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Federal Election 2016

Aug 16, 2014

Seat of the week: Groom

Located in the Darling Downs and dominated by Toowoomba, the seat of Groom has provided a secure electoral base for Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane through a parliamentary career going back to 1998.

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Located in the Darling Downs region of Queensland, Groom is dominated by the city of Toowoomba about 100 kilometres west of Brisbane, which accounts for slightly less than 80% of its population. Toowoomba is near the electorate’s eastern boundary, from which it extends westwards to Jondaryan and Pittsworth and northwards to Goombungee, along with sparsely populared rural areas further afield. The electorate was created with the expansion of parliament in 1984 as the successor to Darling Downs, which had existed since federation. Neither Darling Downs nor Groom has ever been held by Labor.

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.

Darling Downs was held by the major conservative movement of the time from 1901 until 1936, when Arthur Fadden gained it for the Country Party at a by-election held after the death of United Australia Party member Sir Littleton Groom, who gives the modern electorate its name. When parliament expanded in 1949, Fadden moved to the new seat of McPherson, and an agreement between the coalition parties reserved Darling Downs for the Liberals. It was accordingly won with little difficulty by Liberal candidate Reginald Swartz, who retained it until his retirement in 1972. A three-cornered contest ensued at the 1972 election, in which Country Party candidate Tom McVeigh secured a comfortable victory after outpolling the Liberal candidate by 32.3% to 22.5%. McVeigh carried on as member for Groom after 1984 and retired in February 1988, leading to another three-cornered contest at the ensuing by-election. This time the seat fell to the Liberals, whose candidate Bill Taylor outpolled the Nationals candidate by 33.3% to 28.8%. With Taylor’s retirement in 1998 the seat was bequeathed to its current member, Ian Macfarlane, who polled 33.1% on debut against 18.0% for One Nation and 15.2% for the Nationals. The Nationals again fielded a candidate against Macfarlane in 2001, but gave him little trouble.

Recognisable for a distinctive voice resulting from damage sustained to his larynx following a cancer operation in 2004, Macfarlane served as a minister in the Howard government from January 2001, first in the junior portfolio of small business, then attaining cabinet rank as Industry, Tourism and Resources Minister after the October 2001 election. He attained further seniority in opposition, holding the trade portfolio under Brendan Nelson and energy and resources under Malcolm Turnbull. When Tony Abbott became leader in December 2009 he was moved to infrastructure to make way for Nick Minchin, but he recovered energy and resources when Minchin retired from the front-bench the following March. With the election of the Abbott government he was allocated to an expanded industry portfolio that incorporated responsibility for mining and science, the lack of a dedicated portfolio for the latter inspiring some controversy.

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, is one of the most heavily trafficked forums for online discussion of Australian politics, and joined the Crikey stable in 2008.

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1381 comments

1,381 thoughts on “Seat of the week: Groom

  1. fran

    [However, being rendered to the US is not an apt sanction.]

    An no one is proposing he be thus rendered – Assange keeps saying that this will happen, but there’s no evidence to support this.

    It’s a bit like believing someone who tells you there’s a monster in the wardrobe. There may be, but it’s highly unlikely, and no sensible person would act on the presumption there was.

  2. I have no idea why
    3) the Swedes should give a guarantee
    Contradicts
    4) the Swedes should come to London.
    Both are impossible under Swedish law and therefore entirely consistent

  3. z,

    Monsters in the wardrobe, fairies at the bottom of the garden and Greens being a political alternative are all myths perpetuated by our Green brethren.

  4. [ Mr Truss comes across as being quite empathetic, which would be a killer in the Liberal Party, ]

    Quite possible, but he still comes across as an idiot who cant think on his feet.

    Also, regardless of policy or the effect on their constituents or their professed beliefs, or that they may in fact be decent people, the Nats ALWAYS bend over for the Libs and ask for another. They are useless at a federal level.

  5. Zoomster

    [And no one is proposing he be thus rendered – Assange keeps saying that this will happen, but there’s no evidence to support this.]

    Nor can there be, until it occurs. It’s a simple enough thing. Sweden declares in advance that it won’t extradite him to the US or any state not offering the same guarantee. Effectively, they give him asylum.

