The Poll Bludger
Margin: Liberal National 18.0%
Region: Central Gold Coast, Queensland
In a nutshell: Held by rising Liberal figure Steven Ciobo, the Gold Coast seat of Moncrieff has been safe for the conservatives since its creation in 1984.
Candidates in ballot paper order
Moncrieff covers the central Gold Coast from Miami north through Surfers Paradise to Nerang Head, and extends inland to Nerang and Highland Park. The seat was created with the expansion of parliament in 1984, prior to which the entirety of the Gold Coast had been accommodated by McPherson since 1949, and by Moreton beforehand. Moncrieff originally extended deep into rural territory at Beaudesert, before assuming its current coastal orientation with Beaudesert’s transfer to Forde in 1996. The area has had conservative representation without interruption since 1906, with McPherson passing from Country Party to Liberal Party control in 1972, and Moncrieff being in Liberal and more recently Liberal National Party hands since its creation. The current member, Steven Ciobo, assumed the seat at the 2001 election after the retirement of its inaugural member, Kathy Sullivan, who had previously been a Senator since 1974, and retains the distinction of being the federal parliament’s longest-serving female member.
Ciobo emerged through Liberal ranks as a member of the Right faction, associated with former ministers Santo Santoro and Warwick Parer and state party powerbroker Michael Caltabiano. He rose to the shadow ministry in the small business portfolio after the defeat of the Howard government, and his fortunes since have largely been tied to those of Malcolm Turnbull, whom he has consistently supported. When Turnbull became Liberal leader in September 2008 he won promotion to shadow cabinet, but he was demoted to the outer shadow ministry when Tony Abbott deposed him in December 2009, and relegated to the back bench after the August 2010 election. He returned to parliamentary secretary status after the September 2013 election victory, and has twice been promoted under Malcolm Turnbull: first to the outer ministry in the international development and the Pacific portfolio when Turnbull took over in September 2015, then to cabinet as Trade and Investment Minister in February 2016.
Analysis by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.