Margin: Liberal 7.6%
Location: Perth Rural Fringe, Western Australia
In a nutshell: Predictably safe Liberal seat covering Perth’s edges and the coastal area to the north, along with the towns of the Avon Valley. Liberal moderate Judi Moylan has held the seat since 1993.
Electorate analysis: Pearce covers the area beyond Perth to the north (the coast from Quinns Rocks to Lancelin) and east (the Avon Valley towns of Toodyay, Northam, York and Beverley), venturing into the metropolitan area at its northern coastal extremity (Quinns Rock, Merriwa, Jindalee and Butler) and east of the city in the Darling Range subrubs of Darlington and Swan view. These areas of rapid growth have required the electorate to be reduced by the redistribution, which transfers 8000 voters in northern suburban Mindarie and Clarkson to Moore and the south-eastern hinterland to O’Connor (6400 voters in and around Narrogin) and Canning (around 1000 voters in the Shire of Boddington). It has also gained a small area at Beechboro north of the Reid Highway, adding around 2300 voters from Perth. The changes have reduced the Liberal margin from 9.1 per cent to 7.6 per cent.
Pearce was created when Western Australia gained an extra seat in 1990, mostly from territory which had previously been covered by Moore, which was pushed into the northern suburbs. The inaugural member was erstwhile Senator Fred Chaney, whose ambition to move to the lower house in pursuit of a more senior role went back to 1981, when party foes stymied his bid for preselection in Curtin. Chaney retired at the 1993 election and was succeeded by Judi Moylan, who has safely held the seat ever since. Moylan entered cabinet as Family Services Minister upon the election of the Howard government, but was demoted to the junior status of women portfolio in October 1997 before being dropped altogether after the 1998 election. She has been noted throughout her career as an ideological moderate, having abstained from voting on Howard government refugee and welfare to work legislation and criticised Australia’s involvement in the Iraq war. In early 2009 an anonymous business figure told Glenn Milne of The Australian that major donors had Moylan on a list of 14 members who needed to make way for new blood if their money was to be forthcoming, but she went undisturbed for preselection.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read Bowe’s blog, The Poll Bludger.