Curtin: a coronation?

May 31, 2016 Charlie Lewis
Bold Park in the electorate of Curtin, looking toward the Perth Hills between Subiaco Oval and West Perth. Photo by Charlie Lewis.
Sitting Member:
Bishop, J (LP)
Size of electorate:
98 sq. Km

Redistribution details:

In the redistribution Curtin lost West Perth, parts of Leederville and Mount Hawthorn to Perth, and it gained Innaloo and Doubleview from Stirling.

Sitting Member

Julie Bishop is the current foreign minister, and her appointment marked the first time the role has been held be a woman. She is also deputy leader of the Liberal Party and she has served in the Howard, Abbott and Turnbull Governments.

Key Comments

Curtin is an inner Metro electorate with a 17.2% Liberal margin, making it the safest federal seat in Australia. Industries include medical, education (UWA is based there), retail, recreation, light industrial, professional services, commercial, and hospitality.

Electorate Profile

Named after Australia's WA-based wartime Prime Minister John Curtin, this electorate in Perth's leafy west was created in 1949, carved from the northern remnants of his former seat of Fremantle.

The seat was comfortably snapped up by the Liberals the first time it was contested, and save for the late Allan Rocher’s stint as an Independent between 1996 and 1998, it has been held by them ever since.

Curtin encompasses some of Australia's richest suburbs, including Dalkeith, Peppermint Grove, Claremont, Crawley and Mosman Park.

As of the 2011 Census, it had the highest proportion of high income households of any electorate in Australia.

The electorate takes in the Princess Margaret Hospital and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, among others, and so medicine is a major industry.

With the sandstone, or more accurately, limestone, University of Western Australia, and several exclusive private schools within its boundaries (more than half the children in Curtin attend non-government schools), education is a big issue.

Given the tourism appeal of the coastline from Cottesloe to Scarborough, as well as the shopping quarters of Claremont, Subiaco and Leederville, the hospitality and retail sectors are major employers.

The seat is held by Australia’s first female Foreign Minister, Deputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop, who has held Curtin since 1998.

Since then she has incrementally extended the Liberals' hold on the electorate.

Indeed, with a two party preferred margin of 17.4 per cent in the 2013 election, Curtin is among the safest federal seats in all of Australia.

Its loss of West Perth, parts of Leederville and Mount Hawthorn to the seat of Perth, and the addition of Innaloo and Doubleview from Stirling has potential to secure Curtin even further for the Liberals.

Prior to her time in the Abbott and Turnbull Cabinets, Bishop served as a Cabinet Minister in the Howard Government.

Before entering politics, she was a commercial litigation lawyer and a director of SBS.

Labor is putting forward Melissa Callanan, who has held several roles across education and the arts, including stints in community radio and the Perth International Arts Festival. Her focus centres on education and the gender pay gap.

The Greens candidate is Vivienne Glance, a writer and director of theatre in Australia, the UK and the US who has recently completed a PhD in creative writing at UWA. She is campaigning on a platform of climate change action, diversity and social justice.

It remains to be seen whether Bishop's political rivals can somehow alter Curtin's reputation as less of a contest than a coronation.

2013 Election Results

Candidate Party Votes % Swing(%)
WHATELY, Jennifer Rise Up Australia Party 708 0.83 +0.83
CULLITY, Judith The Greens (WA) 12985 15.31 -2.41
FORDER, Gail Australian Christians 1058 1.25 +1.25
TAN, Daryl Australian Labor Party 15189 17.91 -1.36
BAKER, Glenn Phillip Palmer United Party 2237 2.64 +2.64
BISHOP, JulieElected Liberal 52623 62.06 +0.93
...... Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) 0 0 -1.87


Charlie Lewis




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