Steve Irons was the only Liberal politician to unseat a sitting Labor MP during the 2007 federal election, winning Swan by 164 votes. By 2013 his margin had increased to 6.53%
Swan is an inner metropolitan seat and its industries include education, tourism, recreation, light industry, commercial, retail and transport. The electorate includes Perth Airport, Curtin University of Technology, and the Burswood Entertainment Complex, as well as many inner and outer city suburbs.
Named after the Swan River which borders it to the north and west, the electorate is an inner metropolitan electorate in Perth. Liberal MP Steve Irons has held the seat since 2007 when he defeated Labor member Kim Wilkie by just 164 votes.
At the last election, Irons retained the seat with a swing of 2.8 per cent. But Swan is still a marginal Liberal seat, making it potentially crucial in the election.
The Labor candidate for Swan is Tammy Solonec, a human rights activist and lawyer. She is vocal about issues facing Indigenous Australians, including reconciliation, acknowledgement, and high Indigenous incarceration rates. She speaks out about education reform, women’s rights, and unemployment.
The Greens candidate is Sarah Nielsen-Harvey, who is currently studying law and political science. She says she is concerned about public services such as teachers and nurses, environmental issues, equal opportunity, same-sex marriage, and refugee policies.
Swan encompasses suburbs in the inner south of Perth and stretches as far north as Perth Airport. Its major industries include education, tourism, recreation, light industry, commercial, retail and transport.
Swan contains a number of recreation and tourist attractions, including Belmont and Ascot racecourses, Burswood Casino, Perth Zoo, Perth Football Club, Cannington Greyhounds, the state tennis centre, and three golf courses.
Health care is a significant industry for Swan. The electorate covers South Perth Hospital and Bentley Hospital, and under the current government has been subject to plans for a new medical school at Curtin University.
The issues in Swan are wide-ranging, with crime, road infrastructure, health care, and environmental concerns important.
The Perth Freight Link has been divisive since it was first proposed by the Coalition Government in 2014. The billion dollar project was devised to improve road safety, and freight access from industrial areas in the Swan electorate to the Port of Fremantle, but concerns that construction could threaten wetlands to the south of the electorate have made it unpopular with residents there.
Crime along the Armadale and Thornlie passenger railway lines has been a long noted problem for the area. Irons has suggested night-time guards be placed at the stations, similar to the model used in Victoria, but changes have yet to be made.
Noise pollution from Perth Airport is also a big issue in Swan.
A $2 billion Forrestfield-Perth Airport Link is also underway. The train line will mean a 20-minute commute to the city from Forrestfield and a connection between Perth city and the domestic and international airport.
Swan covers Curtin University, Clontarf Aboriginal College, a TAFE college, three Islamic schools, and more than 50 primary and secondary schools. Deregulation of university fees, as proposed by the Liberals, could have a significant impact on the university’s students.
In a recent redistribution, Swan lost the suburbs of Beckenham, Ferndale, Langford, and Lynward, gaining Forrestfield (part), High Wycombe, and South Guildford (part).
Swan has long been considered a swing seat. The recent redistribution plays into the uncertainty over who will be voted in as the next federal member for Swan.