Firstly, I have a confession to make – I called a few seats wrong. To wit: Whitsunday, Mirani, Barron River, Pumicestone, Springwood, Redcliffe and Townsville. That’s actually no worse than my effort at the 2006 Victorian election, but it looks worse because they all ran in the same direction. It also doesn’t factor in the four seats still in doubt: Chatsworth, Cleveland, Gaven and Redlands (Mirani probably also belongs on this list). Late counting generally tends to favour the conservatives, so my guess would be that all will go with the LNP, in which case you will be able to add Redlands as the one seat I wrongly called for Labor (UPDATE: I wasn’t thinking straight here – I’m using Antony’s figures, and they account for this by going off the size of the polling booth swings. However, if it’s true there was a late swing to Labor, as the polls suggests, the LNP might be expected to have done relatively better out of pre-polls).
It can be inferred that this was the most surprising election result since I got into this caper in 2004. The surprisingly slim pickings for the LNP were Hervey Bay, Coomera, Mudgeeraba, Indooroopilly and Aspley, along with the notional gains of Burdekin and Clayfield. All four independents retained their seats, but One Nation’s Rosa Lee Long was defeated by the LNP’s Shane Knuth after the redistribution put them head-to-head in the new seat of Dalrymple. Notwithstanding Pauline Hanson’s solid 21.7 per cent in Beaudesert, the election thus marked the final nail in the coffin of the political phenomenon she ignited when elected to federal parliament in 1996.
The following table breaks the result down into digestible regional chunks.
|REGION (# OF SEATS)||ALP||LNP||GRN||OTH|
|Southern Brisbane (20)||50.6%||-4.1%||36.1%||+4.3%||9.9%||-0.5%||3.4%||+0.3%|
|Northern Brisbane (11)||43.2%||-5.9%||40.4%||+5.3%||12.0%||-0.5%||4.3%||+1.1%|
|Outer North Metro (6)||47.7%||-5.5%||37.1%||+1.5%||7.6%||-1.7%||7.6%||+5.7%|
|Gold Coast (10)||40.8%||-7.5%||45.7%||+3.2%||6.8%||-1.4%||6.8%||+5.7%|
|Sunshine Coast (6)||28.9%||-2.2%||49.3%||+6.2%||10.2%||+0.3%||11.7%||-4.3%|
|Central Coast (11)||42.7%||-1.0%||38.8%||+3.8%||5.7%||+2.3%||12.8%||-5.1%|
|Northern Coast (9)||44.5%||-6.5%||42.0%||+5.1%||7.6%||+0.7%||5.8%||+0.7%|
Southern Brisbane. Labor went into the election holding all 20 seats in this region, and will emerge with between 17 and 19 (Redlands and Chatsworth being in doubt). If you remove Indooroopilly, where Labor shed votes to Ronan Lee (and which is a doubtful inclusion in this region in any case), Labor’s vote was down only 3.6 per cent. The biggest swings were in Bulimba (8.9 per cent), where sitting member Pat Purcell retired, and Algester (8.7 per cent). The smallest was 0.0 per cent in the already lineball seat of Chatsworth. On the one hand, this might be put down to the fact that it was defended by an LNP sitting member in Michael Caltabiano in 2006 (his wife Andrea was the candidate this time); on the other, it should be noted that Labor’s Chris Bombolas was taking his personal vote into retirement after one term. Indooroopilly appears to have been won by LNP candidate Scott Emerson, but I can’t tell you anything substantial about that because we only have estimated preference distributions to go on. Labor and Ronan Lee and neck-and-neck in the race for second: whoever gets ahead will need about 70 per cent of the other’s preferences, which would be pretty extraordinary.
Northern Brisbane. The much-touted Royal Children’s Hospital backlash did make its presence felt in a number of seats, notably Aspley which fell with a 7.2 per cent swing, but nowhere did this reach the double-digit proportions that Labor was fearing. In particular, Kate Jones did remarkably well to limit the damage to 0.9 per cent in Ashgrove. Another good performer was Vicky Darling in Sandgate, whose swing was only 3.5 per cent. Everton swung heavily as expected, but not by quite enough (9.3 per cent against a margin of 10.6 per cent). Shadow Treasurer Tim Nicholls picked up the swing he needed to retain his seat of Clayfield, made notionally Labor by the redistribution. Interesting to note that Labor’s margin continues to diminish in Brisbane Central: where Peter Beattie won by 25.0 per cent in 2001, the margin is now 6.7 per cent after a 7.7 per cent swing. All told, the LNP now holds three of the region’s 11 seats after going into the election with one.
