ADELE CARLES is confident her affair and public spat with Liberal minister Troy Buswell won’t cost her votes at next month’s state election.
The independent Fremantle MP this week ended months of speculation by announcing she planned to defend the seat she’d won as a Green at a 2009 by-election.
Ms Carles quit the Greens in May 2010, accusing party heavyweights of bullying her into confessing her extra-marital affair with Mr Buswell, which continued for some time before ending. The WA treasurer and transport minister is now suing Ms Carles for defamation for public statements she’d recently made about his behaviour during their relationship.
“I’m not the first woman to make a mistake about a man and I won’t be the last,” Ms Carles told the Herald
“I have paid the personal price for this but it never affected my work—I wouldn’t be in the race if it had. I believe astute Fremantle voters understand this and will vote for the most effective and qualified candidate for Fremantle.”
Ms Carles concedes she will struggle to get re-elected, with most analysts predicting the seat will return to Labor.
In 2009 she won 44 per cent of the primary vote, but that was as a Green and with no Liberal in the race, making it effectively a two-horse race between her and Labor’s Peter Tagliaferri.
This time around she’s up against her old party, in the guise of veteran city councillor Andrew Sullivan, Labor’s Simone McGurk and Liberal Matthew Hanssen, as well as the Socialist Alliance and the other grab-bag of candidates that usually pop up in Freo elections.
Ms Carles believes Cr Sullivan may suffer a setback amongst Greens supporters because of his support for inner-city high-rise and if she takes him out in the first round, and receives the lion share of Greens voters’ preferences—which is no sure thing—she may be able to leapfrog to victory over Ms McGurk. Similarly, if Mr Hanssen is knocked out early she should be able to count on Liberal preferences ahead of them going to the Greens or Labor.
Ms Carles says Fremantle’s new status as a marginal seat has been good for portsiders and nominates the staging of the panned ISAF world sailing championships here as a plus.
“At least it wasn’t held in Perth like other events,” she said.
“Funding is now finally flowing to John Curtin College of the Arts—it didn’t under eight years with Labor.
“I have campaigned to keep Kaleeya hospital open so that birthing women have choices. I have worked to keep lead carbonate out of Fremantle (the former Labor government had approved its export through Fremantle in 2008 and the Liberals are keen for it to continue).
“I have ensured that iron ore is kept out of our port, so that we do not industrialise our city.”
by BRENDAN FOSTER