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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.

  • 101
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 7:48 am | PERMALINK
    THE head of the Australasian Railway Association has confidently predicted overseas investment is ready and waiting to build a $114 billion high-speed rail system with a stop in Albury-Wodonga.

    It’s almost certainly the Chinese. They originally used foreign technology to create their high speed rail network, which is still expanding rapidly. They now have a massive rail construction industry and are looking for export markets across the globe. For example they are trying to become involved in the California high speed rail project and have (somewhat cheekily) proposed a 13,000km line from China to the US including a tunnel under the Bering Strait.

    Of course, apart from the technical feasibility, the financial feasibility is questionable as well as environmental concerns and so on.

  • 102
    Rex Douglas
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The Coalition-Green cartel arrangement in the previous parliament to vote against a proposed deterrent to people smuggling/mass drowning of asylum seekers for political purposes doesn’t need a Royal Commission.

    It was clear for all to see.

  • 103
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm | Permalink


    Hyperbole. There was no Coalition Green Cartel. There was the Greens voting for their policy. There was the LNP voting against their policy for political reasons.

  • 104
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    The story on BOF and Maurice Newman links to a long profile on Newman

    It seems he crawled his way to the top largely by being nice to people, and now he has threatened to sue the pants of his neighbours over wind farms.

    Oh, and it also mentions his comb over.

  • 105
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Actually, couldn’t the Greens just not vote?

  • 106
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    outside left 90
    I answered that they originated in Australia
    They were grown commercialy in tropical areas, I regularly ate them as a snack and rarely used them in cooking

  • 107
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Wake Up Call for New Zealanders, outgoing Australian Disability Commissioner, Graeme Innes:

    Right wing governments do nothing but attack Disabled and help the companies to discriminate the workplace.

  • 108
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Insiders tomorrow

    On #insiders this week: @ToryShepherd @markgkenny & David Marr. @frankellyabc talks to @SenatorAbetz. @mpbowers talks pics w @Nick_Xenophon

  • 109
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Did Morrison really say this?


  • 110
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    If Coalition Party goverment is backing Web Data Storage law, and now Russia is, then we have a very serious problem:

    “The Kremlin says the move is for data protection but critics fear it is aimed at muzzling social networks like Twitter and Facebook.”

  • 111
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 1:39 pm | Permalink




  • 112
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 1:41 pm | Permalink


    That is disgraceful!

    Politicians are supposed to work for the benefit of their electorates not the other way around.

    This whole thing about asylum seekers is disgusting.

    As I said to his electorate officer when I called the other day he describes himself as a Christian and there is nothing Christian about the way he acts.

    He should hang his head in shame.

  • 113
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink


    Last time i checked, i thought we lived in a democracy. Morrison must think otherwise

  • 114
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 1:48 pm | Permalink


    Morrison is beyond belief.

    And according to something I have read very recently, can’t remember where, he is stepping up the pace in positioning himself for the leadership.

    Morrison PM? That would make the incumbent look like a genius.

  • 115
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 1:49 pm | Permalink


    Yes! Open and transparent appear to have been deleted by this Government.

    Last time I looked we live in a democracy not a closed shop.

  • 116
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    You could be mistaken for believing that Morrison’s latest utterances were part of a monty python sketch

  • 117
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 1:53 pm | Permalink


    Lord help us if that is the case. He should just go back to his happy clappy church in the “Shire” and apply again for his former job at Tourism Australia.

    He would surely know about boats in his former position and let us all get on with being decent people again.

  • 118
    Greensborough Growler
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink


    You play your role as PB’s resident bigot very well as you happily spew your hate filled invective once again to any that are unfortunate enough to be reading.

  • 119
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    George Brandis’s creeping spy powers:

    I think this goverment is delusional.

  • 120
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Families loose $3500 a year:

  • 121
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink


    What charm school did you go to?

    My father always said to me, “Nobody likes a smartarse.”

  • 122
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:13 pm | Permalink


    Bigotry about what? Christian happy clappers who have no christian values at all.

    You already know I and all of my family are Catholic just like you but we are very different.

