Before I proceed, a plug for the Westpoll WA state poll post, which this post is bumping from the top of the page.
Moreton extends from the southern Brisbane riverside suburbs of Oxley, Sherwood and Yeronga out to Runcorn and Acacia Ridge in the south, the latter area being the more favourable for Labor. It was one of nine Queensland seats gained by Labor at the 2007 election, of which it and two others stayed with the party in 2010. The seat has existed in name since federation, but was based on the Gold Coast and Brisbane’s southern outskirts until the creation of McPherson in 1949. It then began a long drift north into the inner suburbs, making marginal a seat that had once been safely conservative. The first near-miss came with Jim Killen’s famous 130-vote win in 1961, achieved with help from Communist Party preference leakage, which allowed the Menzies government to survive with a one-seat majority. Labor would not get over the line until 1990, when Liberal veteran Don Cameron was unseated by Garrie Gibson.
Gibson suffered a small adverse swing in 1993 before succumbing to a further 4.9% swing amid the Queensland tidal wave of 1996. The new Liberal member was Gary Hardgrave, a former children’s television host and media adviser to Senator David MacGibbon. Hardgrave held junior ministry positions from 2001 to 2005 while maintaining a tenuous grip on his seat, surviving a 4.2% swing in 1998 and an unfavourable redistribution in 2004. Redistribution further chipped away at his margin before the 2007 election, and he was unseated by a 7.5% swing to Labor in 2007. He has since kept in the public eye as the drive presenter on Fairfax Radio’s Brisbane station 4BC.
The seat has since been held for Labor by Graham Perrett, previously an adviser to the Queensland Resources Council and earlier a state ministerial staffer and official with the Queensland Independent Education Union. Perrett enjoyed what proved to be a decisive 1.4% boost at the redistribution before the 2010 election, at which a 4.9% swing cut his margin to 1.1%. He made the news in his first term with the publication of his “erotic novel”, The Twelfth Fish, and in his second when he threatened to quit parliament if Labor changed leaders again, a position he backed away from when Kevin Rudd was marshalling his unsuccessful leadership challenge in February 2012.
The Liberal National Party has gain preselected its candidate from 2010, Malcolm Cole, a former Courier-Mail journalist and late Howard-era staffer to Alexander Downer and Santo Santoro. For the 2010 election the LNP initially preselected Michael Palmer, the 20-year-old son of Clive, which was seen as a measure of the Coalition’s bleak electoral prospects at the time. This together with the preselection of Wyatt Roy in Longman drew considerable derision, and some skepticism was expressed when Palmer withdrew on health grounds.