mark McGowan Mia Davies Zak Kirkup
Party Labor National Liberal
Leader since23 January 2012 (2012-01-23)21 March 2017 (2017-03-21)24 November 2020
Leader's seat Rockingham Central Wheatbelt Dawesville
(lost seat)
Last election41 seats5 seats13 seats
Seats before40 seats6 seats13 seats
Seats won53 seats4 seats2 seats
Seat changeIncrease2.svg 13Decrease2.svg 2Decrease2.svg 11
Percentage59.9%4.0%21.3%
SwingIncrease2.svg 17.7%Decrease2.svg 1.4%Decrease2.svg 9.9%
2PP 69.7%30.3%
2PP swingIncrease2.svg 14.1%Decrease2.svg 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.

Contents

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. The election is, to date, the most decisive election result at any level 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. [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

Winning party by electorate. 2021 Western Australian state election - Simple Results.svg
Winning party by electorate.
Legislative Assembly (IRV) – Turnout 85.46% (CV) [7] [8]
PartyVotes%SwingSeats+/–
  Labor 846,11659.92+17.7253Increase2.svg 13
  Liberal 300,79621.30−9.922Decrease2.svg 11
  Greens 97,7136.92−1.990Steady2.svg
  Nationals 56,4484.00−1.404Decrease2.svg 2
  No Mandatory Vaccination 23,1781.64+1.640Steady2.svg
  Australian Christians 20,8691.48−0.620Steady2.svg
  One Nation 17,8241.26−3.670Steady2.svg
  Shooters, Fishers, Farmers 9,6690.69−0.620Steady2.svg
  WAxit 7,9840.57−0.430Steady2.svg
  Liberal Democrats 7,1590.51+0.460Steady2.svg
  Western Australia 5,2760.37−0.090Steady2.svg
  Legalise Cannabis 4,9960.35+0.350Steady2.svg
  Sustainable Australia 1,3560.10+0.100Steady2.svg
  Socialist Alliance 7260.05−0.000Steady2.svg
  Liberals for Climate 5520.04−0.130Steady2.svg
  Independents 11,3280.80−1.040Steady2.svg
 Formal votes1,411,99096.24+0.78
 Informal votes55,1693.76−0.78
 Total 1,467,15959
 Registered voters/Turnout1,716,73285.46−2.06
Two-party-preferred vote [9]
Labor 983,29969.68Increase2.svg 14.14
Liberal 427,81230.32Decrease2.svg 14.14

Seats changing parties

SeatPre-2021SwingPost-2021
PartyMemberMarginMarginMemberParty
Bateman Liberal Dean Nalder 7.814.56.7 Kim Giddens Labor
Carine Liberal Tony Krsticevic 10.212.62.4 Paul Lilburne Labor
Churchlands Liberal Sean L'Estrange 11.712.50.8 Christine Tonkin Labor
Darling Range Liberal Alyssa Hayden 3.5*16.512.9 Hugh Jones Labor
Dawesville Liberal Zak Kirkup 0.814.713.9 Lisa Munday Labor
Geraldton National** Ian Blayney 1.312.911.6 Lara Dalton Labor
Hillarys Liberal Peter Katsambanis 0.419.319.0 Caitlin Collins Labor
Kalgoorlie Liberal Kyran O'Donnell 6.218.212.0 Ali Kent Labor
Nedlands  Liberal Bill Marmion 8.010.82.8 Katrina Stratton Labor 
Riverton Liberal Mike Nahan 4.213.29.0 Jags Krishnan Labor
Scarborough Liberal Liza Harvey 5.716.110.4 Stuart Aubrey Labor
South Perth Liberal John McGrath 7.217.310.1 Geoff Baker Labor
Warren-Blackwood  National Terry Redman 12.814.11.3 Jane Kelsbie Labor 
Members 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.

