Open main menu

Division of Stirling

The Division of Stirling is an Australian electoral division in the inner northern and beachside suburbs of Perth, Western Australia, and includes a large portion of the local government area of the City of Stirling.

Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of STIRLING 2016.png
Division of Stirling in Western Australia, as of the 2016 federal election.
MPMichael Keenan
NamesakeJames Stirling
Electors98,571 (2016)
Area74 km2 (28.6 sq mi)
DemographicInner Metropolitan

The electorate was created in the Western Australia redistribution of 10 August 1955, and was named after Sir James Stirling, the 19th-century founding lieutenant governor and governor of Western Australia. Stirling covers a demographically diverse area, including several affluent beachside suburbs, as well as some more deprived areas further inland. As a result, Stirling has often been a marginal seat, alternating between the Australian Labor Party and the Liberal Party of Australia.

Unlike some marginal seats on the east coast, such as Eden-Monaro, Stirling has not often been seen as a barometer for winning government, mainly because most elections have already been decided by the time WA's first returns come in. For example, longtime Labor member Harry Webb survived the massive Coalition landslide of 1966, only to become one of two Labor MPs from the state to be defeated in 1972 even as Labor ended 23 years of Coalition rule. Probably as a result of coincidence, while it has elected five government MPs, all but three of its members have spent at least one term in opposition.

Besides Webb, who held the seat for all but one term from its creation in 1955 until his defeat in 1972, the seat's most prominent member has been Labor's Ron Edwards, who was Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives from 29 August 1989 to 8 February 1993; he was in the Chair on 15 September 1992, when then-Prime Minister Paul Keating made his infamous "I wanna do you slowly" remark to then-Leader of the Opposition John Hewson. It had been expected that if the 1993 election had not been called so soon after Leo McLeay's resignation as Speaker or if Edwards had held his seat in the election upon the re-election of the Keating Government, Edwards would have been elected Speaker.

Opinion polls in the leadup to the 2004 election had suggested a close result in Stirling, leaning towards the possibility of sitting Labor member Jann McFarlane retaining her seat. This had been thought to be more likely after Paul Afkos, the original Liberal candidate, was forced to resign after he was revealed to have borrowed money from a convicted drug dealer. A local businessman, Michael Keenan was brought in as his replacement, and maintained the close difference in polling. However, on election day, the swing to the Liberal Party statewide and nationwide was stronger than expected, and Keenan was ultimately successful in unseating McFarlane. The Stirling Times, a local newspaper, speculated in October 2006 that McFarlane, at that time a Stirling councillor, might contest the seat again in 2007. On 28 November 2006, former SAS officer and outspoken opponent of the Iraq War Peter Tinley accepted an offer from Kim Beazley to run as the ALP candidate in the 2007 election.[1] Ahead of the 2010 election, Labor preselected Louise Durack, a social worker and executive director of People With Disabilities (WA) and past candidate for the state seat of Ocean Reef, to run for the seat. Keenan was re-elected at the 2010 federal election.



The division includes the northern majority of the City of Stirling and a small portion of the City of Bayswater. Suburbs include[2]


Member Party Term
  Harry Webb Labor 1955–1958
  Doug Cash Liberal 1958–1961
  Harry Webb Labor 1961–1972
  Ian Viner Liberal 1972–1983
  Ron Edwards Labor 1983–1993
  Eoin Cameron Liberal 1993–1998
  Jann McFarlane Labor 1998–2004
  Michael Keenan Liberal 2004–present

Election resultsEdit

Australian federal election, 2016: Stirling[3]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal Michael Keenan 40,991 49.45 −1.27
Labor Robert Pearson 26,669 32.17 +2.40
Greens Tom Webster 9,679 11.68 +0.79
Independent Kim Mubarak 2,172 2.62 +1.63
Christians Kevin Host 2,019 2.44 +0.34
Rise Up Australia Alison Rowe 1,361 1.64 +1.05
Total formal votes 82,891 95.85 +1.62
Informal votes 3,587 4.15 −1.62
Turnout 86,478 87.73 −3.57
Two-party-preferred result
Liberal Michael Keenan 46,520 56.12 −2.85
Labor Robert Pearson 36,371 43.88 +2.85
Liberal hold Swing −2.85


  1. ^ "Former SAS soldier approached by Labor". ABC News. 28 November 2006. Retrieved 28 November 2006.
  2. ^ "Profile of the electoral division of Stirling (WA)". Australian Electoral Commission. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  3. ^ Stirling, WA, Virtual Tally Room 2016, Australian Electoral Commission.

External linksEdit