ALFRED Cove MP Janet Woollard faces almost certain defeat at today’s state election with Labor placing her last on its how-to-vote guide. Also, in a second blow the Greens have put her second last, just ahead of the Liberals.
Dean Nalder is almost unbackable as favourite to reclaim the seat for the Liberals—and possibly without going to preferences, following a boundary redistribution that brought Liberal-voting Bicton into the seat.
Dr Woollard, who snatched the seat from Liberal hardman Doug Shave as a “Liberals for forests” candidate, but who holds it officially as an independent, has always depended on strong preference flows from Labor and Greens voters to get her over the line ahead of the Liberals.
She’s putting on a brave face publicly, pinning her hopes on Labor and Greens voters ignoring the official how-to-vote cards.
“I’m getting a very positive reception when I’m doorknocking, and the thing I’m seeing is a lot of people are asking about preferences, and I say to them you choose where your preferences go, you don’t have to follow anyone’s cards.”
Dr Woollard says Labor had warned her six months ago that if she didn’t support its bill against the privatisation of services at Fiona Stanley hospital it’d stick her last on its card.
She didn’t support Labor’s bill because she viewed the Barnett government’s contract with Serco “a public/private partnership” rather than outright privatisation.
With Elizabeth Constable’s retirement from Churchlands meaning the western suburbs’ seat is also likely return to the Liberals, and Adele Carles’ hold on Fremantle considered shaky, Dr Woollard lamented the loss of independent voice in the parliament.
“I think it’ll be a very sad day if we lose independents in parliament, because as an independent I can speak on behalf of the community on any issue,” she says. “I can lobby all parties… for instance my tobacco legislation: I was able to work with the Liberals, with Labor, with the Greens, with the Nationals: It was supported by
all, and that’s one of the values of having an independent.”
Up against Mr Nalder and Dr Woollard are Labor’s David Houston (a late starter who’s failed to respond to requests for an interview), the Greens’ Ros Harman and Social Security Union Party founder Estelle Gom.
by DAVID BELL