A seat reflecting the federal flow

May 24, 2016 Hannah Stone
Point Walter hosting a student sailing competition. Photo by Hannah Stone
Deep Water Point in Mount Pleasant. Photo by Hannah Stone
Fiona Stanley Hospital in Murdoch. Photo by Hannah Stone
Sitting Member:
Jensen, D (LP)
Size of electorate:
83 sq. Km

Redistribution details:

Tangney has lost Canning Vale to the new seat of Burt, but gained Lynwood from Swan, and Bicton and Willagee from Fremantle.

Sitting Member

Dennis Jensen lost pre-selection to Ben Morton on 3 April 2016.

Key Comments

Tangney contains some light industry and commercial business in Willetton and Myaree, with suburban housing in most of the remainder. Murdoch University and Fiona Stanley Hospital are also in Tangney and the topics of federal funding for higher education and hospitals are likely to be important issues in this electorate.

Electorate Profile

Boats coasting on the shimmering Swan River, joggers and picnickers making use of abundant riverside parkland and paths, cafes abuzz with customers, sedate suburban sprawl intersected by major thoroughfares, and some light industrial areas sum up the electorate of Tangney.

Scattered throughout the 83-square-kilometre, inner-metropolitan electorate south of Perth are also various commercial, retail, educational, recreational and medical enterprises including Garden City Shopping Centre, Melville Leisure Centre, Murdoch University, and Fiona Stanley Hospital.

With an area that follows the south bank of the Swan River from Bicton to Lynwood there are many grand, modern homes amongst modest originals that look out over the sparkling waters.

Point Walter Reserve provides abundant recreational opportunities and the conservation area of Blackwall Reach (Jenalup) is significant for Indigenous women.

Tucked into pleasant suburban expanses are little local cafes and independent gourmet greengrocers.

Small, cocooned lake reserves signify remnant wetlands, with the well-known Piney Lakes Reserve operating a council-run environmental education centre.

People living in the electorate of Tangney have an average income of $61,782, making it a reasonably well-off residential zone with largely conservative interests.

Cosily assimilated into the suburbs are a number of retirement villages and aged-care facilities, now within convenient reach of the recently opened, cutting edge Fiona Stanley Hospital - currently suffering some early operational teething problems and the resultant political controversy. This electorate has been a firmly held Liberal seat since 1984 when the electorate borders were changed to include the new seat of Brand. Tangney then lost areas from industrial coastal Kwinana to the outer south-eastern suburb of Gosnells.

More recent changes in electoral boundaries saw the loss of the industrial area of Canning Vale to the new seat of Burt and the addition of the suburbs of Bicton, Willagee and Lynwood, but this has only slightly trimmed the Liberal margin from 14.7% to 13.1%.

At the last Federal election in 2013, the Liberal Party won the seat of Tangney with 57.17% of first preference votes and 64.67% of two party-preferred votes, maintaining a comfortable conservative vote.

The seat was held by Dr Dennis Jensen since 2004, but he lost preselection in April this year.

It seems many residents of Tangney don’t follow their electorate’s internal politics and are not basing their vote on the Member for Tangney but on which party they prefer at the Federal level, so a change in the Liberal candidate is unlikely to be reflected in the polls.

Some contentious federal issues that are of interest to residents in the Tangney region are changes to negative gearing, education funding and university fees.

Tangney has a lot of well-established suburbs with both home-owners with investment properties and renters who are closely following the political debate around negative gearing.

The Labor party is proposing to limit negative gearing and increase the capital gains tax, but the Liberal party believes this will affect property values and increase rent.

Melville resident, Scott Russell, is concerned about how the limit on negative gearing could affect the value of his two properties.

“I am more of a swing voter and the conversation about negative gearing will definitely influence my decision on who to vote for.

“I’m worried about how it will affect my properties but I also want the housing market to be in a good state for when my kids are older,” Russell said.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Tangney has a large proportion of people working in education and training, health care and social assistance, making funding for education and health care of prominent interest.

There is also a large student population based around Murdoch University and therefore concern about deregulating university fees and funding cuts to education could influence voting.

Murdoch University student and Bicton resident, Olivia Haynes, is unsure who she’ll vote for, but is monitoring how changes to university fees could affect her.

“Getting your feet off the ground with student debt is hard enough already so I am worried about any possible changes to university fees,” said Haynes.

Because Tangney is a safe Liberal seat it’s unlikely to influence  the outcome of the election but according to political expert, Dr Ian Cook from Murdoch University, the electorate often reflects the Liberal party’s politics at the national level.

“There’s something about the internal politics of the Liberal party that Tangney sort of systematically reflects...the past of this seat has been an indicator about the status of the Liberal party, dominant players in the Liberal party, that sort of stuff,” said Dr Cook.

Even in the current political uncertainty that has many voters sitting on the fence, Tangney is a content electorate, well-equipped for all its immediate needs and with apparently little desire for upsetting the conservative status quo within its boundaries.

2013 Election Results

Candidate Party Votes % Swing(%)
CARSON, Stephen Andrew Rise Up Australia Party 922 1.08 +1.08
JENSEN, DennisElected Liberal 48752 57.17 +1.48
DRIVER, Wayne Robert Palmer United Party 3738 4.38 +4.38
WILLIS, Luke Antony Australian Labor Party 20744 24.33 -1.47
WIESKE, John Australian Christians 2236 2.62 +2.62
BEST, Peter The Greens (WA) 8882 10.42 -3.07
...... Family First Party 0 0 -1.67
...... Christian Democratic Party (Fred Nile Group) 0 0 -3.36


Hannah Stone

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