LABOR has reclaimed its traditional stronghold of Perth with John Carey emphatically winning the seat at last weekend’s state election.
It was one of the first results to be called on Saturday night and Mr Carey ended up nabbing a 14.6 per cent swing after preferences for a total of 61.8 per cent, wresting the seat from Liberal Eleni Evangel after her first term.
“It was really pleasing to get the primary vote from 36 up to 47 per cent,” he said, “and I was just overwhelmed by the number of messages from local residents in the leadup to the election saying ‘I’ve never voted Labor in my life, but based on your record as mayor…we’re voting for you’.”
He says his political priorities will be championing small business —having become well acquainted with the bureaucratic hurdles they have to go through — and reversing planning changes that have led to increased housing density in his patch.
Mr Carey differs from official Labor party policy in that he wants the Development Assessment Panels gone.
He singled out the quiet end of East Perth as an area in desperate need of revitalisation.
He said the CBD got a lot of investment in the form of projects like Elizabeth Quay and the City Link, but in East Perth (which boasts some of our swankiest hotels like the Hyatt) tourists step out of the door and find a dead part of town with closed shops and tumbleweeds.
Having experienced what he calls “a smear campaign”, he says “I genuinely want to raise the standard in politics…the first decision I made was to run a 100 per cent positive campaign.”
“There were no negative flyers or advertising, nothing against my opponent, because I wanted to win based on my ideas and my vision for Perth and not based on negativity.”
Mr Carey had several public public disagreements with Perth lord mayor Lisa Scaffidi over issues like council amalgamation and Perth council’s level of transparency. Despite that, he says he’ll happily work with her.
by DAVID BELL