  6. Whoa!!! Just saw Abbott on the teev during a radio interview. FFS, what has he done to his head??? I can see where the Adolph references come from now.

    LoL! He is having a serious bad hair day.

  7. The Swedes would need the consent of the home secretary to extradite Assange to the US and I am sure such a decision is appealable in the English legal system.

    Illegal rendition seems unlike in such a high profile case.
    I have difficulty envisioning the world standing by as Assange goes to sleep in a cell in Malmo and waking 36 hours later standing on a bucket, wearing a hood and having electrodes on his genitalia in Guantanamo Bay

  8. This is something I would never ever even want to do, but you can see why some would.

    The Australian guy who died yesterday was trying a jump at Brevent. It’s the one in the film where they fly about three feet above the glacier trail…

    It’s good video, but with a somewhat sobering message at the end credits. You will not believe what some of these people do. No wonder so many are killed doing it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnvvsjstveM

  9. imacca… yeah and it was 50 shades of lighter brown too.

    The other day in the rain it was jet black.

    His hair is like a weather vane.

  10. My apologies OC … I should have said 2 & 3

    [One can add that there is no evidence whatsoever that the United Kingdom would not swiftly comply with any extradition request from the United States. In reality, the best opportunity for the United States for Assange to be extradited is whilst he is in the United Kingdom.]

    Three: “Sweden should guarantee that there be no extradition to USA”
    It would not be legally possible for Swedish government to give any guarantee about a future extradition, and nor would it have any binding effect on the Swedish legal system in the event of a future extradition request.

    [Also Sweden (like the United Kingdom) is bound by EU and ECHR law not to extradite in circumstances where there is any risk of the death penalty or torture. There would be no extradition to the United States in such circumstances.]

  11. Not possible under Swedish law (or that of any other Western state) and Assange knows it

    : “Sweden should guarantee that there be no extradition to USA”
    It would not be legally possible for Swedish government to give any guarantee about a future extradition, and nor would it have any binding effect on the Swedish legal system in the event of a future extradition request.

    By asking for this ‘guarantee’, Assange is asking the impossible, as he probably knows. Under international law, all extradition requests have to be dealt with on their merits and in accordance with the applicable law; and any final word on an extradition would (quite properly) be with an independent Swedish court, and not the government giving the purported ‘guarantee’.

    (See extradition and criminal lawyer Niall McCluskey for further detail on this.)

    Also Sweden (like the United Kingdom) is bound by EU and ECHR law not to extradite in circumstances where there is any risk of the death penalty or torture. There would be no extradition to the United States in such circumstances.

  12. fran

    right – and then there’d be a chorus of claims from people like yourself that these guarantees can’t be trusted and once Assange puts foot on Swedish soil all deals are off.

    He’s got as good a guarantee as one can get – that he can’t be extradited from Sweden without the approval of the UK. If the UK was willing to let him be extradited to the US, and (further) the US actually wanted him, then the US would have already put in a request to have him extradited.

    He hasn’t even been charged with anything yet, ffs. For all we know at present, he rocks up to Sweden, has his say, and they respond by dropping the charges.

    The amount of tin foil hattery that surrounds Assange and his doings, by otherwise rational people, at least helps one understand why Nigeria does so well out of email scams.

  13. caf

    caf@1274

    PTMD:


    One has to have a certain, um, level of critical thinking to follow Association Football.


    These fellows certainly appear to be engaging in some robust critical thinking:

    http://exclusivesportsmedia.tv/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Hooligan.jpg

    You have no idea what it takes to plan a good ‘rumble’. Take one in the Netherlands, where

    Dutch authorities are hot on stopping football violence. The Ajax and the Feyenoord supporters (fierce rivals) decided to have it out. The men, a lot from middle-class and professional backgrounds, picked a field to meet, loaded up their cars with lengths of wood etc, and used mobile phones to elude the police.

    They phoned each other with meeting time and place, got decoys to set out and lead the police astray, and had look outs. The men met at the field, climbed through the fence, and promptly beat the crap out of each other.

    Then they went home, or to hospital, or the pub.

