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A by-election was held in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly district of Fremantle on 16 May 2009. It was triggered by the resignation of sitting member Jim McGinty.

The Labor Party was defending a seat that they had held continuously since 1924. The by-election was held in conjunction with the state referendum on daylight saving hours.

The Greens candidate, Adele Carles, won the by-election, and in doing so became the first Greens member of the Legislative Assembly.


First elected to parliament at the 1990 Fremantle state by-election, McGinty became a minister in the Labor government of Carmen Lawrence in 1991. He held several portfolios until Labor's defeat at the 1993 state election. In Opposition, McGinty succeeded Ian Taylor as Labor leader in 1994, only to be replaced by Geoff Gallop prior to the 1996 state election. After Labor returned to power at the 2001 state election, McGinty again became a minister. Most significantly he served for seven and half years as Attorney-General in the Labor governments of Geoff Gallop and Alan Carpenter.

Following Labor's defeat at the 2008 state election, speculation among media and political commentators was that McGinty, by then almost 60 years of age, would resign his seat before the end of the term. He confirmed that speculation on 3 April 2009.


Nominations closed on 17 April 2009. Later that day, the Western Australian Electoral Commission revealed the names of the candidates who nominated. They are as follows, in ballot paper order:

The Liberal Party did not stand a candidate.


The Greens' win in Fremantle is, to date, only the second time a Green candidate has been elected to a single-member district in any Australian parliament (the first being the federal seat of Cunningham in New South Walesmarker at the 2002 by-election) and is the first time they have outpolled the Labor Party on the primary vote in any Labor-held seat. Carles became the first Green to sit in the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, and with five members in the Parliament as a whole, the Greens achieved official parliamentary party status in Western Australia, giving them access to additional allowances, monies and staff.


  1. Two other members have held state seats while members of the Greens in single-member parliaments—Kris Hanna in Mitchell (South Australia) and Ronan Lee in Indooroopilly (Queensland)—but neither were elected as Greens, and Hanna contested (and won) the following election as an Independent while Lee failed to retain his seat.

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