    I admire compassion of which you have none and abhor the treatment of people that Morrison and Abbott are allowing to happen.

    I will no longer respond to any of your absolutely moronic comments and would appreciate that you no longer reply to yours.

  • 123
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink



  • 124
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Scott Morrison as Prime Minister is on a par with General Pinochet as President of Chile

  • 125
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Top War Criminal to advise Egyptian Dictato
    Tony Blair…yes you guessed it…is to be an advisor to the murderous dictator Sisi in Cairo
    Sisi regime has murdered many on the streets and jailed thousands and deposed…a democratically elected govt…but that’s no worry for Blair
    read below about his disgraceful conduct


  • 126
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink


    @frankellyabc talks to @SenatorAbetz.

    How exciting …

    Another ‘Insiders’ I’ll record and only watch bits of if comments here or X-footpath mark something as interesting.

  • 127
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Peter Brent @mumbletwits · 2h
    No punishment for people who turn a blind eye to Harris, Savile, Hughes etc coz they make a living from them = no incentive to report ’em.

    How very true.

  • 128
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Retweeted by sortius
    Port Stephens Pearl ‏@PtStephensPearl May 15

    No, Mr Truss. I “blew” mine on a mobility scooter, a cabinet of Dry Sherry & a hot water bottle. Any issues? #auspol

  • 129
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink


    and apply again for his former job at Tourism Australia.

    When he left one of the parting ‘gifts’ that he received was sent anomalously – a Laser Hair Re-Growth kit.


  • 130
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the next time Morrison holds one of his non-press conferences, the journalists could remind him of one of the highlights of his time at Tourism Australia by asking of the asylum seekers: where the bloody hell are they?

  • 131
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

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

    12 May 2014: http://theconversation.com/what-underlies-public-prejudice-towards-asylum-seekers-23974

    According to a poll taken last December, 60% of those surveyed think the Australian government should “increase the severity of the treatment of asylum seekers”. What’s behind this negative sentiment (otherwise known as prejudice) towards asylum seekers in Australian society?”

  • 132
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Sacre Beaujolais !!!!

    The French workplace just got sober

    Until this week, enshrined in the country’s labor laws was the stipulation that “employers could not ban beer, cider and wine from workplace canteens and social drinks in offices,”

    The country’s sober department of labor ruled that workers’ rights do not include the right to have a glass of wine with lunch and, France 24 reports, “employers may henceforth forbid their staff from drinking wine and cider in the workplace.”


  • 133
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Open and transparent appear to have been deleted by this Government.

    The situation has deteriorated markedly under the Abbott government but it continues the trend of secrecy and lack of transparency that occurred under the previous Labor government.

    15 October 2012:

    A ban on interviews with asylum seekers in detention makes it very difficult for journalists to tell the stories of individual asylum seekers, with media representatives that visit detention centres forced to submit all footage, photographs and recordings for review.

    Earlier this year the Australian Press Council wrote to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC), requesting an exception to the complete prohibition on interviews if the detainee has given informed consent.

  • 134
    Asha Leu
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    You know, I’m stunned that there are people here who dislike the Catholic church, what with the ever friendly and likable Greensborough Growler acting as their PB representative.

  • 135
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 2:59 pm | Permalink


    New bank notes coming next year


    The contents of what’s under the mattress will all have to be banked.

    The Revenue people and Banks will have a field day.

  • 136
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Australia in row over boats carrying Tamil asylum seekers

    Australia is refusing to comment on the fate of more than 200 Tamil asylum seekers reportedly intercepted at sea to the north-west of the country.

    It is believed two boats carrying the asylum seekers were stopped by Australian authorities in the Indian Ocean and that some passengers were handed over to the Sri Lankan navy.

    Refugee campaigners say it is a violation of international law.

    They say at least 11 of those on board had been tortured in Sri Lanka

    MORE : http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28173516

  • 137
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink


    RE: Filling out jobs applied for form for Centrelink.

    After I was retrenched from my last full time job back in 2009, I registered at Centrelink and applied for Newstart, as you do.

