Competition is heating up in Rockingham as the ballot for the upcoming by-election is locked in, with nine candidates putting their hand up for the seat of former premier Mark McGowan. Held by just two members since its creation in 1974, Rockingham has always been a Labor seat — but not always a safe one. Initially a marginal seat, it was first held by Mike Barnett until he passed the baton to Mark McGowan in 1996, which he held at a healthy margin until his shock resignation in late May. Some candidates are hoping to return Rockingham to local hands — or at least put a dent in the 37.7 per cent margin — find out who’s thrown their hat in the ring. Magenta Marshall (Labor) Born and raised in Rockingham, Ms Marshall, aged in her late 20s, is hoping to be the first female member for Rockingham in the electorate’s 50-year history. She has worked the last six years for WA Labor, first as an electorate officer to Balcatta MP David Michael up to the 2021 election and then as a campaign strategist at party headquarters. The Tranby College graduate has a degree in Asian studies and politics from Murdoch University and remains a keen soccer player, with her first job at Rockingham Football Club and now playing and coaching at Baldivis Football Club. “I have lived in the Rockingham community for my whole life, and my husband and I recently purchased our first home in Waikiki,” Ms Marshall said. “We love our local community, and I am looking forward to the opportunity to represent Rockingham in the Roger Cook Labor Government.” She said cost of living was a major issue with Rockingham voters, talking up the State Government’s $400 power credit and free public transport for Smart Rider holders on the first Sunday of each month. “The number one issue coming across is the cost of living,” she said. “People in Rockingham are really feeling the pinch on that.” Peter Hudson (Liberal) Mr Hudson says he is acutely aware of the significant challenge the party faces in the upcoming by-election against Labor’s Mark McGowan-supported campaign. The 21-year-old Liberal candidate, who also had a crack at the federal seat of Brand in the 2022 federal election, said he was ready for the fight ahead of the July 29 poll. “We’re very realistic about the challenge that we face in Rockingham,” he said. “I carry the energy and the passion. I’m not tired and I’m going to really deliver for the people of Rockingham.” The young resources sector recruitment consultant said he wasn’t worried about the “star power of Mark McGowan” as he was no longer a threat. “The people at Rockingham will not be voting for Mark McGowan at this by-election,” he said. “They’ll be voting for a new Labor candidate, one that I actually haven’t met or heard of in the local community.” A jibe to Ms Marshall’s preselection, he said the “true local representative” of a community needs to be “out and about and involved”. “You can’t just drop into a by-election and and expect to walk in as the next State member of your Parliament.” Madeleine De Jong (The Greens WA) Another Rockingham local, Ms De Jong is also focusing squarely on cost of living and the current rental crisis facing local residents. A self-professed community campaigner, the young mother said Rockingham was “a really special place to me”. “I was raised here, went to school here, rented my first homes here, got married in a backyard here, and had my baby here,” she said. “My passion for our community led me to leave full-time work at the end of last year to become a full time mum and start my studies in Psychology. I’m looking forward to being able to serve our community in a new way.” While Ms De Jong’s campaign has mostly been spruiking existing Greens policies online, she hopes to fight for “real investments into public and affordable housing . . . keep Cockburn Sound nuclear free, and boost healthcare and education services in Rockingham”. “I’ve watched close family members experience the uncertainty and stress that results from the rental crisis. I understand first hand how essential it is to have a strong community around you in times when the government leaves people unsupported,” she said. She said the people of Rockingham need “ambitious action” to fend off the “imminent threat of nuclear submarines” — referencing the AUKUS submarine deal — and to protect local green spaces like Point Peron and the Shoalwater Islands Marine Park. Hayley Edwards (Independent) Rockingham deputy mayor Hayley Edwards will run as one of several Independents in the by-election, touting her experience as a local councillor in the Baldivis ward and being deputy mayor since 2021. The former Air Force medic said she would be a fierce advocate for her community, where she lives, works and raises four children with her husband. “What I will do . . . is be really loud. I will be a fierce advocate,” Ms Edwards said at her campaign launch on Thursday. “I’m not aligned to a political party, I don’t have to toe the party line. “I can just represent the community.” Ms Edwards said it was time Rockingham had a true community voice and noted the success of Independents at last year’s federal election. “It’s proven now that Independents can have a proven success,” she said. “In a by-election, anything can happen.” Among the campaign launch attendees was Kwinana mayor Carol Adams, who herself took the leap to run as an Independent for Kwinana in 2008 against none other than Roger Cook — relatively unknown to the general public at the time. Ms Adams lost by just 300 votes in a tight race, after postal votes were counted and preferences distributed. “I’d just like to really congratulate you for stepping up as an