Outer Northern Metro. Labor held all six of these seats. Redcliffe and Pumicestone were must-wins where the LNP failed to perform, with swings staying below 1 per cent. Strongly performing independents in Redcliffe (former Labor man Peter Houston, 14.3 per cent) and Morayfield (Lynette Devereaux, 10.7 per cent) drove up the “others” result. A strong performance by Houston was supposed to be bad news for Labor (as was the oil spill), but both major parties were down on the primary vote in roughly equal proportions. One might speculate that the LNP’s Redcliffe rail shenanigans backfired badly. Changing members (Linda Lavarch out, Glass House refugee Carolyn Male in) fuelled an 8.5 per cent swing in Pine Rivers (successor to abolished Kurwongbah), but not enough to account for the 13.3 epr cent margin.
Ipswich. Three safe Labor seats that remain so.
Gold Coast. The LNP gained two of the 10 seats here, when they were really hoping for five. Those to go were Coomera, a new seat not defended by a sitting member (margin 8.3 per cent, swing 10.5 per cent swing), and Mudgeeraba, where Dianne Reilly was finally defeated in the seat she gained in 2001 (margin 3.9 per cent, swing 6.7 per cent). Crucially, the swings against Labor in Broadwater, Southport, Burleigh and Gaven were all below 5 per cent, preserving them in the first three and sending the last down to the wire. All told, Gold Coast seats swung in roughly the same proportions as Brisbane, perhaps arguing against the idea that the Carrara Stadium issue worked against them. On the other hand, Mermaid Beach LNP member Ray Stevens picked up a big 8.3 per cent swing, which might be seen as vindication of his strong criticism of Springborg’s policy. Another explanation might be that it was a correction after the 6.3 per cent swing to Labor in the predecessor seat of Robina in 2006 which followed the departure of sitting member Bob Quinn.
Sunshine Coast. No surprise that the six seats here stayed five LNP and one independent. Labor didn’t have much further to fall after the 2006 backlash over water issues; the overall LNP vote was boosted by a big increase in Noosa, where Cate Molloy was down from 23.7 per cent to 8.3 per cent.
Hinterland. This is more a collection of bits and pieces than a region. It includes Beaudesert, where any talk of independents Pauline Hanson (21.7 per cent) and Keith Gee (8.0 per cent) helping Labor was dispelled by a 13.6 per cent sag in their vote; Toowoomba South, where Mike Horan should have made way for Stuart Copeland and received one of the state’s only two pro-Labor swings for his trouble; Glass House, where the redistribution produced a 0.0 per cent margin and which was won quite comfortably by the LNP; Nanango, where John Bjelke-Petersen went backwards in his second attempt to unseat former One Nation independent Dolly Pratt; Toowoomba North, where Attorney-General Kerry Shine survived a 4.9 per cent swing to win by 2.7 per cent; and the traditional Nationals seat of Lockyer, where nothing untoward occurred.
Central Coast. The biggest surprise of the election was Labor’s excellent performance in the northern part of this region, away from the impact of the Traveston Crossing dam issue. I’m not aware of anyone who thought Jan Jarratt would hold Whitsunday for Labor, but she has with a 3.2 per cent swing. Mirani was also considered a lay-down misere for LNP member Ted Malone, who saw the seat edged into the Labor column by the redistribution, and who finished the evening 0.4 per cent behind. Labor suffered hardly any swing at all in and around Rockhampton, allowing them to easily retain Keppel. The one casualty here was Hervey Bay, where former mayor Ted Sorensen despatched front-bencher Andrew McNamara with an 8.0 per cent swing. Independent Chris Foley was predictably untroubled in Maryborough, and Labor failed to bring home the bacon in Gladstone, where independent Liz Cunningham picked up a 3.8 per cent swing against her Labor opponent.
Northern Coast. The swing to Labor in this region was inflated by Hinchinbrook, where voters took a predictably dim view of absentee candidate Mark Platt, Thuringowa, where they copped a harmless 8.2 per cent swing, and Mulgrave, where both parties shed votes to independent Damian Byrnes. Elsewhere Labor almost matched their very strong performance in 2006, doing extremely well to retain Barron River and generally retaining their lock on Cairns and Townsville. There was one notional LNP gain in Burdekin, where Rosemary Menkens picked up a 3.3 per cent swing after the redistribution left her facing a Labor margin of 0.9 per cent.
Interior. The LNP couldn’t even manage second place in Mount Isa, shedding votes to Bob Katter-backed independent Keith Douglas who finishes behind Labor member Betty Kiernan. Shane Knuth outpolled Rosa Lee Long 40.1 per cent to 34.3 per cent in Dalrymple; Stuart Copeland failed to come through in his bid to defeat former LNP colleague Ray Hopper in Condamine, who outpolled him 47.4 per cent to 26.4 per cent. The remaining seats are Nationals heartland and did not turn up any surprises.
The “whither the LNP” prognostications will have to wait for another time, but I will make this observation: they went into the election with nine MPs from Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast against 16 from the rest of the state, and have probably emerged with 17 and 15 respectively. That at least is a healthy development, even if it does result as much from their failures as their successes (such as they were).