Electoral district of Pilbara

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Western AustraliaLegislative Assembly
State Western Australia
Dates current 1894–present1
MP Brendon Grylls
Party Nationals WA
Namesake Pilbara region
Area 585,700 km2 (226,140.0 sq mi)
Demographic Mining and Pastoral

The Electoral district of Pilbara is a Legislative Assembly electorate in the state of Western Australia. Pilbara is named for the region of Western Australia in which it is located. It is one of the oldest electorates in Western Australia, with its first member having been elected to the Second Parliament of the Legislative Assembly at the 1894 elections.


Pilbara was created at the 1893 redistribution in the Constitution Act Amendment Act 1893, through which three new electorates were created in mining and pastoral areas.[1] Its first member was elected at the 1894 election, and while normally a Labor-held seat, it has been held by the Liberals and their predecessors for significant terms.[2] Its second member, Walter Kingsmill, was a prominent member of Leake's opposition, serving as a Minister in the Leake, James and Rason governments between 1901 and 1906. The seat was first won for Labor at a 1906 by-election, which was won by Henry Underwood against Ministerial opponent John Marquis Hopkins. He became part of the National Labor movement led by John Scaddan in early 1917, and later served in a Nationalist ministry under Henry Lefroy as a minister without portfolio. He was defeated by a Labor rival, Alfred Lamond in the 1924 election, but on Lamond's retirement at the 1933 election, the seat became the only seat to switch from Labor to Nationalist in the State in what proved to be a disastrous election for the Nationalists which relegated them to third place behind the Country Party. Labor recovered the seat in 1939, who held it continuously until the 1974 election, when Charles Court's Liberals defeated Labor premier John Tonkin's one-seat majority. Labor recovered the seat when they won government again in 1983, with the seat's first female member Pam Buchanan, who later became a minister in the Lawrence government. In 1989, she shifted to the new seat of Ashburton, and Larry Graham won Pilbara for the Labor party. He resigned from the Labor party in 2000, and served as an Independent until his retirement at the 2005 election, and Labor's Tom Stephens, who had resigned his Legislative Council seat and unsuccessfully contested Kalgoorlie at the 2004 election, won the seat, which for one term was known as Central Kimberley-Pilbara due to a redistribution. The name reverted to Pilbara at the 2008 redistribution. At the 2013 election the seat was contested by National Party leader Brendon Grylls who gained the seat with 61.5% of the two party preferred vote.[3]


As of 2014, the electorate consists of the Shire of East Pilbara, the City of Karratha, as well as the Town of Port Hedland

Before 2007, The Pilbara electorate contained the eastern parts of the Shire of Ashburton, including the mining towns of Tom Price, Paraburdoo and Pannawonica; the Town of Port Hedland including Port Hedland; the Shire of East Pilbara including Newman and Marble Bar, Western Australia and extending to the eastern boundary of the State; and the western and northern sections of the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku, which is relatively unpopulated (especially as it excludes the town of Warburton) was added in order to balance the land areas of Pilbara and Kalgoorlie.[4] The area's economy is centred on mining, particularly iron ore, and a significant proportion of the voting population are Aboriginal.

The 2007 redistribution, which took effect at the 2008 election, resulted in the seat losing areas it had gained in the previous distribution, including Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek in the Kimberley region, but it gained the large town of Newman from the abolished Murchison-Eyre.[5]

The 2011 redistribution, which took effect at the 2013 election, saw Pilbara gain the Shire of Roebourne from the renamed North West Central electorate, in exchange for the remnants of the Shire of Ashburton, and the Shire of Ngaanyatjarraku was ceded to the Kalgoorlie electorate. That theoretically increased Labor's hold on the seat, but the popularity of the WA Nationals' Royalties for Regions policy made it marginal, so much so that, at the election, it was comfortably won by the then Nationals' leader, Brendon Grylls.

Members for Pilbara[edit]

Member Party Term
  Henry Keep Non-aligned 1894–1897
  Walter Kingsmill Oppositionist 1897–1903
  James Isdell Independent 1903–1906
  Henry Underwood Labor 1906–1917
  Nationalist 1917–1924
  Alfred Lamond Labor 1924–1933
  Frank Welsh Nationalist 1933–1939
  Bill Hegney Labor 1939–1950
  Aloysius Rodoreda Labor 1950–1958
  Arthur Bickerton Labor 1958–1974
  Brian Sodeman Liberal 1974–1983
  Pam Buchanan Labor 1983–1989
  Larry Graham Labor 1989–2000
  Independent Labor 2000–2005
  Tom Stephens Labor 2005–2013
  Brendon Grylls Nationals WA 2013–present


Western Australian state election, 2013: Pilbara
Party Candidate Votes % ±
WA Nationals Brendon Grylls 4,866 38.6 +15.9
Labor Kelly Howlett 3,758 29.8 –13.5
Liberal George Levissianos 2,911 23.1 +3.7
Greens Julie Matheson 628 5.0 –4.6
Independent Brent McKenna 267 2.1 +2.1
Christians Bruce Richards 168 1.3 +1.3
Total formal votes 12,598 95.0 –0.2
Informal votes 663 5.0 +0.2
Turnout 13,261 76.7
Two-party-preferred result
Liberal George Levissianos 6,774 53.8 +53.8
Labor Kelly Howlett 5,823 46.2 –11.0
Two-candidate-preferred result
WA Nationals Brendon Grylls 7,739 61.5 +18.7
Labor Kelly Howlett 4,850 38.5 –18.7
WA Nationals gain from Labor Swing +18.7


  1. ^ Government of Western Australia (1893). "Constitution Act Amendment Act (57 Vict No 14)". Statutes of Western Australia, 1893-1895. pp. 312–324.  Given assent 13 October 1893.
  2. ^ Black, David; Prescott, Valerie (1997). Election statistics, Legislative Assembly of Western Australia, 1890-1996. Perth: Parliamentary History Project and Western Australian Electoral Commission. pp. 283–290. ISBN 0-7309-8409-5. 
  3. ^ "WA votes - Pilbara". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 9 March 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Western Australian Electoral Commission (29 October 2007). "2007 Electoral Distribution - Final Boundaries - Mining and Pastoral Region - Pilbara". Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  5. ^ Western Australian Electoral Commission (4 August 2003). "2003 Electoral Distribution - Final Boundaries - Mining and Pastoral Region - Central Kimberley-Pilbara". Retrieved 2008-08-05. 

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