Stirling: Diverse and marginal


Stirling’s coastline

The federal electorate of Stirling was first named and voted on in 1955. It was named after the first governor of the Swan River Colony, Sir James Stirling. Over its 64-year history it has had 18 elections and 12 of them have been won by a member of the Liberal party.

Following a 2016 boundary redistribution, the electorate absorbed territory to it’s east gaining parts of Dianella, yet lost a section of Innaloo and Osborne Park, which are now in the Curtin Electorate. Stirling also lost a portion of Coolbinia and Menora to the electorate of Perth.

According to the 2016 Census data, the median weekly rent in Stirling sits at $350 a week. There is an average of 2-3 people per dwelling and they earn an average of approximately $77,000 p.a. The boundaries of Stirling encompass a variety of socio-economic positions with beach-side mansions in the west and traditional working-class suburbs, like Balga and Mirrabooka, in the North-East.

The electorates coastal suburbs of Trigg and North Beach contain more affluent properties and have an average household income of $102,000 p.a.

The 2016 census also revealed that the electorate of Stirling has a high proportion of younger voters. One quarter of the 147,992 residents are aged between 20-34 years.

The 74 sq km electorate contains the majority of the local government areas called the City of Stirling and a small portion of the City of Bayswater.

Suburbs include (Alphabetical order): Balcatta, Balga, Carine, Dianella (part), Gwelup, Hamersley, Joondanna, Karrinyup (part), Mirrabooka, Morley (part), Nollamara, North Beach, Osborne park (part), Scarborough (part), Stirling, Trigg, Tuart Hill, Watermans Bay, Westminster and Yokine.

The federal seat of Stirling has often been referred to as a marginal – meaning it was only won by a narrow margin and could swing from one party to another. Current member Michael Keenan won in 2016 with 56.1% of the vote, meaning that a relatively small swing to Labor could tip the balance for Stirling.

Keenan has held the seat of Stirling since 2004, serving as the Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation. He will be the first member for Stirling who retires from the role rather than being voted out.

The Inner-Metropolitan electorate has a variety of industries operating within its boundaries. These include: light industrial, retail, commercial, medical, fishing, tourism and recreation.

The more working-class suburbs in the east of the electorate predominantly voted Labor in the 2016 election. This is because of what Labor promises for the working class.

Labor candidate, Melita Markey, says she “knows that people in Stirling are struggling, especially local students and patients.”

Markey is promising to “stand up and fight for [Stirling] by working to secure more funding for our local hospitals and ensuring every Australian child has access to properly funded and high quality education.”

Her campaign website declares that, if elected, she will “ensure that everyone in Stirling has equal access to opportunities and a fair go.”

In the more affluent suburbs, to the west of Stirling, there is a higher proportion of Liberal voters. It is likely this is because of their higher incomes, as the Liberal Party supports wealthier individuals and local businesses.

The Liberal candidate for Stirling, Vince Connelly hopes to maintain the Liberal’s 14-year claim on the seat.

Connelly says he “is committed to public safety, so children are safe playing outside and seniors can feel safe walking to their local shops.”

Connelly wants to “improve local roads” in order to lower congestion in the electorate.

As part of the Liberal team, Connelly says he “supports small businesses and tax relief for workers.” He believes his work will strengthen the economy and in turn generate more jobs and essential services.

If you are a voter in the electorate of Stirling, on May 18 your election ballot will offer you these candidates. Remember to number every box on the paper in order of your preference.