The 2022 federal election is predicted to be clear cut in the seat of Forrest

Re-contesting: Current Forrest MP Nola Marino will contest for the seat of Forrest in the 2022 election.
Re-contesting: Current Forrest MP Nola Marino will contest for the seat of Forrest in the 2022 election.

Only two things can change the tide of a safe electoral seat, a retiring MP or high profile candidate.

That is according to Curtin University executive director of public policy John Phillimore.

So when current Forrest MP Nola Marino put her hand up for another term, Professor Phillimore said that sealed the deal for the electorate.

Labor candidate Frank Kirwan won the seat for one term back in 1969.

Former state government politician Barry House said Mr Kirwan lost his seat in 1972 during the Whitlam "It's Time" election.

Labor gave themselves a small chance when Liberal Peter Drummond held the seat, by putting former ABC newsreader Peter Holland in as a candidate.

However, Mr House said Holland was unsuccessful because many people didn't see him as local but "parachuted in" for the election.

The doors opened narrowly again in 2007 when Liberal MP Geoff Prosser retired.

That election saw the likes of GWN news reader Noel Brunning run as an independent and Nola Marino as Mr Prosser's successor.

Mr House said there were a few reasons as to why the Forrest electorate has remained a safe seat for such a long time.

He said the distribution of the electorate had gotten smaller over the years because of the increase in population, so currently spans from the north of Harvey to Augusta in the south.

Retiring: Geoff Prosser stood down from politics in 2007. Picture: Bunbury Mail

Retiring: Geoff Prosser stood down from politics in 2007. Picture: Bunbury Mail

"While it still includes large population centres like Bunbury, Busselton and Margaret River it also includes a lot of rural towns and farming districts," he said.

"These tend to be more Liberal orientated but Bunbury has always been a "swinging area", particularly at State level, and Margaret River has a strong "Greens" presence which probably cancels out the strong Liberal vote from Busselton to some extent.

"Many wheatbelt farming families have retired to the coastal towns of Dunsborough, Busselton and Bunbury.

"These people are mostly Liberal / National Party voters."

Because of this vast geographical area, Professor Phillimore said it was hard for the voters to unite on one issue.

"It is harder to have a big community campaign given all the different shire councils," he said.

Professor Phillimore said the consequences of being a safe seat was that the opposition rarely invested time and candidates into the electorate.

"Why would they bother?" he said.

Previous elections

Politics: Sir Gordon Freeth was a Liberal politician for the seat of Forrest between 194-1969. Picture: Trove.

Politics: Sir Gordon Freeth was a Liberal politician for the seat of Forrest between 194-1969. Picture: Trove.

  • Sir Gordon Freeth was a MP from 1949-1969 and was a senior minister in the Menzies, Holt and Gorton governments
  • Frank Kirwan was a Australian Labor Party MP from 1969-1972.
  • Peter Drummond won the seat in 1972 and held it until 1987.
  • Geoff Prosser won the Liberal pre-selection contest in March, 1987 over Peter Drummond which caused some internal anxiety and controversy within the Liberal Party but he quickly established himself as an active, well resourced and effective candidate and member. Geoff held the seat until 2007
  • Nola Marino then took the seat in 2007 and is the current sitting member.

2022 Forrest candidates

  • Nola Marino (Liberal)
  • Bronwen English (ALP)
  • Christine Terrantroy (Greens WA)
  • Shane Mezgar (Pauline Hanson's One Nation)
  • Helen Allan (United Australia Party)

Have we missed anything? Tell us what you would like to see funded in the 2022 federal election. Email jemillah.dawson@austcommunitymedia.com.au