State Election 2017: Race for Fremantle seat heats up

Martin Spencer
Hayden Shenton
Simone McGurk
Martin Spencer Hayden Shenton Simone McGurk

Traditionally a strong Labor seat, 2013 saw a slight closing of the gap as Labor’s Simone McGurk won the seat with 57.86 per cent of the vote on a two-party preferred basis.

Ms McGurk had 38.3 per cent of the primary vote while Liberal Matthew Hanssen had 35.9 per cent and Green Andrew Sullivan 18.1 per cent.

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Despite Labor holding the seat for all but 10 years since William Carpenter in 1911, Ms McGurk said that would not make her complacent.

“In days gone by Labor’s vote came from working people, and even though Fremantle is becoming more urbane people are very informed and generally progressive,” she said.

“I don’t think anyone should take their electorate for granted; my ethos has been to work hard throughout the term to communicate with people and respond to issues as they come up.”

With new candidates in this election, both the Liberals and the Greens are pushing to sway Fremantle voters.

Liberal candidate Hayden Shenton said preference allocation made Labor’s win in 2013 look bigger than it actually was.

“There is much change in the area that it is wrong to now assume by tradition; many offspring are now voting for Liberal although their parents were traditionally Labor supporters,” he said.

“My intent is to understand what the electorate needs more than wants, which is more emotive, and act accordingly.”

Green candidate Martin Spencer said: “We need to have another voice that understands the unique character of Fremantle and is able to ensure the views of the community are sought and discussed, not lost in the party politics”.

“I do not see that I have to swing voters away from anyone, I am offering a genuine alternative to the major parties.”