Libs miss Kings Park in redraw

• The new boundaries mean half the Constitutional Centre voters will need to hike to another poll or lodge an absentee vote.

A CHUNK of West Perth has been excised from the state seat of Perth and handed back to Nedlands.

The Distribution Commission reviews boundaries every four years to keep electorate numbers even; legally they can’t be more than 10 per cent above the 27,573 average.

A lot of people have moved into Perth since the last boundary redraw, it’s about 30,454 electors, pushing that margin by 10.45 per cent.

Both Labor and the Liberals suggested Kings Park and a patch of West Perth to the south-west of Mitchell Freeway go to Nedlands, restoring the 2007 boundary.

The Liberal submission said the new boundary marks a “community of interest”, and the party was not happy when the commission left Kings Park in Perth.

Splitting

“[It] has the effect of splitting the southern section of West Perth along Malcolm Street,” the Libs said in a submission.

“This leaves a significant residential component of the suburb around Mount Street within the district of Perth,” making up 400 electors who usually vote at the Constitutional Centre in Havelock Street.

They’ll either have to vote elsewhere, lodge an absentee vote at CC, or the Electoral Commission can run the CC as a “joint polling booth” for both Perth and Nedlands, a “less than ideal expedient” according to the Liberals’ objection.

The move slightly benefits both Perth Labor MP John Carey and Nedlands’ Liberal MP Bill Marmion, as the only polling booth in the affected area leans Liberal.

In 2017 Mr Carey picked up 269 votes there while Liberal candidate Eleni Evangel got 367, and it was even more blue in the previous election.

The new patch sees Mr Marmion served up with the ready-made residents and business group, West Perth Local, which Mr Carey helped found after his 2017 election.

The Distribution Commission is made up of retired supreme court judge Eric Heenan, government statistician Tom Joseph and electoral commissioner David Kerslake (retired mid-review and replaced by assistant electoral commissioner Chris Avent).

When drawing up the boundaries they consider communities of interest, means of travel, physical features, but their final report states “legislated numerical requirements [not going above 10 per cent of the average] must prevail over other considerations… commissioners have no regard for the potential political ramifications of the boundaries they propose, thus the boundaries have been formulated entirely on a non-partisan basis”.

No changes were needed to Maylands or Mt Lawley.

by DAVID BELL

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