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

Legislative Council (STV/GVT) – Turnout 85.50% (CV) [7]
PartyPrimary Votes%SwingSeats+/-
  Labor 868,37460.34+19.9322Increase2.svg 8
  Liberal 254,38017.68−9.037Decrease2.svg 2
  Greens 91,8496.38−2.221Decrease2.svg 3
  National 40,2852.80−1.633Decrease2.svg 1
  Legalise Cannabis 28,4731.98+1.982Increase2.svg 2
  Australian Christians 28,0511.95+0.010Steady2.svg
  One Nation 21,2591.48−6.710Decrease2.svg 3
  Shooters, Fishers, Farmers 21,2101.47−0.890Decrease2.svg 1
  No Mandatory Vaccination 16,0941.12+1.120Steady2.svg
  Western Australia Party 10,4960.73+0.340Steady2.svg
  Animal Justice 9,7320.64−0.420Steady2.svg
  Liberal Democrats 9,2180.64−1.130Decrease2.svg 1
  Liberals for Climate 7,5150.52+0.080Steady2.svg
  WAxit 4,9240.34−0.210Steady2.svg
  Sustainable Australia 4,4050.31+0.310Steady2.svg
  Daylight Saving 3,4850.24−0.441Increase2.svg 1
  Great Australian 3,3970.24+0.240Steady2.svg
  Health Australia 3,1050.22+0.220Steady2.svg
  Socialist Alliance 9480.07−0.040Steady2.svg
  Independents 11,4860.80−0.350Steady2.svg
 Other4820.03+0.030Steady2.svg
 Formal votes1,439,16898.05+0.76
 Informal votes28,5771.95−0.76
 Total1,467,74536
 Registered voters/Turnout1,716,73285.50

Distribution of seats

Background

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 are contesting 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]

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

Retiring MPs

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]

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. [43]

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. [43] Retiring members are shown in italics.

GOVERNMENT SEATS
Marginal
Joondalup Emily Hamilton ALP0.03
Kingsley Jessica Stojkovski ALP1.2
Murray-Wellington Robyn Clarke ALP1.7
Jandakot Yaz Mubarakai ALP1.8
Pilbara Kevin Michel ALP v NAT2.2
Kalamunda Matthew Hughes ALP2.3
Bicton Lisa O'Malley ALP3.6
Mount Lawley Simon Millman ALP4.0
Burns Beach Mark Folkard ALP5.4
Albany Peter Watson ALP v NAT5.9
Fairly safe
Southern River Terry Healy ALP7.9
Balcatta David Michael ALP8.0
Wanneroo Sabine Winton ALP8.6
Forrestfield Stephen Price ALP9.4
Landsdale Margaret Quirk ALP9.6
Safe
Bunbury Don Punch ALP10.5
Belmont Cassie Rowe ALP11.4
Swan Hills Jessica Shaw ALP12.1
Morley Amber-Jade Sanderson ALP12.3
Perth John Carey ALP12.6
Midland Michelle Roberts ALP12.8
Kimberley Josie Farrer ALP13.1
Cockburn Fran Logan ALP14.3
Collie-Preston Mick Murray ALP14.7
Thornlie Chris Tallentire ALP15.8
Baldivis Reece Whitby ALP16.6
Victoria Park Ben Wyatt ALP16.8
Cannington Bill Johnston ALP17.6
Willagee Peter Tinley ALP17.7
Maylands Lisa Baker ALP17.9
Mandurah David Templeman ALP18.0
West Swan Rita Saffioti ALP18.4
Very Safe
Butler John Quigley ALP20.5
Kwinana Roger Cook ALP20.7
Bassendean Dave Kelly ALP21.6
Fremantle Simone McGurk ALP23.0
Mirrabooka Janine Freeman ALP23.3
Rockingham Mark McGowan ALP23.5
Warnbro Paul Papalia ALP23.7
Armadale Tony Buti ALP25.2
NON-GOVERNMENT SEATS
Marginal
Hillarys Peter Katsambanis LIB0.4
Dawesville Zak Kirkup LIB0.8
Darling Range Alyssa Hayden LIB (b/e)3.5
Riverton Mike Nahan LIB4.2
Scarborough Liza Harvey LIB5.7
Fairly safe
Kalgoorlie Kyran O'Donnell LIB6.2
South Perth John McGrath LIB7.2
Bateman Dean Nalder LIB7.8
Nedlands Bill Marmion LIB8.0
Safe
Carine Tony Krsticevic LIB10.2
Churchlands Sean L'Estrange LIB11.7
Cottesloe David Honey LIB14.1
Vasse Libby Mettam LIB14.6
CROSS BENCH SEATS
Geraldton Ian Blayney (NAT)LIB v ALP1.3
North West Central Vince Catania NAT v ALP10.1
Warren-Blackwood Terry Redman NAT v ALP12.8
Moore Shane Love NAT v LIB19.5
Central Wheatbelt Mia Davies NAT v ALP22.2
Roe Peter Rundle NAT v LIB25.9

