NEWLY elected Southern River MLA Terry Healy has vowed to be a “champion of education”.
Mr Healy won the seat of Southern River for Labor after a landslide swing against Liberal incumbent Peter Abetz.
He claimed 58.6 per cent of the vote with 62.4 per cent of the votes counted, securing a sizeable 19.5 per cent swing for Labor.
The former Southern River College teacher said he was passionate about young people’s needs.
“If I’m not improving the education of young people in this community, I don’t know why I’m here,” he said.
“So much damage has been done to our schools and the books have been a mess, but I’ll advocate for every single person. I’m visiting every single school today (Monday, March 13), just to drop off a letter to say ‘this is what we’re funding, let’s talk about how I can support you’.”
He said his victory was in part down to the Liberal Party’s “broken promises’.
“The same thing they promised this election, they promised at the last election and they never delivered,” he said.
“I think people need to have trust in their local officials.”
Mr Healy, who stood down from his role as a City of Gosnells councillor, said he was “humbled” by the manner of his win.
His victory marks the first time Labor has controlled the seat since 2008, ending Mr Abetz’s two-term reign as Southern River MLA.
Mr Healy paid tribute to Mr Abetz’s hard work within the community during his time in Parliament.
“On behalf of our community, I would like to extend our appreciation and thanks to Peter Abetz and his family for the many years of service to our community,” he said.
The 2015 electoral redistribution is believed to have played a key factor in the large victory, as the seat gained the valuable Labor territories of Gosnells and Huntingdale.
The redistribution cost the electorate a large part of the traditionally Liberal-leaning Canning Vale.
Labor’s Chris Tallentire retained the seat of Thornlie in a comprehensive victory.
Mr Tallentire claimed the seat with ease, having won 65.9 per cent of the vote with 68 per cent counted.
He saw off the challenge of Liberal Rob Coales with a 14.1 per cent swing in his favour.