The electorate of South Perth stretches from the Narrows Bridge to the Mt Henry Bridge, across to Kent Street and Banksia Terrace. The electoral boundary between South Perth and its adjoining electorate, Victoria Park, sits down the middle of Banksia Terrace, meaning that only the western side of the street is included in the South Perth electorate. It takes in the suburbs of Como, Karawara, Manning, Salter Point, Waterford, South Perth and Kensington.
There were 28 405 voters in the electorate at November 2019. At the State election on February 26th, 2005, when John McGrath won the seat for the first time, there were 28 013 voters in the electorate.
The electorate of South Perth is unique in many respects. It is bordered on three sides by the Swan and Canning Rivers, which are easily accessible to residents. It also offers scenic parkland settings and lush gardens.
Leisure activities available in the area include a visit to the Perth Zoo, a stroll or picnic along the grassy foreshore at South Perth, boat hire near the Coode Street Jetty, a visit to the Mends Street restaurant and cafe precinct or a game of golf at the immaculate Collier Park public course.
There are also a number of recreational clubs including bowling and tennis clubs throughout the electorate in Manning, Como and South Perth. There are two great libraries in Manning and South Perth and many other community facilities.
South Perth has a heritage dating back to the time of the first Swan River colony. The iconic Old Mill and Cottage and the architecturally charming Windsor Hotel and Old Council Offices are a reminder of early settlement in the area.
The South Perth electorate is centrally located to the Perth CBD providing residents convenient access to the City and many major sporting and entertainment venues.
A feature of the electorate is the strong sense of community spirit that has been maintained over the years. As a result South Perth offers a wonderful lifestyle for people of all ages. There is a strong focus on education in the area with young families able to avail themselves of a fine array of private and government schools and colleges.
The seat of South Perth was held by William Leonard Grayden, a minister in the Sir Charles Court Government, for 39 years. On Bill Grayden’s retirement in 1993 the seat was won by Liberal candidate Phillip George Pendal, who had been a member of the Legislative Council since 1980. Phil Pendal later turned independent after being overlooked for a Cabinet position by Premier Richard Court. He held the seat until his retirement in 2005. Mr Pendal, also a former journalist, was an outstanding local member. He supported John McGrath as the Liberal candidate in the 2005 election which John won with a margin of 11.6% of the vote over his ALP rival on a two-party preferred basis. In the 2008 election, John retained his seat with a two-party preferred vote of 64.27%, which was an increase of 8.5% from the previous vote. In 2013, John increased his primary vote to 67% – the largest primary vote in the State. The two-party preferred vote rose to 71.1%. At the 2017 election, the ALP was returned to government. John retained the seat with 11,899 of the 24,676 votes counted and 50.04% party preferred. In October 2019, John announced his intention to not contest the seat at the next State Election, due in March 2021.