Wilson swings in

IT was such an insipid by-election you could almost be forgiven for missing it, but Josh Wilson was re-elected as the federal member for Fremantle last Saturday.

Election analysts noted Fremantle’s voter turnout was the lowest since Federation.

At final count Mr Wilson had 67.2 per cent of the vote with a +9.7 per cent swing for the ALP.

Greens’ candidate Dorinda Cox, Mr Wilson’s main challenger after the Liberal Party didn’t field a candidate, had 32.8 per cent of the vote.

Mr Wilson had been forced to resign as the MP for Fremantle earlier this year after the High Court’s ruling on his dual-citizenship status, but as predicted he romped home on “Super Saturday”.

His campaign team celebrated the victory at the Fremantle Bowling Club, where supporters, clad in red and white, sipped pints and munched pizza.

• Josh Wilson celebrates his by-election win amongst the Labor faithful. Photo by Kavi Guppta

Fremantle state MP Simone McGurk was quick to get up on stage and salute the party’s rank and file.

“I’m so proud of our Labor community,” she said.

“Our volunteers were present at 35 booths, we made 22,000 phone calls, and over 12,000 door knocks. That is far and away the most field work we have ever done. We do not take the people of Fremantle for granted.”

Brand federal Labor MP Madeleine King was next to address the partisan crowd, chastising the Liberal Party for not running a candidate in the Freo or Perth by-elections.

“These two by-elections in WA are a tale of two parties,” Ms King said.

Legwork

“One is the story of the ALP. We put in the legwork and listened to the people of Fremantle. The Liberals didn’t turn up, didn’t nominate, and have taken WA voters for granted for far too long.”

Finally, Mr Wilson strolled up the frayed brown carpet steps to address the enthusiastic crowd.

“I cannot tell you, standing here, how good it is to be in this room, with this crowd as we celebrate holding Fremantle for Labor,” he said to a chorus of cheers.

“It’s clear from this campaign that the people of Fremantle do not like the direction in which this country is going.

“The most important things to this community are the things we share – our public hospitals, our public schools, public transport – people want to maintain these things and it’s the basis of our egalitarian way of life.”

Meanwhile, at The Aviary club in Perth, Ms Cox thanked the Greens for pre-selecting Aboriginal candidates, noting that three of the five Greens’ candidates in the by-elections across Australia were Aboriginal.

by KAVI GUPPTA

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