Labor’s chance of retaining key seats in Western Australia took a blow yesterday with Bill Shorten forced to disendorse the party’s candidate for Fremantle, a maritime union official and former wharfie, for failing to disclose criminal convictions.
While Fremantle is one of Labor’s safest seats in the west, with an estimated margin of 5.9% following a redistribution, the sitting member, Melissa Parke, is retiring after nine years. Labor holds just three federal seats in WA and fellow ALP MPs Gary Gray in Brand and Alannah MacTiernan in Perth are also retiring.
The West Australian reports that Labor candidate Chris Brown was convicted in the 1980s of assaulting a police officer, and received a 12-month good behaviour bond, but the conviction was subsequently expunged. Brown was also convicted of drink driving in the mid-80s.
The West Australian says ALP national secretary George Wright recommended to Shorten that Brown be disendorsed.
He is likely be replaced by Josh Wilson, chief of staff to Melissa Parke and the seaside city’s deputy mayor, who won the local ballot as Labor candidate in March, only to lose it after the ALP state council installed Brown instead.
Both Perth and Brand are marginal seats for Labor, held at 2.2% and 3.7% respectively.
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