New electorate named after war hero to carve up the south east

New electorate named after war hero to carve up the south east


Western Australia will get an extra federal electorate this year after a population boom.

Since August 2021, WA grew by just under 75,000 eligible voters – a 4.31 percent increase.

This entitles the state to 16 representatives in the lower house of the Australian parliament.

Since a ‘significant’ portion of that growth occurred in the south east of Perth, a new division is proposed in our patch.

The proposed Division of Bullwinkel will represent the interests of most of the hills communities and consume parts of the existing Divisions of Burt, Canning, Durack, Hasluck, O’Connor and Swan.

The Albany and Tonkin Highways have been used as dividers.

Some 7,878 electors from Burt are projected to be transferred from the suburbs of Mount Nasura and Orange Grove, the portion of the suburb of Martin located to the west of the Tonkin Highway, and part of the suburbs of Armadale, Kelmscott and Gosnells.

While, 11,298 electors from Canning are proposed to be transferred from the suburbs of Ashendon, Bedfordale, Canning Mills, Carmel, Karragullen, Lesley, Mount Richon, Pickering Brook and Roleystone, and part of the suburbs of Martin and Wungong.

“The Redistribution Committee recognises that a strong community interest exists between the hills areas which would benefit from being within the same division,” the report reads.

But after haemorrhaging so many voters, the Division of Burt will need to claw back a few – and it is proposed they will be taken from Canning.

Byford will be cleaved in two, separated along the South Western Highway. Burt is also proposed to encompass Darling Downs, Oakford and the rest of Hilbert.

“These high growth southern suburbs are linked to the proposed Division of Burt by the future Tonkin Highway extension,” the report reads.

The proposed Division of Burt will now straddle the Cities of Canning, Gosnells, Armadale and the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale.

But Canning will occupy a little more coastline, subsuming the suburbs of Golden Bay, Karnup, Keralup (part), Secret Harbour and Singleton, recognising the strong community of interest between these suburbs.

Member for Canning Andrew Hastie wasn’t exactly happy about losing parts of the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale, in particular, the plan to excise half of Byford.

“Aligning the division boundaries with existing suburb or LGA boundaries is preferred, where possible, as it enables shared community concerns and priorities to be addressed effectively,” he said.

“It has been an honour to represent the suburbs that have been removed and I want the community to be assured that I will continue to represent them until the next Federal Election.”

He said he was “looking forward to reaching out to my new constituents and representing their views and concerns in Canning”.

“I know many people living in the new areas of Canning are struggling with cost of living, they’re concerned about local crime, immigration, and housing availability and affordability – and I can assure them that I will work with them the best I can to address these important issues,” he said.

The Australian Electoral Commission is currently receiving feedback about the proposed redistribution and a determination will be made in September in time for the next Federal election.

Member for Burt Matt Keogh was contacted for comment.

The significance of the Division of Bullwinkel

The new electoral division is proposed to be named in honour of Lieutenant Colonel Vivian Bullwinkel.

Vivian Bullwinkel was born on 18 December 1915 at Kapunda, South Australia. She trained as a nurse and midwife at Broken Hill, New South Wales, and began her nursing career in Hamilton, Victoria, before moving to the Jessie McPherson Hospital in Melbourne in 1940. Lt Col Bullwinkel subsequently enlisted in the Australian Army Nursing Service and served in Singapore.

After surviving the sinking of the SS Vyner Brooke following the evacuation of Singapore, Lt Col Bullwinkel was the sole survivor of the 1942 Bangka Island massacre and a prisoner of war for three-and-a-half years.

She retired from the Army in 1947 and became Director of Nursing at Melbourne’s Fairfield Hospital, devoting much of her life to moving Australian nursing education from hospitals to universities, working for the recognition of military personnel, especially nurses, and the victims of war crimes, and honouring those killed on Bangka Island.

She also highlighted the treatment of prisoners of war by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Her service and contributions have been recognised by an Order of Australia, an appointment to membership of the Order of the British Empire, the Royal Red Cross Medal, and the Florence Nightingale Medal – an international award which recognises exceptional courage and devotion to victims of armed conflict or natural disaster.

“The Redistribution Committee recognised Vivian Bullwinkel’s strong connection to Western Australia formed during her 23 years residence in the state; during which time she was active in the military community and the Returned Services League of WA. Therefore, it was considered appropriate to honour her legacy via the name of a Western Australian electoral division,” the report said.

Lt Col Vivian Bullwinkel will be honoured by the new federal division. Photo – Australian War Memorial.