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Aston By-Election (2001)

The Aston by-election was caused by the death of the Liberal member, Peter Nugent, on April 24, 2001.

AstonNugent first won the seat in 1990, holding it again in the elections of 1993, 1996 and 1998.

In 1998, Nugent’s two-party-preferred margin was 4.24%.

The by-election was by Chris Pearce for the Liberal Party with 50.58% of the two-party vote. There was a two-party swing of 3.66% against the Liberal Party. The Liberal Party primary vote declined by 7.76% to 40.73%. The ALP’s primary vote also fell by 1.55% to 36.96%.

The by-election was held in the wake of several months of bad electoral news for the Howard government. The coalition had been soundly defeated in the Western Australian and Queensland State elections in February and had lost the Ryan by-election in March.

The government had implemented a number of policy changes after these defeats. The media and the Opposition accused it of performing “backflips”. Opinion polls consistently showed the government trailing the ALP and there was a developing expectation that the government would be defeated in the general election.

Fifteen candidates nominated for the by-election. A draw was held on July 15 to determine positions on the ballot paper.

Some candidates appeared as independents, even though they represented minor political parties, because they have failed to register the names of 500 members of their parties with the Australian Electoral Commission. Registration entitles candidates to have their party designation appear beside their names on the ballot paper.

Aston By-Election – July 14
Peter O’LOUGHLIN Independent – but representing the Lower Excise on Fuel and Beer Party
Chris PEARCE Liberal
Mark WARD Independent – but representing People Power
Mark SLOAN Independent – but representing No GST Party
Mick KIR Australian Greens
Steve RASKOVY Independent
Doug MITCHELL Citizens Electoral Council
Luke James Chamberlain Liberals For Forests
Pierre Harcourt Australian Democrats
June Scott One Nation
Garry SCATES Independent
Josephine COX Independent – but representing Socialist Alliance
Tim PETHERBRIDGE Independent – but representing Hope Party

The final results of the by-election were:

Aston By-Election – July 14
Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Peter O’LOUGHLIN Ind 1,160 1.49 +1.49
Chris PEARCE Liberal 31,640 40.73 -7.76
Mark WARD Ind 125 0.16 +0.16
Mark SLOAN Ind 619 0.80 +0.80
Mick KIR Greens 1,876 2.41 +2.41
Steve RASKOVY Ind 227 0.29 +0.29
Doug MITCHELL CEC 334 0.43 +0.43
Luke James Chamberlain Liberals For Forests 679 0.87 +0.87
Pierre Harcourt Australian Democrats 6,269 8.07 +0.54
June Scott One Nation 1,369 1.76 -1.13
Garry SCATES Ind 3,402 4.38 +4.38
Josephine COX Socialist Alliance 329 0.42 +0.42
Tim PETHERBRIDGE Hope 232 0.30 +0.30
Graeme DUNSTAN HEMP 713 0.92 +0.92
Kieran BOLAND ALP 28,716 36.96 -1.55
Two Candidate Preferred
Kieran Boland ALP 49.43% 3.67%
Chris Pearce Liberal 50.57% -3.67%

Aston By-Election News

Map of the Aston Electorate


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Malcolm Farnsworth
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