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Fremantle on their minds

19 May 2009
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SOME COMMENTATORS see the Greens victory in last Saturday’s Fremantle state by-election as an ominous sign for a Labor Party juggling the conflicting demands of its inner urban and outer suburban support bases. This may be so, but several caveats need to be borne in mind.

In its candidate selection, Western Australian Labor seemed to exceed even the usual level of ineptitude the party brings to the task. Conventionally, a local government–based candidate represents good value, even if party membership is bestowed at the eleventh hour. In this case, however, the mayor in question not only lacked an obvious progressive political identity, but struggled to repudiate allegations that his pedigree was, in fact, anti-Labor. Piled onto this was his mayoral identification with pro-development elements in the local area: anathema to Labor’s substantial anti-development base in a seat such as Fremantle, and manna from heaven for the Greens...

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2009
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