On the left the Liberal party’s proposal for the seat of Court and on the right Labor’s proposed seat of Farmer which includes a redrawn Hasluck.

Naming debate for new federal seat in WA

Labor's proposal of Farmer received support while the Liberals are pushing for the seat to be named after eminent Western Australian politicians.
January 25, 2024
Gera Kazakov

DEBATE on the additional federal seat proposed for WA continues – with the Liberals identifying an early consensus that the new seat should be in Perth’s eastern suburbs.   

In New federal seat proposed for Perth’s east (Echo News, December 1, 2023) both the Liberal and the Labor party had proposed to shrink Hasluck and create a new electorate in Perth’s eastern suburbs.

Labor said their new Hasluck contained the Swan Valley region in its entirety, whereas the Liberal proposal will split the region.

“In the Liberal submission, the proposed new division includes localities such as Forrestfield and Maddington which are under 20km from the Perth CBD, along with localities such as York and Beverley which are 90 to 100km from the Perth CBD,” the Labor comments state.

The Liberals said that within the eight state-wide submissions there is a clear consensus that the new seat should be placed in Perth’s eastern fringe, stating that Labor’s proposal has “the awkward effect of leaving the metropolitan suburb of Bullsbrook within the vast regional-based division of Durack and avoiding any retreat of this division from near-metropolitan local government areas.”

The Liberals were against the new division being named after Graham ‘Polly’ Farmer as he has already been recognised with the Graham Farmer Freeway.

“Indeed, it could be argued that this freeway looms larger in public consciousness than does the name of a federal parliamentary division,” the Liberals comments state.

Former Labor parliamentarian and founding board member of the Polly Farmer Foundation Ron Edwards wanted the new district to be named Farmer, stating the footballer’s hard work both on and off the field deserved an electorate named in his honour.

“Farmer didn’t just make the game of AFL better, he has made the future outlook for young Aboriginal people across Australia absolutely better,” Mr Edwards said in his comments.    

“For these reasons he deserves to be honoured with a federal electorate named after him.”

The Liberal comments said that the new seat could be named after other Western Australians who served in parliament such as former Labor MP Mary Holman or former Wheatbelt senator Peter Walsh.

“These suggestions would merit serious consideration should the name Court not be adopted for the 16th division,” the Liberal’s submission comments state.

The Australian Electoral Commission’s proposed redistribution report is scheduled for release in the second quarter of this year.

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