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Seat of the week: Dickson

Peter Dutton’s parliamentary career began when he unseated Cheryl Kernot in 2001, and he was doubtful enough of his capacity to keep his seat out of Labor hands that he sought refuge elsewhere before the 2010 election.

Located at the western edge of Brisbane’s northern suburban corridor, Dickson is one of six seats which have been created to deal with Queensland’s population boom since the expansion of parliament in 1984. From south to north, it presently encompasses the marginal hills district suburbs of Ferny Hills, Arana Hills and Everton Hills; a strongly conservative area around Pine River including Albany Creek and Eatons Hill; and Labor-leaning suburbs along Gympie Road and the Caboolture rail line including Strathpine, Bray Park, Lawnton and Petrie (that latter being confusingly located outside the electorate that bears its name). It also extends westwards beyond the metropolitan area to Lake Samsonvale and the interior edge of the D’Aguilar Range, including the townships of Dayboro and Samford. The populous part of the electorate had hitherto been accommodate mostly by Fisher after 1984, Petrie after 1949, and Lilley beforehand.

Teal and red numbers respectively indicate size of two-party majorities for the LNP and Labor. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

Dickson was won for Labor on its creation in 1993 by Michael Lavarch, who had previously been the member for Fisher. Lavarch went on to serve as Attorney-General in the second term of the Keating government, before becoming one of its highest profile casualties of the 1996 election. The Liberal candidate who defeated him was Tony Smith (not to be confused with the current member for Casey in Melbourne), whose career imploded when he was questioned by police after being seen leaving a building that housed a brothel. Smith forestalled preselection defeat by quitting the Liberal Party and declaring his intention to run as an independent, which he did with little success. By this time it had emerged that the Labor candidate for the 1998 election would be defecting Democrats leader Cheryl Kernot, who had announced her determination to win a marginal seat for Labor. At first it appeared that her bid had failed, prompting her to lash out on election night at an ALP network that had deprived her campaign of resources. She would in fact go on to win the seat by a margin of 276 votes, but her career as a Labor MP was limited to a single disastrous term, after which she was unseated by a 6.1% swing at the 2001 election.

The new Liberal member was Peter Dutton, owner of a Brisbane child care centre who had earlier worked for the National Crime Authority, the Queensland Police sex offender squad and the Department of Corrective Services. Dutton consolidated his hold on the seat with a 1.8% swing in 2004 and was subsequently admitted to the outer ministry as Workforce Participation Minister, going on to a minor promotion to Revenue Minister and Assistant Treasurer in January 2006. After surviving the heavy statewide swing to Labor at the 2007 election by a margin of 217 votes, Dutton was promoted to shadow cabinet in the finance, competition policy and deregulation portfolios, and then to health and ageing after he backed Malcolm Turbull’s successful leadership challenge against Brendan Nelson in September 2008.

Dutton’s career hit a speed bump when the redistribution ahead of the 2010 election saw Dickson exchange upper Brisbane River valley territory for suburban areas around Murrumba Downs, making it a notionally Labor seat at a time when few foresaw the problems that would engulf the government at the end of its term. Dutton believed he saw a lifeline in Margaret May’s retirement as member for the safe Gold Coast seat of McPherson, for which he nominated for preselection. However, well-organised locals had long had their eyes on the succession and were not of a mind to accommodate Dutton, being readily able to draw on the argument that he would serve his party better by fighting for his crucial marginal seat. Dutton unwisely sought to raise the stakes by declaring he would not fall back on Dickson if thwarted in McPherson, evidently hoping preselectors would baulk at the prospect of depriving the party of his services. Despite backing from Malcolm Turnbull and John Howard, this proved to be a miscalculation: the local preselection vote was won by local favourite Karen Andrews, with Dutton reportedly meeting opposition in the branches of the newly merged Liberal National Party from those who had formerly been with the Nationals.

