A Record Number of Candidate Nominate for Western Australian Election

For the second election in a row, a record number of candidates have nominated to contest a Western Australian election.

The surge in numbers is largely down to a surge in minor party lower house nominations in support of upper house campaigns.

A total of 463 candidates have nominated for the 59 districts in the Legislative Assembly, and another 325 for the 36 vacancies in the Legislative Council.

All candidates have now been uploaded to the ABC’s election website.

Legislative Assembly

The graph below shows the total number of lower house candidates for Western Australian elections since 1989. The numbers have risen again from 415 in 2017 to 463 in 2021.

The district with the most candidates is Albany with 12. There are 11 candidates in Bunbury, Collie-Preston, Dawesville, Mandurah and Murray-Wellington. There is clearly a hot contest underway in the South West Region in the Legislative Council.

The most candidates to previously contests a lower house electorate was 11 in Geraldton at the 2001 election.

Only five candidates have nominated for Carine, Perth and South Perth.

The graph below shows the number of electorates with 2 to 4 candidates, 5 to 7 candidates or 8 or more candidates at elections since 1989.

The break up candidates by party at elections since 2001 is shown in the table below.

Party 2001 2005 2008 2013 2017 2021
Labor Party 56 57 57 59 59 59
Liberal Party 54 55 58 59 59 59
The Greens 51 57 59 59 59 59
The Nationals 11 14 12 17 16 16
One Nation 54 45 .. .. 35 40
No Mandatory Vaccination .. .. .. .. .. 59
WAXit Party ** .. .. .. .. 46 48
Australian Christians 13 57 46 42 45 29
Liberal Democrats .. .. .. .. 3 24
Western Australian Party ** .. .. .. .. 20 17
Independents/Unaffiliated 59 41 25 39 31 17
Shooters Fishers Farmers .. .. .. .. 19 15
Legalise Cannabis WA .. .. .. .. .. 10
Liberals for Climate ** .. .. .. .. 12 2
Socialist Alliance .. .. .. .. 2 1
Sustainable Australia .. .. .. .. .. 8
Family First .. 34 34 16 9 ..
Australian Democrats 38 .. .. .. .. ..
Others 30 15 11 .. .. ..
Total 366 375 302 291 415 463
Average per Seat 6.4 6.6 5.1 4.9 7.1 7.8

** Notes – WAxit Party was known as the Micro Business Party in 2017. The Western Australian Party was known as Julie Mathieson for Western Australia. Liberals for Climate were known as The Flux Party – WA in 2017.

Legislative Council

In the Legislative Council, 325 candidates have nominated, up from the record 302 in 2017.

The graph below shows the surge in candidates at the last two elections. A key point to remember is that the WA Legislative Council still uses the group voting tickets system abolished for the Senate in 2016. It was the remarkable victory of low polling candidates like Wayne Dropulich and Ricky Muir at the 2013 Senate election that discredited group voting tickets, but also alerted every minor and micro-party to the tactic of preference harvesting. That is what is driving the surge in WA candidate numbers.

Rather than candidates, it is the number of groups nominating that increases the size of the ballot paper by increasing the number of columns. Once the ballot paper reaches a maximum width, the Electoral Commission is required to decrease the font size. Senate ballot papers have a maximum width of one metre, slightly smaller for the WA Legislative Council as lower and upper house ballot papers are printed on the same sheet before separation on issue.

The graph below shows the average number of groups per region at WA elections since 1989. Again, the big surge has been in 2017 and 2021 after parties learnt to game the system with preference harvesting.

By region there are 20 groups in East Metropolitan, 23 in North Metropolitan, 26 in South Metropolitan, 25 in Agricultural, 21 in Mining and Pastoral and 23 in South West region.

3 thoughts on “A Record Number of Candidate Nominate for Western Australian Election”

  1. Hi Antony, great coverage on ABC last night! Your recollection of past figures and past Candidates is very impressive, Tom

  2. Antony,Your/WA SEC map of Perth,carries over the 2017 day of confusion.60 (Bappy Hall),61(RPH),62 (?),63(?),64 Citiplace/Leedy Tafe/Lesser Hall & ? no Aranmore PS ?.(My Booth)?,65 (Kyilla PS),66 Aranmore SC.My thanks despite my grumble.

  3. Antony, are you aware of any of the major parties in WA showing an intention of removing group ticket voting in the LC and replacing it with something similar to the current Federal system? It is absurd that micro parties are still able to cross preference and essentially enter a lottery to win a seat on what can be a tiny fraction of the vote. It shouldn’t be allowed to occur and I’m surprised something wasn’t done to fix this problem in the last term of Parliament seeing as it has been a known problem for many years now.

    COMMENT: And WA is worse that Victoria and the old Senate system. In Victoria a formal BTL vote requires only 5 preferences. The old Senate system had some savings provisions related to the number of errors. WA has no savings provisions. One BTL error and the vote is informal. The Liberals and Greens support changing the system.

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