A tight race, Hasluck would have it

Jun 01, 2016 Madeleine Stephens
Guildford Post Office, Guilford. Photo by Madeleine Stephens
Sitting Member:
Wyatt, K (LP)
Size of electorate:
1192 sq. Km

Redistribution details:

The suburbs of Thornlie, Gosnells and Southern River were redistributed to Burt, an electorate created in 2015. Hasluck gained the Darling Range suburbs from Pearce and High Wycombe joined Swan.

Sitting Member

Ken Wyatt first ran for the Liberal Party in 2010 and, upon winning, he became the first Indigenous member of the House of Representatives.

Key Comments

The electorate is classed as Outer Metropolitan. Key activities include light industry, retail, medical, transport, manufacturing and construction. Typically, the densely populated west and south favour Labor, while the sprawling north and east regions prefer Liberal. Liberal voters increased in the 2015 redistribution with a new margin of 6% announced.

Electorate Profile

A 25-minute drive east from the centre of Perth and you're at the western boundary of Hasluck.

The eastern border is marked by the Darling Range, in this part of the world known as the Perth Hills.

The electorate encompasses the suburban cities of Swan and Gosnells, and the rural residential Shire of Mundaring and parts of the rural residential Shire of Kalamunda, all of which fall within metropolitan Perth.

The electorate houses ‘tree-change’ families and retirees living on large blocks in the middle-region, the wineries and vineyards of the tourist-friendly Swan Valley to the north west, farming land in the north east and low-income, higher density areas near the west and south boundaries.

All that makes for an eclectic demographic.

Midland, a suburb in the west of Hasluck, had (at the 2011 Census) an ageing population, with 18.4% of people over the age of 65. Unemployment rates are also high at 8.3%, compared to the rest of Western Australia's 4.7%.

Meanwhile, slightly to the east, in the suburb of Parkerville, only 8.8% of the population were over the age of 65 and employment rates were well below the national and state average, hovering around 3.3 %.

Newly acquired Gidgegannup, in the Perth Hills, resembles more of a country town than a city suburb. The area has a slightly older population, 12% over the age of 65 but an very low unemployment rate of 2.8%.

So many variances in age, education and income mean a variety of issues and interests across the electorate.

Hasluck was created for the 2001 election. Labor candidate Sharryn Jackson first held the seat but was defeated in the next election by Stuart Henry from the Liberal Party in 2004. Jackson returned to win the seat in 2007.

The 2010 election was a true nail-biter for Hasluck. At the end of election night, it was the only electorate with an unclear result. With both major parties holding an equal number of seats, Hasluck became vital to win.

In the end, the Liberal’s Ken Wyatt defeated Jackson by 0.6%. Wyatt’s win marked a historic milestone as he was the first Indigenous member of the House of Representatives.

Hasluck was affected in the redistribution of federal electoral boundaries which was finalised in early 2016. The suburbs of Thornlie, Gosnells and Southern River were allocated to the newly created electorate of Burt.

Hasluck gained suburbs along the Darling Range the electorate of Pearce, including Mundaring, Darlington, Gidgegannup and Parkerville. The suburb of High Wycombe was surrendered to Swan. The redistribution strengthened the Liberal margin by 1.1%.

Wyatt will now contest Hasluck for the Liberal Party for the third time. His victory at the 2013 election makes him the first sitting MP to retain the seat.

The Liberal candidate worked as a primary school teacher in Western Australian state schools before taking a job at the Education Department. In 2003, he became the director of Aboriginal Health in New South Wales and then Western Australia. In 2015, he was sworn in as the Assistant Minister for Health.

Challenging Wyatt in his first campaign for Hasluck is Bill Leadbetter from the Australian Labor Party. He has worked as a high school teacher, lecturer, author, historian, archeologist, speechwriter and policy advisor. Leadbetter is also a member of the St George’s Anglican Cathedral in Perth.

A delay to the government’s NBN roll out has affected Hasluck. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (then Communications Minister) promised a full NBN roll out by 2016 but much of the Perth Hills is still waiting.

Hasluck has an above average number of residents over the age of 65, making aged care an important electoral issue.

While the overall unemployment rate is low, when figures for individual suburbs such as Midland and Maddington are considered, it is clear to see that jobs are a major issue in some areas.

Residents have been campaigning since December over a toxic waste site on the border of Hazelmere and High Wycombe.

The Liberal Party currently leads with a 6 per cent margin, indicating yet another tight race for this seesaw seat.

2013 Election Results

Candidate Party Votes % Swing(%)
WYATT, KenElected Liberal 38951 45.42 +3.43
MUNRO, Chris Sex Party 2236 2.61 +2.61
STEVENS, Daniel Katter's Australian Party 569 0.66 +0.66
EVANS, Adrian Australian Labor Party 28081 32.74 -4.79
SCOTT, Robin David Palmer United Party 5885 6.86 +6.86
LANGLANDS, Peter The Greens (WA) 6546 7.63 -5.15
WHITTAKER, Jason Australian Christians 2130 2.48 +2.48
SHARRIN, Kyran Family First Party 1365 1.59 -0.67
...... No Carbon Tax Climate Sceptics 0 0 -0.65
...... Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) 0 0 -3.04
...... Other 0 0 -1.77


Madeleine Stephens


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