Armadale state by-election, 2010

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The Armadale state by-election, 2010 was held on 2 October 2010 for the Western Australian Legislative Assembly seat of Armadale in the south-eastern suburbs of Perth. It was triggered by the resignation of Labor member Alannah MacTiernan on 19 July 2010 to run for the seat of Canning in the 2010 federal election.[1]


Alannah MacTiernan was first elected to the seat of Armadale at the 1996 state election. At the February 2001 state election, where the Labor party won government, MacTiernan became Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, a portfolio which included Transport, in the new Gallop Ministry. She held this position until Labor's defeat at the August 2008 state election, and was best known for overseeing of the construction of the Mandurah railway line, which she had championed from opposition.[2] In early 2010, she announced her plans to contest the Liberal-held federal seat of Canning, which included her state seat, and on 26 February 2010 resigned from the shadow ministry.[2]

She officially resigned from state parliament on 19 July 2010, two days after Prime Minister Julia Gillard had announced the timetable for the 2010 federal election. Despite a 2.16% swing to Labor in Canning and particularly strong results in areas which she had previously represented, MacTiernan failed to be elected.[3][4][5]

On 13 August 2010, the Speaker of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly issued a writ directing the Electoral Commissioner to proceed with an election in the district.[6] Tony Buti, a law professor at the University of Western Australia and chairman of the Armadale Redevelopment Authority, won the Labor preselection unopposed. The Liberals opted not to field a candidate.

The seat of Armadale, first established in 1983,[7] is considered to be a safe seat for the Labor Party, with just two other members since its creation—former Minister for Transport and Minister for Environment Bob Pearce until 1993, then former Minister for Education and Deputy Opposition Leader Kay Hallahan until 1996.[8] Commentators viewed the by-election as a non-event, and the Liberal Party, in minority government in Western Australia since 2008, opted not to contest the seat[9] — they had never polled well in the seat, and did not run a candidate in the 2001 election either.


Date Event
19 July 2010 Alannah MacTiernan resigned, vacating the seat of Armadale.
13 August 2010 Writs were issued by the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly to proceed with a by-election.[6]
20 August 2010 Close of nominations and draw of ballot papers.[10]
2 October 2010 Polling day, between the hours of 8am and 6pm.
3 November 2010 The last day on which the writ can be returned and the results formally declared.


Four candidates contested the by-election. In ballot-paper order, they were:[11]

The governing Liberal Party decided not to field a candidate.[9]


Declared results are as follows:

Armadale state by-election, 2010[12]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Labor Tony Buti 10,021 57.90 +1.94
Christian Democrats Jamie van Burgel 3,561 20.57 +13.27
Greens WA Owen Davies 2,220 12.83 +2.01
Independent John Tucak 1,506 8.70 +8.70
Total formal votes 17,308 94.65 +0.61
Informal votes 978 5.35 –0.61
Turnout 18,286 75.21 −10.68
Two-candidate-preferred result
Labor Tony Buti 12,159 70.29 +5.44
Christian Democrats Jamie van Burgel 5,140 29.71 N/A
Labor hold Swing N/A


  1. ^ "Long serving MP resigns to fight federal campaign". ABC Online. 20 July 2010. Archived from the original on 26 August 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Thomson, Chris (23 February 2010). "MacTiernan ends 16-year executive reign". WA Today. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  3. ^ Australian Electoral Commission (8 September 2010). "WA Division - Canning". Archived from the original on 24 August 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  4. ^ Phillips, Yasmin (21 August 2010). "Defeated Alannah MacTiernan slams election campaign". PerthNow. News Limited. Archived from the original on 23 September 2010. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Kennedy, Peter (30 August 2010). "Alannah for London?". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 2 September 2010. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  6. ^ a b "Issue of Writ for an Election for the Armadale Electoral District to elect a Member of the Legislative Assembly" (PDF). Western Australia Government Gazette. 13 August 2010. p. 2010:5971. 
  7. ^ "Electoral Districts Act 1947-1981 - Order in Council". Western Australia Government Gazette. 20 January 1982. p. 1982:113-173. 
  8. ^ Black, David; Prescott, Valerie (1997). Election statistics, Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, 1890-1996. Perth: Parliamentary History Project and Western Australian Electoral Commission. pp. 11–12. ISBN 0-7309-8409-5. 
  9. ^ a b c "No Liberal candidate for Armadale by-election". ABC News (Australia). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 20 August 2010. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  10. ^ Western Australian Electoral Commission. "Armadale By Election - Key dates and deadlines". Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  11. ^ "Armadale by-election - Candidates". Western Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 10 September 2010. 
  12. ^ WA Electoral Commission