After alternative options failed to emerge, Dutton went back on his word and ran again in Dickson. However, such was the statewide backlash against Labor after the dumping of Kevin Rudd that he went untroubled, his 5.9% swing being well in line with the state average and enough to secure him a margin of 5.1%. Dickson again closely matched the state trend in recording a further 1.8% swing to the LNP in 2013, putting Dutton’s present margin at 6.7%. Dutton meanwhile has maintained the health portfolio since September 2008, serving as Minister for Health and Minister for Sport since the election of the Abbott government in September 2013.

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  • 51
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    z,

    Could be a job for CSI Wangaratta!

  • 52
    zoomster
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    DM via twitter from Cathy McGowan, thanking me for a supportive letter in the local media…

  • 53
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    z,

    Just like the good old days when Sophie was the local member?

  • 54
    zoomster
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    GG

    ah, the laughs we had…

  • 55
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Simon Banks
    Who doubled the deficit? @JoeHockey did. Here's how: glennmurray.com.au/the-facebook-c… And here's how an LNP MP reacted when faced with the truth

  • 56
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    http://www.glennmurray.com.au/the-facebook-comment-liberal-didnt-want-you-to-see/

  • 57
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I noted recently Richard Marles twice reclaimed the no-visa/regional resettlement policy as the ALPs policy which has resulted in people smuggling operations to Australia being severely disrupted and the mass drownings cease.

    It is a significant policy success which the ALP should trumpet loudly and proudly.

    They should also trumpet loudly the horrifying mismanagement of the Manus facility by Minister Morrison and commit to a Royal Commission into OSB if elected.

  • 58
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    Interesting..

    Every Fourth of July, some Americans sit down to read the Declaration of Independence, reacquainting themselves with the nation’s founding charter exactly as it was signed by the Second Continental Congress in 1776.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/03/us/politics/a-period-is-questioned-in-the-declaration-of-independence.html?_r=0

  • 59
    sceptic
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Victoria
    Obvious Labor slogan….

    Liberal DD ( Double Deficit)

  • 60
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    sceptic

    Good one! Team Labor should get onto that meme

  • 61
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    CHRISTOPHER JOYE in the AFR

    The Coalition’s amateurish efforts to unwind Labor’s Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) laws have landed it in an awful political mess and bequeathed us a conflicted, contradictory and complex financial system. The new Senate will likely ensure the controversial regulations – which were introduced into Parliament on July 1 without a hint of a media release – will have a short half-life.

    http://www.afr.com/p/blogs/christopher_joye/fofa_backflips_land_us_with_contradictory_vLF8b8Pl2CHYciORQva6kK

  • 62
    zoomster
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Alas, morning has not brought council…

    Neighbour seems to think that the horses getting out in the past is absolute proof one was out last night.

    I’m quite willing to admit the horses have got out in the past.

    He’s quite willing to admit he was drunk.

    Apart from that, we have few points of agreement…

  • 63
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    zoomster

    The fact that he was drunk totally disqualifies him. He is at fault end of story!

  • 64
    zoidlord
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I repost this because of it being a good article:
    http://tasmaniantimes.com/index.php?/weblog/article/a-miracle-of-job-creation-its-genius/

  • 65
    lizzie
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    zoomster

    Let’s pretend neighbour did see a horse.
    Could it be someone else’s? Or a cow?

  • 66
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    zoidlord

    100,000 youth producing 40 applications per month means 4 million applications per month. The remaining 620,000 unemployed (20 applications per month) would deliver a further 12.4 million applications each month, giving a grand total of around 16 million applications per month.

    With those kinds of numbers each month, the private sector and government will urgently need more staff to process, sort and respond to those applications, as well as keep records in case of Centrelink checking on the individual unemployed. It’s a veritable miracle of job creation.

    Perhaps Labor could ask hockey in question time about this

  • 67
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    zoomster

    lizzie makes a valid point. The driver was drunk. Therefore anything he says cannot be verified based on his impaired judgment. Sorry to say but your neighbour is being totally ridiculous. He was drunk. End of story

  • 68
    zoomster
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    lizzie

    I don’t know what animals are on the property he was coming from – significantly, he did say this morning that the animal ran towards the car.

