Cottesloe by-election: Barnett’s successor David Honey may increase Liberal Party popularity

Cottesloe MLA-elect David Honey (centre) celebrates his win with his wife Robyn Honey and their children at the Sea View Golf Course in Cottesloe on Saturday. Picture: Jon Bassett.
David Honey celebrates with his wife Robyn and their children at the Sea View Golf Course in Cottesloe on Saturday. Picture: Jon Bassett.
David Honey celebrates with his wife Robyn and their children at the Sea View Golf Course in Cottesloe on Saturday. Picture: Jon Bassett.
David Honey and his wife Robyn votes at the Cottesloe Civic Centre on Saturday. Picture: Jon Bassett.
David Honey enjoys the mandatory election day sausage sizzle at Swanbourne Primary School.
Cottesloe MLA-elect David Honey (centre) celebrates his win with his wife Robyn Honey and their children at the Sea View Golf Course in Cottesloe on Saturday. Picture: Jon Bassett. David Honey celebrates with his wife Robyn and their children at the Sea View Golf Course in Cottesloe on Saturday. Picture: Jon Bassett. David Honey celebrates with his wife Robyn and their children at the Sea View Golf Course in Cottesloe on Saturday. Picture: Jon Bassett. David Honey and his wife Robyn votes at the Cottesloe Civic Centre on Saturday. Picture: Jon Bassett. David Honey enjoys the mandatory election day sausage sizzle at Swanbourne Primary School.

COTTESLOE MLA-elect David Honey (59) may have bucked by-election trends and increased his Liberal Party’s margin in the blue-ribbon seat.

“I’ll do everything I can to be the best member for Cottesloe,” Dr Honey told party supporters at a celebration at Sea View Golf Course when the result became clear Saturday night.

The by-election was called when former premier Colin Barnett, the long-standing MLA who held the seat with a 21.1 per cent two-party preferred margin after the 2017 State Election, retired from politics last month.

With 64.5 per cent of ballots counted, Dr Honey had 70.16 per cent of the two-party preferred votes, with Greens representative Greg Boland holding the remaining 29.8 per cent.

Leading senior Liberal Party members were buoyed by an initial five per cent jump in primary votes that has caused them to anticipate an increase in the final margin when counting is completed later this week.

Dr Honey, a scientist, chair of the Kwinana Industries Council and former part president played down any party leadership aspirations touted during the weekend, but he previously said he anticipated an eventual opposition or government ministry in science, mining and industry, and State development.

On Saturday, he thanked an absent Mr Barnett, and said he would concentrate on the electorate’s traffic congestion, including the push for a commuter cycling path from Swanbourne to Fremantle, and Mosman Park crime where fear resulted in “people not coming out of their houses”.

“Cottesloe beachfront development had to be done sensitively and not affect the character of the area, but people do want some change,” he said.

Dr Honey was fortunate to have drawn top position on the seven-candidate ballot paper.

Liberal Party State president Norman Moore said he doubted the ballot position affected the positive swing because “people don’t tend to donkey vote these days”.

Asked if the vote was bolstered by those happy about Mr Barnett’s departure, Liberal Party leader Mike Nahan said the former premier was a hard working local MP and the result may reflect greater dislike of the current Government than anticipated.

Before counting restarted, Dr Honey had 59.8 per cent of the primary vote, Mr Boland had 19.6 per cent, the WA Party’s Ron Norris had 9 per cent, and the Micro Business Party’s Cam Tinley was on 3.3 per cent.

Cottesloe councillor Michael Tucak led the independents with 5.4 per cent, followed by cycling advocate Michael Thomas (2.2 per cent) and Dimitri Malov (0.62).