Post-election pendulum

GOVERNMENT SEATS
Marginal
Churchlands Christine Tonkin ALP v LIB0.8
Warren-Blackwood Jane Kelsbie ALP v NAT1.3
Carine Paul Lilburne ALP v LIB2.5
Nedlands Katrina Stratton ALP v LIB2.8
Fairly safe
Bateman Kim Giddens ALP v LIB6.7
Riverton Jags Krishnan ALP v LIB9.0
Safe
South Perth Geoff Baker ALP v LIB10.1
Scarborough Stuart Aubrey ALP v LIB10.4
Geraldton Lara Dalton ALP v NAT11.7
Kalamunda Matthew Hughes ALP v LIB11.8
Kalgoorlie Ali Kent ALP v LIB12.0
Darling Range Hugh Jones ALP v LIB13.5
Albany Rebecca Stephens ALP v LIB13.7
Dawesville Lisa Munday ALP v LIB13.9
Bicton Lisa O'Malley ALP v LIB15.6
Fremantle Simone McGurk ALP v GRN15.8
Kingsley Jessica Stojkovski ALP v LIB16.9
Murray-Wellington Robyn Clarke ALP v LIB17.2
Hillarys Caitlin Collins ALP v LIB19.0
Very Safe
Pilbara Kevin Michel ALP v NAT20.4
Jandakot Yaz Mubarakai ALP v LIB21.0
Kimberley Divina D'Anna ALP v LIB21.4
Mount Lawley Simon Millman ALP v LIB21.6
Bunbury Don Punch ALP v LIB22.5
Collie-Preston Jodie Hanns ALP v LIB23.4
Joondalup Emily Hamilton ALP v LIB24.7
Mandurah David Templeman ALP v LIB25.2
Landsdale Margaret Quirk ALP v LIB25.4
Forrestfield Stephen Price ALP v LIB25.5
Midland Michelle Roberts ALP v LIB25.5
Balcatta David Michael ALP v LIB25.8
Cockburn David Scaife ALP v LIB26.7
Burns Beach Mark Folkard ALP v LIB26.9
Swan Hills Jessica Shaw ALP v LIB27.1
Willagee Peter Tinley ALP v LIB27.1
Victoria Park Hannah Beazley ALP v LIB27.8
Wanneroo Sabine Winton ALP v LIB28.4
Morley Amber-Jade Sanderson ALP v LIB28.6
Belmont Cassie Rowe ALP v LIB29.2
Maylands Lisa Baker ALP v LIB29.3
Perth John Carey ALP v LIB29.3
Cannington Bill Johnston ALP v LIB30.4
Thornlie Chris Tallentire ALP v LIB30.9
Bassendean Dave Kelly ALP v LIB31.6
Butler John Quigley ALP v LIB32.2
Southern River Terry Healy ALP v LIB33.1
Warnbro Paul Papalia ALP v LIB33.4
Mirrabooka Meredith Hammat ALP v LIB33.7
West Swan Rita Saffioti ALP v LIB34.2
Kwinana Roger Cook ALP v LIB34.8
Armadale Tony Buti ALP v LIB35.5
Baldivis Reece Whitby ALP v LIB36.9
Rockingham Mark McGowan ALP v LIB37.7
NON-GOVERNMENT SEATS
Marginal
North West Central Vince Catania NAT v ALP1.7
Fairly safe
Moore Shane Love NAT v ALP8.5
Safe
Central Wheatbelt Mia Davies NAT v ALP10.7
Roe Peter Rundle NAT v ALP11.1
CROSS BENCH SEATS
Vasse Libby Mettam LIB v ALP4.3
Cottesloe David Honey LIB v ALP7.4

Opinion polling

Legislative Assembly (lower house) polling
DateFirmPrimary vote TPP vote
ALPLIBNATGRNONPOTHALPLIB
13 March 2021 election59.9%21.3%4.0%6.9%1.3%6.6%69.7%30.3%
5–11 March 2021Newspoll [44] 57%23%3%9%2%6%66%34%
18 February 2021Newspoll [45] 59%23%2%8%3%5%68%32%
16 February 2021uComms [46] 46.8%27.5%5.1%8.3%6.9%5.3%61%39%
16 February 2021Online Research Unit [47] 49%24%3%9%3%12%
12 August 2018YouGov-Galaxy [48] 40%32%6%11%5%6%54%46%
Oct-Dec 2017Essential [49] 41%29%4%13%7%6%57%43%
Jul-Sep 2017Essential [49] 39%32%4%12%8%6%54%46%
Apr-Jun 2017Essential [49] 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

NewspaperEndorsement
The West Australian Labor [50]

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. [51]

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. [51]

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. [51]

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. [51]

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). [51]

See also

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References

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