    That doesn’t make sense. Any horse out only runs towards home, which is exactly the opposite direction.

    Suggests the animal might actually have belonged to the property he was on.

    A deer is another possibility – it’s rare, but I have seen them on the road.

  • 69
    BK
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    vic
    Unfortunately there is now no way of proving he was drunk.

  • 70
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Words fail.

    A West Australian paediatrician has been found guilty of professional misconduct by recommending that a father beat his twin sons "to within an inch" of their lives.

    Consultant paediatrician David Evan Roberts was taken to the State Administrative Tribunal by the Medical Board over his treatment of the boys, whom he diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperative Disorder (ADHD) in 2008 when they were eight years old.

    A hearing at the tribunal was told that after a consultation in 2010, Dr Roberts gave the boys' mother a note that said: "I recommend to your husband, that he beat (physically) each and any of your our (sic) sons who swear and offend his wife (that is Mother) ... to within in (sic) an inch of his life."

    The Medical Board alleged the note had the potential to lead to the boys being subjected to corporal punishment, which could worsen their behaviour and contribute to the development of psychological or psychiatric problems.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-05/wa-paediatrician-told-dad-to-beat-adhd-twin-boys-guilty/5573746

  • 71
    zoidlord
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    @Victoria/65

    You’d think the senate would already query that, perhaps the members of various senate (GREENS/LABOR/PUP) on PB can question their local branch and hopefully it gets to the caucus.

  • 72
    WarrenPeace
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Just polled by Newspoll, usual questions about state Government (NSW) plus macadamia nuts.

  • 73
    lizzie
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I have just read this story of an interview with R Harris.
    http://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/society/2014/07/05/character-sketch-rolf-harris/1404482400#.U7dSaJSSwlk

    The impression I received is of someone with manic-depression (can’t remember the current label). This intense energy in public and the opposite at home (described by his daughter), added to his admission of a “dark side” makes me wonder why no one picked it up earlier.

    I feel sorry for his wife, who has lost her carer.

  • 74
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    BK

    There is also no way of proving that an animal came towards him.

    Speaking of which my friend’s BIL was killed last year hitting a cow on his neighbour’s cattlestation in the dead of night. He was called to assist with some type of emergency, and unfortunately did not see the cow in time

  • 75
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    In all likelihood he probably saw a kangaroo, but is claiming it was a horse in order to blame shift.

    They sound like ratbags.

  • 76
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    lizzie:

    Bi-polar disorder.

  • 77
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    lizzie

    I daresay that the family knew quite a bit about Rolf. These rumours had been swirling around for years and years. In fact, wife and daughter were estranged from him years ago

  • 78
    zoomster
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    zoid

    years ago, when the Howard government raised the number of job applications for job seekers, I did a calculation on how many extra staff would be needed to check on them.

    Needless to say, Centrelink was cutting staff, not hiring them, so it was clear that the higher target was just window dressing.

    I know of people who put down the same half a dozen or so places every time – never questioned.

    At one stage, I made it on to long term unemployment (just before they decided my hip was so bad that I genuinely couldn’t seek work) and, although I was interrogated about the kinds of jobs I was applying for (why all those teaching job applications? why wasn’t I applying to be a cleaner?) I never heard that any of the actual applications were chased up.

    (Incidentally, that was a very interesting period – one month the officer would tell me to do one thing e.g. don’t apply for so many teaching jobs — the next I’d be told another — ‘not enough teaching jobs..’ It was never the officer who disapproved of what I was doing, however – I was told ‘they’ wouldn’t accept it…)

  • 79
    lizzie
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Sigh.

    Between the fool Abbott, the aggressive Morrison and the disgraced Harris, we’re not enjoying a good international image at present.

    Our own annus horribilis?

