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Sibling support key to election win

Samantha and Cassie Rowe grew up together, door-knocked alongside one another and will soon sit in the same Parliament after a 12.7 per cent swing turned the seat of Belmont red.

Newly elected Labor MP Cassie became the third MP in her family at the weekend, following in the footsteps of older sister Samantha, who has represented the East Metropolitan region in WA’s Upper House since 2013.

The sisters’ father, Barry Rowe, held the seat of Essendon in the Victorian Parliament from 1979 to 1992.

Cassie lost in Belmont to Liberal Glenys Godfrey in 2013, but she had another go and comfortably won the seat on Saturday on the back of concerns about jobs losses.

Acknowledging that siblings both being elected rarely happened on their own, the pair said it was a team effort.

Samantha acted as Cassie’s campaign director, working with dozens of Labor volunteers to boost her chances being elected.

She said Cassie’s 2013 loss was hard for them both, so it was a proud moment on Saturday to see her “determined and resilient” younger sister get a second chance and win the seat.

“It was a lot of fun. We were out doorknocking together,” Samantha said.

“I’d be talking to someone at the door and they’d say, ‘Oh, who’s that across the road?’ and I’d say, ‘That’s my sister’.”

Cassie said they grew up in a political household, so it was not all that surprising that they had both ended up in public life.

Their parents had always encouraged them to follow their dreams, work hard and do what they love, whether that was politics or not.

“I think it’s quite natural that we’ve ended up with an interest in politics, because growing up it was very much part of our daily conversation at home around the dinner table,” Cassie said.

“Something that mum and dad really instilled in Samantha was a sense of civic duty, in that it’s really important to contribute to your community in any small or big way.”

Cassie just lost out at the 2013 poll to Ms Godfrey, meaning she only had to overcome a 1 per cent margin to take Belmont.

The family celebrated the election victory together at the Belmont Sports and Recreational Club on Saturday night, along with their campaign volunteers.

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