    That takes a lot of planning. :ll:

  14. OC

    [Illegal rendition seems unlikely in such a high profile case. I have difficulty envisioning the world standing by as Assange goes to sleep in a cell in Malmo and waking 36 hours later standing on a bucket, wearing a hood and having electrodes on his genitalia in Guantanamo Bay]

    Of course, you’re not the one in the crosshairs so what you doubt isn’t as impressive as what Assange is entitled to contemplate. The subsequent conduct of the US in relation to Snowden is something of a guide.

  15. Greetings from Yorkshire. Struck by the British coverage of the container load of 35 Sikh illegal migrants that arrived here over the weekend. Focus was on their health and welfare, arranging for members of the Sikh British community to visit them, toys for the kids etc. they were depicted as victims of people smugglers who deserved care and protection.

    The contrast with the treatment of same in Oz was stark.

  16. [The Swedes would need the consent of the home secretary to extradite Assange to the US and I am sure such a decision is appealable in the English legal system.]

    This seems like the crux of the matter. Would the Home Secretary be bound to apply the same tests that would apply in an extradition from the UK itself, or would it be a matter of prorogative?

  17. And perhaps Assange is using his fancy as a way of avoiding some serious and arguable charges.

    He has certainly recruited some useful idiots to his cause

  18. Zoomster

    [right – and then there’d be a chorus of claims from people like yourself that these guarantees can’t be trusted and once Assange puts foot on Swedish soil all deals are off.]

    Why would we say that? Once he’s in Sweden we get to find out whether they honour the deal. As things stand though, there is no deal, so if he does get to Sweden, regardless of the proceedings, I expect he will be extradited to the US sooner rather than later. I suppose he could try for asylum.

    [He’s got as good a guarantee as one can get – that he can’t be extradited from Sweden without the approval of the UK. If the UK was willing to let him be extradited to the US, and (further) the US actually wanted him, then the US would have already put in a request to have him extradited.]

    Why would they? What would be the rush? Better to keep the powder dry.

    [The amount of tin foil hattery that surrounds Assange and his doings, by otherwise rational people, at least helps one understand why Nigeria does so well out of email scams.]

    Just the other day you were asserting decorum, and now you’re claiming I wear a tin foil hat?

    I oppose torture and the death penalty as you know. I oppose these even for the worst category of criminal. I have no opinion as to whether Assange is guilty of wrongdoing in Sweden. Maybe he is. He should not be sent to the US however because if he is then he is in practice likely to be treated much as Chelsea Manning is treated, and that would be wrong.

    It would be good to know that such concerns were without foundation, but as things stand, I can’t be confident of that.

  19. I think Julian Assange is a narcissist and megalomaniac in general and most probably a creep (at the very least) in his dealings with female fans. If he did commit sex offences in Sweden, he should be punished for that. What I don’t agree with is Sweden’s insistence that they cannot send people to question Assange in the UK. Sure, I get that they don’t want to set a precedent of having to follow a person of interest in an investigation all around the world – ‘they are not a travel service’ etc. But couldn’t they have made an exception in this highly unusual case? It isn’t every accused sex offender who is wanted dead or imprisoned by the world’s most powerful intelligence agencies. It seems bloody-minded of them to not send someone over to the UK to ask the questions they want to ask.

    Assange is rightly paranoid. He has enraged a lot of extremely powerful people who don’t have qualms about using torture and extra-judicial killing to achieve their ends. Sweden does have form in ingratiating itself with the United States in the ‘war on terror’. If Sweden really does care about providing justice to the complainants in the sex offence allegations, it should take the special circumstances into account and just get the questioning done in the UK. Then, if charges are justified, bring charges against him and request extradition on that basis.

