Whitby fails a second time

Ian Britza.
Ian Britza.

Incumbent member Ian Britza had more than 54 per cent of votes on a two-candidate preferred basis, with Labor’s Reece Whitby acquiring more about 45 per cent.

Going into the State election as a marginal Labor seat by a wafer-thin 0.8 per cent margin, the race for Morley was too close to call ahead of Saturday’s poll and billed as critical to the end result.

Mr Britza said he was humbled by the ‘extraordinary outcome’ and took the support as a ‘wonderful endorsement by the community’.

He said his campaign goal was to break even in areas considered traditionally Labor such as Nollamara and Mirrabooka, giving him a basis to do well in the rest of the electorate.

Results by polling places showed Mr Britza fell just short of breaking even in Nollamara with 849 votes to Labor’s 870, and 685 votes in Mirrabooka to Labor’s 688.

‘I worked hard in the more African and multicultural areas and thank the cultures who traditionally supported John D’Orazio for their votes,’ he said.

In defeat, Mr Whitby said he was saddened by the result, with the only shock being the extent of the swing to the Liberals.

‘We had a visionary and grassroots campaign that I am very proud of, but I’m sad that despite all that we lost to a negative campaign,’ he said.

‘In the end I was overwhelmed by the huge tidal wave.’

After running for the seat of Morley two elections in a row, Mr Whitby said he would not return to the campaign trail ahead of the 2017 State Election.

Labor’s Rita Saffioti held on to West Swan by just under 5 per cent on a two-candidate preferred basis.

The seat would have been one the Liberals saw as winnable, with the margin at 4.1 per cent heading into the election, but Ms Saffioti managed to stem the massive swing to the Liberals to just 1.7 per cent.

Bayswater councillor and Liberal candidate Sylvan Albert had polled more primary votes than Labor’s Lisa Baker with 77 per cent of the vote counted, but Ms Baker will retain the seat with a lead of 5.7 per cent on preferences.

As expected, union heavyweight Dave Kelly, who replaced the retired Martin Whitely, retained the seat of Bassendean for Labor with a comfortable 12 per cent margin.

Labor incumbent Janine Freeman won the new seat of Mirrabooka with a margin of 10 per cent.