POLLING numbers indicate that voters who backed independents four years ago returned to the two traditional parties in the western suburbs at the recent State Election.
“Last time you had former Cottesloe mayor Kevin Morgan in Cottesloe, so that was the great area of interest, particularly with the issue of council mergers,” Curtin University politics professor John Phillimore said.
In 2013, Mr Morgan got 11.4 per cent of the votes in the blue ribbon seat in a result Prof Phillimore said “constrained” former premier Colin Barnett’s vote.
With 88.6 per cent of the Cottesloe votes counted last Friday, Mr Barnett had 63.37 of the two-party preferred vote (64.7 per cent in 2013), Labor’s Caitlin Collins was on 36.63 per cent (29 per cent) and Greens’ Greg Boland was at 12.05 per cent (10.4 per cent).
Prof Phillimore said if Mr Barnett now chose to leave politics, the challenge for his Liberal Party would be to find a “quality” Cottesloe candidate that did no risk the seat being lost to another high-profile independent, after several of its key seats went to Liberal-turned-renegades last de-cade.
He said any Cottesloe Liberal candidate would have to weigh-up being in opposition for many years, and women comprised only four of the 13 Liberal MPs surviving the election.
In Nedlands, which has a history of Liberal Party defections including former MP Sue Walker, Liberal MLA Bill Marmion had a swing against him of about 10 per cent.
Labor’s Penny Taylor had 41.21 per cent of the two-party preferred vote, after a notable campaign, last Friday.
Some in the electorate’s Hollywood precinct were thought to have been angered by the former Liberal government putting them in the City of Perth.
However, Prof Phillimore said voting booth results would have to be analysed to see if that was a factor in the result, which could have also been affected by students living in other suburbs returning to where they were enrolled to vote in Nedlands
With 89.75 per cent of ballots counted, Churchlands MLA Sean L’Estrange appeared on track to suffer a small swing against his 70.2 per cent two-party preferred vote from 2013. Mr L’Estrange had 64.01 per cent, while 35.99 per cent held by Labor’s Paul Lilburne indicated a potential gain of about 6 per cent.