  • 80
    billie
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Graeme Henchel submitted this comment to the Guardian

    Scott Morrison, the dog whistling master
    Is a crucial part of the Abbott disaster
    Exploiting the misery of refugees
    Once “illegal arrivals” now “transferees”
    Ever since Tampa they’ve played the race card
    Ensuring our history is for ever scarred
    Every time they go down in the polls
    Morrison assures the bigoted proles
    Their homes are safe from the terrorist horde
    Who throw their children overboard
    Scott Morrison, a devotee of Christ
    Allows human compassion to be sacrificed
    Scott Morrison, a diabolical demagogue
    Who has mastered the art of whistling the dog

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/04/yes-tony-abbott-has-stopped-the-boats-but-the-cost-is-catastrophic

  • 81
    zoomster
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    BK

    If he tries saying he wasn’t, he’ll need to come up with a convincing explanation for being at the (other) neighbour’s at 2 am in the morning.

  • 82
    zoidlord
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    @Zoomster/77

    Yup, pretty much the experience I had.

  • 83
    poroti
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    lizzie

    “Front page” of online BBC had two stories about Australia , one in the magazine section, Abbott “unsettled” comment and the racist rant story”.

  • 84
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    zoomster

    Your neighbour did not hit an animal. He hit an inanimate object. He cannot blame anyone for the accident

  • 85
    zoomster
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    zoid

    I ended up challenging this because it was so confusing — the regional supervisor rang me up, said I’d been doing the right thing all along, and in future to report any officer who said otherwise!

  • 86
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    billie

    The question is why are Australians still so open to hearing the dog whistle. :(

  • 87
    zoidlord
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/barry-ofarrell-intervened-in-wind-farm-process-at-maurice-newmans-request-20140704-zstrx.html

    This guy really is a religious anti renewable energy.

  • 88
    rummel
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I think a RC into immigration is a great idea to look at events from 07 onwards. How did we go from no one in detention to thousands of kids locked up and over a thousand deaths at sea.

  • 89
    zoidlord
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    @rummel/87

    That is another stupid comment.

  • 90
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    rummel

    Do you deliberately make stupid comments?

  • 91
    outside left
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Warren, what was your answer to Macadamias ?

  • 92
    rummel
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    88
    zoidlord
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:55 am | PERMALINK
    @rummel/87

    That is another stupid comment.

    Yes, I suppose the answer is self explanatory.

  • 93
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    “Front page” of online BBC had two stories about Australia , one in the magazine section, Abbott “unsettled” comment and the racist rant story”.

    In the space of such a short period of time Aust has gone from being the envy of the world to international ignoramus central, the butt of jokes elsewhere. It’s SO embarrassing!

  • 94
    zoidlord
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    @rummel/91

    Coalition Policy is about stopping the boats, it does not matter what happens after that.

    And we already have issues with Coalition Party policy.

  • 95
    victoria
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    rummel

    We know what happened between 2008 and sep 2013. It is from that date onwards that no one has a clue what has happened to asylum seekers

  • 96
    Roger Miller
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    A friend traveling in Africa posted “Traveling Americans feel sorry for traveling Austraians.”

  • 97
    guytaur
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    EDITORIAL
    Australia’s Refugee Problem
    By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
    JULY 4, 2014
    Australia is pursuing draconian measures to deter people without visas from entering the country by boat. In doing so, it is failing in its obligation under international accords to protect refugees fleeing persecution.

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/07/05/opinion/australias-refugee-problem.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytopinion&_r=4&referrer=

  • 98
    Just Me
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    In the space of such a short period of time Aust has gone from being the envy of the world to international ignoramus central, the butt of jokes elsewhere.

    Maybe Abbott’s real plan for stopping the boats is to make Oz such a nasty place in general, including for its own citizens, that nobody wants to come here.

  • 99
    confessions
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Roger Miller:

    Perhaps it’s all a cunning domestic tourism strategy: make Aussies feel too embarrassed to travel overseas so we’re forced to take our holidays at home.

  • 100
    guytaur
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    “@ABCNews24: Watch: The head of the Royal Commission into child sexual abuse, Justice Peter McClellan is speaking in Sydney http://t.co/TTkTJ5G5Ba”

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