Just before 9pm, Lisa O’Malley climbed on stage at the Bicton-Palmyra RSL and hoisted an altered campaign sign reading “Only Labor has stopped Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link.”
It was a fitting symbol for the Melville councillor, who used her long-running opposition to the project as one of the key planks of what appeared last night to be a successful election platform.
With close to 60 per cent of the vote counted, a 15.8 per cent swing to Labor gave Mrs O’Malley a formidable lead over Liberal Matt Taylor.
“I think we did a fantastic job getting people to jump on board as volunteers to run a sold, grassroots voter engagement campaign,” she said.
“Bicton is a new seat but areas like Alfred Cove, which is a traditional Liberal stronghold, hadn’t been door knocked or communicated with in years.
“We visited nearly every single home in the electorate and the two recurring messages were people didn’t want the Perth Freight Link and they did want a change of government.”
Mrs O’Malley has been a vocal opponent of both the Perth Freight Link and the proposed $25 million Tompkins Park wave park, likely winning votes in Alfred Cove after eliciting a promise from Labor’s environment spokesman Chris Tallentire to refer the divisive project to the EPA.
While Mr Taylor grew up in East Fremantle, he spent the majority of his political career representing the seat of Bateman where he was elected in a landslide in 2013.
He lost the blue ribbon seat to former Transport Minister Dean Nalder after a damaging pre-selection battle last year.
Mr Taylor said he was proud of his “strong, respectful campaign” in some difficult circumstances.
“I had United Voice, Rethink the Link and WA Labor all campaigning against me strongly,” he said.
“They have within their ranks supporters that are prepared to steal signs, to graffiti signs, to do things outside of the law and I’m happy we were above that.”
A former sustainable development consultant, Mr Taylor said was looking forward to spending a week fishing with his wife Angela and two young sons off Rottnest Island.