Election 2019

It’s on: why the West matters

Which party will win?
Decision 2019. Photo: Eliza Lyon

Political commentator Peter Kennedy says he can’t think of a time where WA seats have been so significant in a federal election.

The election was confirmed this morning by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to be held on May 18.

University of Western Australia political science and international relations Professor Benjamin Reilly says winning WA electoral seats, particularly the seats of Curtin and Brand, could be the difference between victory and defeat in the upcoming election.

Whilst Mr Kennedy thought “nearly half of the West Australian seats are in play in this election,” the major seats the Labor party want to target are Hasluck and Swan.

Both Professor Reilly and Mr Kennedy agreed the seat of Pearce will be in play.

Curtin, Hasluck, Swan and Pearce are all held by the Liberal party while Brand is held by Labor.

“Liberals are really worried about Pearce and that they might lose [Attorney-General] Christian Porter who they see as a possible future leader,” Mr Kennedy says.

The seat of Pearce has only been held by the Liberal party and attorney-general Mr Porter has held the seat of Pearce since 2013.

Professor Reilly believes the Liberal party can not afford to lose any seats, with almost all experts expecting a change in government.

Mr Kennedy says Curtin is a seat of interest which, “could be on paper a safe Liberal seat, but … it could be an interesting night when preferences start being thrown around.”

Professor Reilly says multiple visits to WA by both Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten mean both major parties think WA is “pretty crucial” for an election win.