  20. RE Sweden
    ________
    It currently has a very right-wing govt which has a PM whom I understand as a young man actively campaigned for support for the US in Vietnam,and has supported many US invasions and wars.e.g Iraq….in the years since(the same could be said of of John Howard of course)

    that PM would be a .likely ally of the CIA ,given his lifelong support for US imperialism
    The rape charges against Assenge were always suspect..such charges always being easy to make .. as Assenge’s supporters in the UK,including Geoffrey Robertson,always asserted

  21. Assenge and Snowden
    __________
    The world owes these two men a great deal as they have shown the way the CIA uses politicians in a host of countries who are putty in their hands

    In Australia the prime example was the sudden departure from political life(where did he go ???) of Senator Arbid, a senior minister in the Gillard Govt,and according to Wikileaks a major supplier of info to the US Embassy

    I don’t doubt there are many such in the present regime as well as some in the ALP right too who so the same

    The CIA would find plenty of useful idiots there

  22. Re events in Ferguson,Missouri
    ____________________

    Recently in the USA,I was aware and read a deal about, the growing cries against the “militarisation”of the police forces… due to the immense generosity of the Pentagon
    ..which over recent recent years has given out millions of dollars worth of “surplus” military equipment ,including arms and armoured cars and a host of other military equipment to the various state-National Guards

    The founders of the US constition from the outset ,set about NOT allowing the Federal Govt to use the army in the USA,so each state has always a volunteer National Guard….for emergencies…..and not allowing for federal action
    Now the National Guard is increasingly militarised,and views the major minority groups, blacks.,hispanics and the growing army of the poor,as the enemy of the state

    The events in Ferguson may be a foretaste of the dark future
    I know Chicago well,and like Baltimore or LA the “black” surburbs are rather like the old Apartheid South Africa…all such suburbs are wholly black and a “ghetto” for the poor/black masses, and like a piece of the 3rd world ..se the start of Tom Wolfe’s famous novel.”.Bonfire of the Vanities” to get the picture
    I recently remarked to my wife while there… that there wasn’t a single black family to be seen in the very upmarket suburb where my son lives

    I suspect that the events in Ferguson ,Missouri .. might be a spark for a major crisis like that after Martin Luther King’s killing ..in many major US cities in the coming days

  23. interesting stats on Cops with Cameras (USA Style):

    http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/what-happens-when-police-officers-wear-body-cameras-1408320244?mobile=y

    “So it is in Rialto, Calif., where an entire police force is wearing so-called body-mounted cameras, no bigger than pagers, that record everything that transpires between officers and citizens. In the first year after the cameras’ introduction, the use of force by officers declined 60%, and citizen complaints against police fell 88%.”

  24. [Assange, 43, added that it had been four years since he was first detained and that being confined for the last two has had great impact on his health.]

    Self inflicted wounds.

    Poor Julian. By his account the most unique person who has ever lived.

  25. [RE Sweden
    ________
    It currently has a very right-wing govt]

    No wnder their actiona have so much support from some of the clowns on this site.

  26. The general dislike of Assange on this site by various right wingers probably eminates from their intrinsic admiration of authority, and the fact that Asssange has built a career on subverting that authority.
    The fact that he is probably a wanker is beside the point.

  27. Here is something substantively good. It fixes up a mess of the Abbott Government’s own making, but any sign of adults at work in this space is very welcome, IMHO. The text is by Sheridan in today’s The Australian. Remarkably, the article is absolutely ‘flat’ and it compltely lacks the usual hagiographic bullshit that accompanies a Sheridan article involving the use of the term ‘Abbott’.

    Perhaps Sheridan is relieved at, for once, not having to polish the unpolishable.

    This would have to be the indefatiguable Bishop’s finest moment.

    ‘…

    The Canberra-Jakarta agreement will settle all issues arising over allegations that the then ­Defence Signals Directorate spied on Indonesia’s President and his inner entourage in 2009.

    It will also lead to the resumption of co-operation in those policy areas where such efforts had been suspended by Jakarta.

    The agreement will be called the Joint Understanding of a Code of Conduct.

    It will stand formally as an annex to the Lombok Treaty on mutual security, which Alexander Downer signed on behalf of the Howard government with then Indonesian foreign minister Hassan Wirajuda in 2006.

    Canberra had wanted to call the agreement a joint understanding in order to keep it relatively vague. Jakarta had wanted a code of conduct to be more specific and prescriptive. The compromise is a Joint Understanding of a Code of Conduct.

    In the short agreement, Australia will promise never to use its intelligence agencies to harm Indonesia.

    …’