The Poll Bludger
Margin: Liberal National 14.4%
Region: Northern Gold Coast, Queensland
In a nutshell: The electorates of the Gold Coast have long been secure for the conservatives, Fadden having been held since 2007 by Stuart Robert.
Candidates in ballot paper order
Fadden covers the northern part of the Gold Coast municipality, from Gaven and Labrador in the south through Coomera, Pimpama and Ormeau to Logan River in the north, with the Pacific Motorway forming most of its western boundary. This area’s intensive population growth has caused the electorate to be progressively drawn into the Gold Coast since its creation in 1977, at which time it contained none of its present territory, instead covering outer southern Brisbane and the Gold Coast’s rural hinterland. The rearrangement caused by the expansion of parliament in 1984 drew the electorate into Brisbane, extending as far northwards as Salisbury and Rochedale, with the Logan River as its southern boundary. It first infringed upon the Gold Coast when it acquired Coomera at the 1996 election, and the migration was completed with the exchange of Redland Bay in the north for Southport in the south in 2004. The ongoing population explosion caused it to shed nearly 14,000 voters inland of its current boundary at the most recent redistribution before the 2010 election.
The only time the seat bearing the name of Fadden was won by Labor was with the election of the Hawke government in 1983, when David Beddall unseated Don Cameron, who moved from his existing seat of Griffith to the new electorate when it was created in 1977. Cameron returned to parliament a year later at a by-election caused by Jim Killen’s retirement in Moreton, making it the third seat he had represented. David Beddall jumped ship to Rankin at the 1984 election, when the redistribution made Fadden notionally Liberal. The seat was then won for the Liberals by David Jull, who had held Bowman from 1975 until his defeat in 1983. Jull’s margins were less than 5% until 1996, but generally well into double digits thereafter.
David Jull retired in 2007 and was succeeded by the current member, Stuart Robert, a former army intelligence officer. Robert was said to have played a role in “rounding up support” for Tony Abbott ahead of his challenge to Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership in December 2009, and was elevated afterwards to shadow parliamentary secretary in the defence portfolio. He was further promoted after the 2010 election to the outer shadow ministry portfolio of defence science, technology and personnel, which was rebadged as Assistant Defence Minister following the 2013 election victory. Robert’s leadership loyalties had reportedly reversed by the time of the September 2013 leadership spill, when he and most his Queensland colleagues backed Malcolm Turnbull. He assumed the roles of Veterans Affairs and Human Services Minister in the ensuing reshuffle, but resigned the following February as the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet investigated his conduct during a trip to China in August 2014, during which he attended the signing of a contract with a company chaired by a friend and Liberal Party donor.
Analysis by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.