Western Australia: Fremantle by-election 2009 and DST Referendum

A fourth referendum on adopting daylight savings time (DST) and a by-election in the state division of Fremantle were held today, May 16 in Western Australia.

DST Referendum

Today’s vote was the fourth vote on adopting DST after similar referendums in 1975, 1984 and 1992. In 1992, the proposal failed, with 53% voting against the adoption of DST. As the results stand now, the referendum has failed once again, with 55.49% against and 44.51% in favour. As in 1992, the West Australian outback voted overwhelmingly against, with the NO vote reaching 84% in the Agricultural electoral region and 67% in the Mining and Pastoral region. Unlike in 1992, however, Perth narrowly rejected the proposal, with 50.3% against (53% voted in favour in 1992).

Roughly 70% has been counted, but the YES count has remained relatively steady for quite some time, and it is extremely unlikely that there will be a massive YES push in the final votes.

The defeat of DST is probably the final nail in the coffin for DST.

Fremantle By-Election

The division of Fremantle, located south of Perth and centred around the important harbour city of Fremantle held a by-election today following the resignation of its sitting Labor MP, Jim McGinty, who was Attorney General until 2008, when Labor lost government to the Liberals and Nationals. In the 2008 election, McGinty defeated the Liberal candidate 62-38 on the two-candidate preferred count, although on first preferences, McGinty was ahead of the Liberal candidate 39-30, with the Greenies performing very well (27.6%).

Map of Fremantle

Map of Fremantle

Historically, Fremantle has been a solidy Labor seat, the ALP having held it since 1924. The electorate was once a very important (although it remains important even today) industrial harbour, and was at the centre of many labour disputes. Hurt by corruption, local divisions, and an evolving socio-economic situtation, Labor’s first preference vote total plumetted to 43% from its usual 60% range in the 1989 election and the ALP has never again broken 50% on the first count.

The governing Liberals did not stand a candidate in this by-election, although Carmelo Zagami ran as a Liberal Independent. The main constestors were Peter Tagliaferri for Labour and Adele Carles, the Greenie who narrowly missed winning in 2008.

Adele Carles (Green) 44.3% (+16.7%)
Peter Tagliaferri (ALP) 38.6% (-0.1%)
Carmelo Zagami (IndLib) 5.3% (Liberal vote was 30.2% in 2008)
Nik Varga (Ind) 3.4%
Sam Wainwright (Socialist Alliance) 2.3%
Steve Boni (Ind) 1.7%
Andriette du Plessis (Family First) 0.9% (-0.8%)
Jan Ter Horst (Ind) 0.8%
Rosemary Ann Lorrimar (Ind) 0.8%
Rob Toten (LaRouchite) 0.3%

After distribution of preferences (called 2PP in Australia, or Two-Party Preferred). Zagami, Ter Horst, and Wainwright directed preferences to the Greenie, and the other candidates directed preferences to the ALP candidate and Mayor of Fremantle Peter Tagliaferri.

Adele Carles (Green) 54%
Peter Tagliaferri (ALP) 46%

It is amazing how awful Zagami polled. It seems as if most Liberals followed his instructions to preference Carles, but a whole lot  did so by giving her first preferences and not second preferences. This, compounded with historical Green strength in Fremantle gave the Greenies over 40% of the primary votes, a historical feat in Australia. This election is also a historic defeat for the ALP in Fremantle, after years of gradual decline.

Posted on May 16, 2009, in Australia, By-elections, Referendums, Western Australia. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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