    I was required to “apply” for 10 jobs a fortnight (1 job per week day), list those down on a form and then take it with me to my next appointment at Centrelink.

    The day before that appointment, I went to the Seek website and scrolled through all the jobs listed Australia wide on that day.

    I listed down all the jobs I was qualified, or had some experience at doing, as well as some of the “no experience required” jobs as well. Some of these jobs were all over Australia (I was living in Sydney at the time).

    Some of them I listed down (in the form of contact column) as being on the Seek website, some via the company(s) website, some by phone, and some by snail mail.

    I used different pens for the listings, i.e. a black ball point for one week’s worth of jobs, a blue ball point for the next week, a black felt tip for the next week, then back to the black ball point and start the cycle again.

    I was taking a gamble on the Centrelink staff not having enough time to actually check up on any of the listings.

    Anyway, at my appointment I handed the woman the form, she looked at it to confirm that I was applying for a variety of jobs, via a variety of contact methods. After a quick look at the form, she stamped it as having been sighted, and gave it back to me.

    Oh, and do I need to mention that I didn’t actually apply for any of those jobs.

    I wasn’t “bludging” however, I was using my time on Newstart to gain the skills and knowledge that would eventually lead to my self-employment.

    So, Newstart actually served its intended purpose with me, in that it gave me a hand up until I was able to stand on my own two feet.

    Mission accomplished. :wink:

  • 138
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Some interesting thoughts on neoliberalism: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-04/dunlop-the-right-hates-the-society-it-has-created/5568928

    Neoliberalism is fundamentally elitist.

  • 139
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:11 pm | Permalink


    When he left one of the parting ‘gifts’ that he received was sent anomalously – a Laser Hair Re-Growth kit.

    Love it! Doesn’t look like it worked though :evil:

  • 140
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink


    Well, I am assuming that Centerlink will never have the resources to actually check.

    In my case, I actually applied for all the jobs, even where it was actually impossible for actually doing work (due to my disabilities, where at the time, Centerlink didn’t give Disability Pension.

    Retweeted by sortius
    The Daily Rupert ‏@TheMurdochTimes 13h

    Wow. Murdoch’s free Australian commuter paper MX begs public to ‘Just Trust PM Tony Abbott’ #auspol

  • 141
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:20 pm | Permalink


    ‘Just Trust PM Tony Abbott’


  • 142
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    zoid, ctar1

    “Just Trust PM Tony Abbott”

    That’ll work.

  • 143
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    “Just Trust PM Tony Abbott”

    To do what ? Lie ?

  • 144
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    The mere fact that a Murdoch publication would exhort readers to “trust Abbott” is a measure of just how bad he is going.

    “Trust me” is the last plea of the desperate, usually uttered after all trust has evaporated.

  • 145
    Just Me
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    “Trust me” is the last plea of the desperate, usually uttered after all trust has evaporated.

    I recall Howard using some version of that plea in the 2007 election campaign.

  • 146
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    And why would anyone trust Abbott, thug, bully, incompetent and pathological liar, who hid his true agenda before the election and is now trying to slip it in under cover of a fake ‘budget emergency’, to have theirs’ or Australia’s interests at heart. Block him at every turn to minimise the damage he and his clowns can do to the country until we can get rid of the lot of them.

  • 147
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    ‘Just Trust PM Tony Abbott’

    What to wreck the joint?

  • 148
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    @Just Me/145



    What was funny was that Howard claimed Labor would cause a recession:

    “Mr Howard is painting the Government as responsible and moderate on climate change. He claims Labor could cause a recession by an aggressive policy.”

    While he was correct on the recession front, it wasn’t Labor that did it, Labor protected Australia.

    It was America with their crap regulation.

  • 149
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Abbott has to negotiate to get his despicable budget measures through the new Senate.

    Illegitimate government :mad:

    C’mon Malcolm challenge :(

  • 150
    Posted Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    If we have such a budget emergency, why not leave the current carbon price which very soon converts to an ETS anyway.

    Rotten Monkey, he’s all crap!