All systems are go inside WA Labor after an unexpectedly strong result for Mark McGowan in Saturday’s election. Labor’s Premier-elect will have the happy problem of a caucus room almost full to bursting. But which Labor factions will come up trumps?

WA Labor is looking at potentially more than doubling its number of lower house seats, from 20 to 41. They’ve also had a solid showing in the upper house, with the ABC projecting they will increase from 11 to 14 seats.

The upper house count is only at its halfway point, but Premier-elect Mark McGowan is very close, with the Greens, to controlling a majority (19) in the upper house. Labor had 11 seats in the upper house before the election, and it now looks like the party will take between 15 and 17. 

An underperforming One Nation looks like it will nab at least one upper house seat.

The McGowan cabinet won’t be highly controversial. Like most first cabinets, it will consist largely if not entirely of WA Labor’s opposition frontbench. 

Over the last decade WA Labor has had a series of leadership destabilisation campaigns and challenges that have caused factional splits and rifts. As a result of these splits, there is a higher-than-usual unaligned grouping.

Both the Left and Right factions are stable now, and according to a senior Left source the recent reports of the CFMEU and MUA aligning with the Right are rubbish.

WA Labor will be looking for a period of stability in government.

Unions and factions traditionally set their sights on the prize seats — the ones Labor is most likely to be able to win — when it comes to preselections. The sheer strength of the more than 15% swing across the state has meant that seats not fought over internally by the factions have been unexpectedly won by WA Labor.

This leaves by my count up to 25 new caucus members (or possible caucus members) as either unaligned or with factional connections that are not widely known. 

Factional leaders will be in full operative mode trying to woo as many of them as possible to secure or entrench the all-important caucus majority. It would be widely expected that WA’s Broad Left will maintain or increase their caucus majority. There are currently 21 Left MLAs and MLCs, and United Voice maintains their grip on control of that group as it stands.

United Voice would be expected to keep control of the Broad Left, as United Voice control the wider WA Labor.

The Right has 10 MLAs and MLCs. The Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association control the Right grouping.

Counting continues in five seats, and WA Labor leads in four of them. The party looks like it will win at least two of these, Kingsley and Murray-Wellington, to take WA Labor’s total seat count to 39.

In the biggest news overnight, the close seat of Pilbara fell to WA Labor, the only WA Nationals seat to fall.

In Pilbara, the former seat of soon-to-be former WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls, the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy threw $2 million into a campaign to defeat him after he led the charge on trying to impose a mining tax on BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto. The mining lobby group will be satisfied with its handiwork, no doubt.

Which WA Labor factions hold which seats?

Left

BASSENDEAN – Dave Kelly (Left – AMWU)

BICTON – Lisa O’Malley (Left – UV)

BUTLER – John Quigley

COCKBURN – Fran Logan (Left – AMWU)

COLLIE-PRESTON – Mick Murray (Left – AMWU)

FREMANTLE – Simone McGurk (Left – UV)

KWINANA – Roger Cook (Left – UV)

MANDURAH – David Templeman (Left – AMWU)

MAYLANDS – Lisa Baker (Left – UV)

MIRRABOOKA – Janine Freeman (Left – UV)

MORLEY – Amber-Jade Sanderson (Left – UV)

SWAN HILLS – Jessica Shaw (Left – UV)

THORNLIE – Chris Tallentire (Left – UV)

WANNEROO – Sabine Winton (Left – UV)

EAST METROPOLITAN REGION – Alanna Clohesy (Left – AMWU)

EAST METROPOLITAN REGION – Matthew Swinbourn (Left – CFMEU)

MINING AND PASTORAL REGION – Stephen Dawson (Left – AMWU)

MINING AND PASTORAL REGION – Kyle McGinn (Left – MUA)

SOUTH METROPOLITAN REGION – Sue Ellery (Left – UV)

SOUTH METROPOLITAN REGION – Pierre Yang (Left – UV)

SOUTH WEST REGION – Sally Talbot (Left – AMWU)

Right

BALCATTA – David Michael (Right – SDA)

CANNINGTON – Bill Johnston (Right – SDA)

FORRESTFIELD – Stephen Price (Right – AWU)

GIRRAWHEEN – Margaret Quirk (Right)

MIDLAND – Michelle Roberts (Right – SDA)

WILLAGEE – Peter Tinley (Right – SDA)

EAST METROPOLITAN REGION – Samantha Rowe (Right – TWU)

NORTH METROPOLITAN REGION – Martin Pritchard (Right – SDA)

SOUTH METROPOLITAN REGION – Kate Doust (Right – SDA)

SOUTH WEST REGION – Adele Farina (Right)

Unaligned or unsure

ARMADALE – Tony Buti

ALBANY – Peter Watson

BALDIVIS – Reece Whitby

BELMONT – Cassie Rowe

BUNBURY – Don Punch

BURNS BEACH – Mark Folkard

DARLING RANGE – Barry Urban

JANDAKOT (Ahead) – Yaz Mubarakai

JOONDALUP (Ahead) – Emily Hamilton

KALAMUNDA – Matthew Hughes

KIMBERLEY – Josie Farrer

KINGSLEY (Ahead) – Jessica Stojkovski

MOUNT LAWLEY – Simon Millman

MURRAY-WELLINGTON (Ahead) – Robyn Clarke

PERTH – John Carey

PILBARA – Kevin Michel

ROCKINGHAM – Mark McGowan

SOUTHERN RIVER – Terry Healy

VICTORIA PARK – Ben Wyatt

WARNBRO – Paul Papalia

WEST SWAN – Rita Saffioti

AGRICULTURE REGION – Darren West

AGRICULTURE REGION – Laurie Graham

NORTH METROPOLITAN REGION – Alannah MacTiernan

SOUTH WEST REGION – John Mondy

Peter Fray

Fetch your first 12 weeks for $12

Here at Crikey, we saw a mighty surge in subscribers throughout 2020. Your support has been nothing short of amazing — we couldn’t have got through this year like no other without you, our readers.

If you haven’t joined us yet, fetch your first 12 weeks for $12 and start 2021 with the journalism you need to navigate whatever lies ahead.

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW