Proposal to rename electorate ‘does not make sense’

The WA Electoral Commission has proposed changing the Girrawheen electorate to Erickson.
The WA Electoral Commission has proposed changing the Girrawheen electorate to Erickson.

RENAMING the Girrawheen state electorate “Erickson” does not make sense, say City of Wanneroo councillors.

The WA Electoral Commission has proposed the name change in its boundary review ahead of the 2017 state elections. It also wants to rename the Ocean Reef electorate “Hale” and West Swan “Mann”.

While the proposed changes could see the Girrawheen electorate – currently held by Margaret Quirk – cede Cullacabardee, Warwick and Hamersley, it would retain its namesake suburb Girrawheen, plus Darch, Landsdale, Madeley and Marangaroo.

At the August 18 council meeting, Cr Dianne Guise said there was inequity in the proposed name changes, with northern electorates renamed after people, but a proposed new southern electorate given a geographical name, Baldivis.

“Why should Girrawheen be changed when Baldivis is new?” she said.

“I can’t see any reason why the name of Girrawheen should change at the next election.”

Cr Domenic Zappa said the proposal to rename the electorate after 20th century naturalist Frederica Erickson would cause “unnecessary confusion”. “Frederica Erickson has absolutely no connection to the local area,” he said.

“There is no question that Rica Erickson was a distinguished artist, botanist, archivist and historian for which she received the middle-ranking Australian honour as a Member of the Order of Australia.

“However, any name change to the seat should be embraced by the local community and should have connection with the area.

“If the electorate of Girrawheen were known for its biodiversity of its flora and fauna, then naming the seat Erickson may make some sense.

“However, in large parts of the electorate, land was cleared early on and operated as market gardens.”

The objection period closed on August 24. Commissioners will now review the submissions and publish the final boundaries before November 30.