Fremantle state by-election, 2009

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A by-election was held in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly district of Fremantle on 16 May 2009.[1] It was triggered by the resignation of sitting member Jim McGinty.[2]

The Labor Party was defending a seat that they had held continuously since 1924. The by-election was held in conjunction with the state referendum on daylight saving hours.

The Greens candidate, Adele Carles, won the by-election, and in doing so became the first Greens candidate to be elected to an Australian state lower house of parliament in a single-member seat.


First elected to parliament at the 1990 Fremantle state by-election, McGinty became a minister in the Labor government of Carmen Lawrence in 1991. He held several portfolios until Labor's defeat at the 1993 state election. In Opposition, McGinty succeeded Ian Taylor as Labor leader in 1994, only to be replaced by Geoff Gallop prior to the 1996 state election. After Labor returned to power at the 2001 state election, McGinty again became a minister. Most significantly he served for seven and half years as Attorney-General in the Labor governments of Geoff Gallop and Alan Carpenter.

Following Labor's defeat at the 2008 state election, speculation among media and political commentators was that McGinty, by then almost 60 years of age, would resign his seat before the end of the term.[3] He confirmed that speculation on 3 April 2009.[2]


Nominations closed on 17 April 2009.[1] Later that day, the Western Australian Electoral Commission revealed the names of the candidates who nominated. They are as follows, in ballot paper order:[4]

The Liberal Party did not stand a candidate.[7]


The Greens' win in Fremantle was the first time a Greens candidate was elected to an Australian state lower house of parliament in a single-member seat. It was also the first time they had outpolled the Labor Party on the primary vote in any Labor-held seat.[8] Carles became the first Green to sit in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, and with five members in the Parliament as a whole, the Greens achieved official parliamentary party status in Western Australia, giving them access to additional allowances, monies and staff. Carles later quit the party to sit as an independent after the publication of an affair with Liberal treasurer Troy Buswell.

Fremantle state by-election, 2009[9]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Greens WA Adele Carles 8,722 44.06 +16.50
Labor Peter Tagliaferri 7,632 38.55 -0.14
Independent Carmelo Zagami 999 5.05 +5.05
Independent Nik Varga 701 3.54 +3.54
Sam Wainwright 454 2.29 +2.29
Independent Steve Boni 340 1.72 +1.72
Christian Democrats Julie Hollett 339 1.71 -0.15
Family First Andriette du Plessis 194 0.98 -0.71
Independent Jan Ter Horst 188 0.95 +0.95
Independent Rosemary Anne Lorrimar 171 0.86 +0.86
CEC Rob Totten 56 0.28 +0.28
Total formal votes 19,796 95.71 +1.38
Informal votes 888 4.29 –1.38
Turnout 20,684 87.20 +2.81
Two-candidate-preferred result
Greens WA Adele Carles 10,664 53.96 +53.96
Labor Peter Tagliaferri 9,100 46.04 -15.97
Greens WA gain from Labor Swing N/A


  1. ^ a b "2009 Fremantle By Election Key Dates". Western Australian Electoral Commission. 
  2. ^ a b "McGinty resigns from WA parliament". AAP. 3 April 2009. 
  3. ^ "Speculation Jim McGinty will quit seat". PerthNow. 19 February 2009. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "2009 Fremantle By Election Candidates". Western Australian Electoral Commission. 
  5. ^ Kate Campbell (8 September 2008). "Green gives ‘arrogant’ McGinty a scare and a threat". The West Australian. 
  6. ^ Kerry Smith (4 April 2009). "Socialist to contest Fremantle by-election". Green Left Weekly. 
  7. ^ "Liberals decide not to contest Fremantle by-election". ABC. 9 April 2009. 
  8. ^ Antony Green (16 May 2009). "2009 Fremantle By-Election". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 
  9. ^ "WAEC - 2009 Fremantle By-election - Results". 

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