Independent,” Ms Adams told Ms Edwards. “You’re going to hit the ground running . . . with experience as a councillor and deputy mayor.” With experience running an Independent campaign, Ms Adams had sage words for those present: “Safe seats get things done to them, marginal seats get things done for them.” Former Rockingham mayor Barry Sammels was also present and spoke of Ms Adams’ strong 2008 bid as well. “It just goes to show an Independent can do things,” he said. Ms Edwards said she had the “trusted hands that can take our city forward”. “Rockingham, this is a massive opportunity for us and I really do believe we need to take advantage of it and take it to ‘em.” Rae Cottam (Legalise Cannabis WA) Also a City of Rockingham councillor, Rae Cottam will contest the by-election with the Legalise Cannabis Party. Ms Cottam is a Wongutha woman and has been a councillor for almost four years, and she said 78 percent of people in the community want to see the decriminalisation of cannabis and that she is “one of them”. “I believe that medical cannabis and CBD oil should be covered by the (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme),” she said. “Out-of-pocket costs can be really crippling to those already suffering, to be able to afford (what is) a natural alternative therapy that they’re finding relief in and giving people quality of life.” Ms Cottam said she was a “voice to the community and those who are unheard” and that she hopes to bring about change and a new perspective to issues within the community as a young Indigenous woman, former teacher and local advocate. Mike Crichton (Australian Christians) Representing the Australian Christians, Mr Crichton is driving his campaign with the party’s core belief that “the faith vote matters”. Mr Crichton is WA State President for the Australian Christians and a Rockingham resident, currently working as a radio presenter on community Christian radio station 98five Sonshine FM. Online, his campaign page spruiks restoring moral foundations, community transformation and strong representation for a renewed election bid for the party in 2025. “By supporting and casting your first vote for AC, you are ensuring that our voices and interests are heard and represented in the decision-making process,” a campaign post said. “Our society is yearning for leaders who will stand up for what is right and just. By voting 1 for AC in this by-election, you are sending a strong message to other parties and politicians that the faith vote matters.” Clive Arthur Galletly (Independent) Rockingham local and remedial massage therapist Clive “Arthur” Galletly has lived in the area for more than three decades, claiming he has a proven track record on delivering for the district by organising a petition for an Emergency Department at Rockingham General Hospital. “In the early nineties, to get 10,000 signatures from a population of 40,000 using clipboards in pharmacies wasn’t too shabby an effort,” he said on his campaign Facebook page. Mr Galletly, 72, has a background in economics, statistics and IT before his career change into allied health, and has previously run as an Independent in the 1989 state election for the seat of Glendalough and the 1996 federal election for Brand. He was unsuccessful in both bids. He is advocating for cycle paths and toilets at Point Peron, free remedial massage for the Australian Defence Force, and “a Rock Fest to rival the Crab Fest” to “put the Rock into Rockingham“, among more than a dozen other policies on his website. Mr Galletly said he will also push for “stiffer, mandatory minimum penalties” for perpetrators of family and domestic violence, labelling it the “worst blight in our society”. “Many... victims live in fear of breaches of VROs and have to move home, sometimes to a different city or state and need more financial help,” he wrote on his website. “It is the perpetrators who need to be penalised, not the victims. The perpetrators should be obliged to pay substantial financial compensation to victims for the physical and psychological damage they cause, and this should be enforced by the (Australian Tax Office).” The Independent candidate also wants a fix for congestion to the Rockingham Industrial Zone, larger bus shelters for high schools, and — bizarrely — “more dung beetles to control methane emissions and flies”. Peter Dunne (Independent) Mr Dunne will be on the ballot as an Independent but is so far without a solid campaign presence online. A GoFundMe page shows he supports the Indigenous Voice to Parliament and is a supporter of student guilds and other academic associations. Janetia Knapp Formerly affiliated with the now defunct Western Australia Party, Ms Knapp has nominated as an individual without any political affiliation. An Aboriginal artist from the Nyungar Goreng language group in Gnowangerup, she has connections to the Menang people near Esperance in the Great Southern. She is also the artist in residence at Notre Dame’s Fremantle campus, a cultural teacher and a former nurse. Ms Knapp’s last active campaign page was from her bid for the seat of Fremantle with the Western Australia Party. While the Western Australia Party is no longer listed as registered with the Western Australian Electoral Commission, Ms Knapp has since been listed on the party’s website as “WA Party candidate, Rockingham by-election”. It appears she is campaigning against the Voice to Parliament, with the tagline: “It’s ok to say no to changing the Constitution for ‘The Voice’.” It remains unknown whether she will campaign publicly or online for the safe Labor seat. The Rockingham by-election will be held on Saturday July 29.