Federal election 2022: Curtin could come down to wire as Independent Kate Chaney

Jake DietschThe West Australian
Kate Chaney (right) at West Leederville Primary School.
Camera IconKate Chaney (right) at West Leederville Primary School. Credit: Ian Munro/The West Australian

The Liberal stronghold of Curtin could come down to the wire, with the independent challenger telling The West she was not expecting a result tonight.

At her election night party ahead of results, Liberal MP Celia Hammond who held the seat on a margin of 13.9 per cent said she had “given it my all” and was “exhausted.”

“It’s been a gruelling campaign and I’m grateful for the work of everyone in our team in Curtin,” she said.

Ms Hammond said she would wait for more results before commenting on predictions the Coalition had lost its majority.

“I’m exhausted. All I can focus on is what my team has done and what the Morrison government has delivered. I am really proud of that,” she said.

“It’s been a privilege to represent the seat since 2019 and whether I am able to again for another three years, the dye is cast and its in the hands of the voters.”

It covers the western suburbs of Perth and, following the abolition of the seat of Stirling, has been extended north to include the rest of Scarborough and Trigg as well as the suburbs of Karrinyup and Gwelup.

Ms Hammond has been the MP since 2019, taking over from Julie Bishop after more than 20 years.

But so-called ‘teal’ independent Kate Chaney has mounted a serious challenge to the blue-ribbon electorate, running on a platform of greater action on climate change and restoring integrity to federal politics.

At polling stations, volunteers for both camps were also expecting a close result.

One Chaney volunteer told The West the Liberal flyers were more popular but believed the candidate’s primary support was strong enough for a narrow win.

Liberal volunteers were pleasantly surprised at the amount of support that still remained, but also expected a final result would not be known on the night.

A poll released by The West on Wednesday found Ms Chaney ahead of Ms Hammond 52-48 on a two-party preferred basis, after previously trailing 49-51 at the start of April.

Labor’s candidate Yannick Spencer has run a relatively low profile campaign.

Cameron Pidgeon is contesting the seat for the Greens and Ladeisha Verhoeff is the United Australia Party candidate.

Ms Chaney has said if she won the seat she would negotiate with both parties in the event of a hung Parliament, although on her two major issues - climate action and establishing a federal anti-corruption watchdog - she is much closer to Labor’s policies.

Her campaign is backed by hundreds of volunteers and amassed a war chest of $967,000, including support from Simon Holmes a Court’s group Climate 200.

Climate 200 is backing several independents throughout the country who are also running against Liberals in previously safe and affluent inner-city electorates.

Despite her renowned fundraising prowess, Ms Bishop has largely stayed out of the campaign.

The former foreign minister and Liberal party deputy said Ms Chaney had a strong chance of taking the seat and in the last days of the campaign predicted a win for the ondependent would provoke “a lot of soul searching” in the party.

Before entering politics, Ms Hammond was the vice chancellor at Notre Dame University.

Ms Chaney was Anglicare WA’s director of innovation and strategy. She comes from Liberal party royalty as the granddaughter of a Menzies government minister, as well as the niece of a Minister in the Fraser government.

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