Labor’s Dawson likely to retain seat
Labor looks set to regain power in the vast Mining and Pastoral Upper House seat, with polling indicating a strong surge of votes to the party, which has traditionally had a strong representation in the region.
From the creation of the Mining and Pastoral seat in 1989 until 2009, Labor held three of six seats for all but four years.
The party lost a seat in 2009, then slumped to its lowest representation ever, just one seat, at the 2013 election as the WA Nationals expanded their influence in the region.
At the time of print, Labor had attracted almost twice as many Mining and Pastoral votes as the Nationals this time around.
With 26,458 valid votes counted, Labor was sitting on 8948 votes, ahead of the Nationals’ 5131 votes.
Hedland resident and Labor’s sole Member for Mining and Pastoral Stephen Dawson in the previous term is set to be safely returned to office and will be in the running for a ministerial position, having been the shadow minister for mental health, disability services and child protection as an Opposition member. “I’m relieved but also very thankful to the people of the Mining and Pastoral region for the faith that they’ve put back in Labor,” Mr Dawson said.
“I’m very proud of the work of not only what Josie Farrer did in the Kimberley, but also Kevin Michel, who ran as our Pilbara candidate, and Shane Hill, who ran in North West Central.
“It’s been a very cohesive team — people have worked extremely hard, we’ve gone out to communities, out to towns, we’ve spoken about our positive policies, and I think tonight is a recognition that people are willing to give us a chance.”
Mr Dawson said he would get straight to work on ensuring schools, tourism and health services in the North West were properly funded, new job opportunities were pursued, and Aboriginal communities were given the chance to thrive.
Labor’s second candidate on the Mining and Pastoral ticket is Karratha-based unionist Kyle McGinn, with Tom Price councillor Peter Foster the No.3 pick.
The Liberal Party and Pauline Hanson’s One Nation were sitting at about a one per cent quota on primary votes, attracting 4025 and 3639 votes respectively at time of print. One Nation candidate Robin Scott is still in the race for the final Mining and Pastoral seat.
The preference deal between One Nation and the Liberal Party could also be the deciding factor between Liberal candidate Mark Lewis and Nationals candidate Dave Grills, both of whom are second on their parties’ Upper House tickets.
Long-serving Greens candidate for Mining and Pastoral Robin Chapple knew he was in for a fight to retain his seat because of preference flows.
“I liken it to a horse race — there are something like 27 horses in the race, four have crossed the finishing line and there are five neck-and-neck for the final spots,” he said.
“It is literally one or two votes changing in the micros, which is affecting the outcome.
“I am certainly of the firm belief that we need to amend the electoral act in the same way we did in the Federal Parliament, so we don’t have this random election process determined by the so-called vote whisperer.”
The Greens were sitting on a 0.37 per cent quota for primary votes at time of print.
A total of 39.88 per cent of the vote had been counted.
Labor Member for Mining and Pastoral Stephen Dawson.
The Greens' Robin Chapple says preference flows meant he knew he was in for a fight to keep his seat.