One of Sam Lim’s first steps as a surprising new MP for Tangney is to set up a local multicultural advisory group.
The former police officer, one-time dolphin trainer, and first Labor representative to the electorate in 38 years revealed his plans to PerthNow following his dramatic election victory.
“However, my priorities will be to meet with local stakeholders, starting with my pre-election commitments and setting up a multicultural advisory group in my community,” said Mr. Lim.
“I don’t think it has sunk in yet. I’ve been so busy answering congratulations and media requests that I haven’t had much time to think about it.
DISCOVER THE LATEST NEWS NEAR YOU WITH PERTHNOW DIGITAL EDITIONS
“I think it hits me when I give my maiden speech.”
On a night when Anthony Albanian Perth’s team turned red, and the teal independents across the country triumphed in several other blue-blooded seats in the outback, Mr. Lim’s victory over one of Scott Morrison’s most trusted lieutenants compounded the pain of the outgoing government.
Since 1984, when Melville Mayor George Gear Tangney was MP, the Southern Suburbs electorate has had a Labor representative.
Morton has held the seat since 2016, and liberal optimists had hoped his 9.5 percent margin heading into Saturday would be enough to counteract mounting anti-coalition sentiment.
He officially admitted his defeat on Monday, saying the fallout from the federal government’s initial decision to support Clive Palmer’s WA border challenge had proved fatal.
“If Clive Palmer hadn’t challenged the WA frontier, I think we would have had a different election result here in WA yesterday,” Morton told 7NEWS.
Lim – ill since the election – plans to fly to Canberra on Sunday, where he will no doubt meet many of his new colleagues from the federal parliament.
In Saturday night’s tally, there was early evidence that Mr. Lim could capture the Labor seat – as Zaneta Mascarenhas, Tracey Roberts, and Tania Lawrence did in Swan, Pearce, and Hasluck, respectively – and the race at Tangney proved extremely tight.
Only 43 percent of the votes were counted at 10 p.m., leaving Mr. Lim up front but cautiously awaiting confirmation.
By the end of Monday, the two-party preference in Tangney showed a 52-48 margin for Labour.
“I felt much more at ease when Antony Green said we had won the seat, but I couldn’t relax properly until Mr. Morton called me on Monday to admit, which he did very kindly,” he said.
“We all knew we had done everything we could to win the election, so we would have been proud of the result even if we hadn’t won.
“I would like to sincerely thank the voters of Tangney for their confidence in me as their local member. It is an incredible honor and privilege, and I will work hard daily to repay that trust with results for our local community.”
Morton said his party was now “at rock bottom,” and the “only way is up”. He didn’t know the future, but he looked forward to spending more time with his family, including his son Harrison.
The outgoing MP was “incredibly proud” of what his team had achieved together, both “in our community and for our country”.
“I love our democracy, elections, and we live in a country where every voter decides who represents and governs us,” Morton said.
“I spoke to Sam Lim and congratulated him on his election as a Tangney member. With the results clear, my position as a Tangney member ended on the night of the federal election last Saturday.
“Asta and I, along with our children, look forward to continuing to live in this beautiful community that we are privileged to call home.”
Originally from Malaysia, Mr. Lim served as a police officer with the Royal Malaysian Police Force for two years before leaving to become a dolphin trainer, a role he believes was his best job ever.
“I love it because dolphins are so real; dolphins never hurt you,” he said.
“If you feel hurt, jump into the pool, and the dolphin will approach you and try to comfort you.”
Mr. Lim migrated to Australia in 2002 with his wife and three children and entered the WA Police Academy in 2006.
As a result of his work with multicultural communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, he was named Police Officer of the Year in 2020.
While Mr. Lim is excited to start his new role in Canberra, he said there were many things he would miss about his siblings in blue.
“I enjoyed my time with the police. The sense of duty and service, and the knowledge that you’re helping people directly, are all very satisfying,” he said.
“I think the three things I will take on in my new role are a very strong work ethic, my commitment to deliver for the local community, and my strong focus on integrity.”
As for where Tangney’s locals can expect to see him when he returns home to Perth for the next three years, Mr. Lim said he plans to keep his election rival’s office for now.
“Initially, I will be usingg Ben Morton’s office as I believe thee Commobelieve their leases ith, and I don’t wan,t to incur any additional cost to the taxpayer. I’ll find a new location as soon as it’s practical, but it hasn’t been decided yet,” he said.