The Poll Bludger
Margin: Liberal National 11.8%
Region: South-Eastern Regional, Queensland
In a nutshell: The newest seat on the block in Queensland, Wright was created at the 2010 election to accommodate rural conservative territory inland of the Gold Coast.
Candidates in ballot paper order
MARK M STONE
Wright was created at the 2010 election as the latest new seat to accommodate Queensland’s ongoing population boom, taking on territory from the Gold Coast electorates of McPherson, Moncrieff and Fadden, plus rural areas out to the New South Wales border that had mostly been in Forde. The Gold Coast area had historically been covered by Moreton and later by McPherson and Moncrieff, which were respectively created with the enlargements of parliament in 1949 and 1984, while the north-western areas were covered by Darling Downs and its successor Groom after 1984.
The electorate is lacking a clear centre, combining the inland edge of the Gold Coast and Brisbane’s southern hinterland, Warrego Highway towns to the east of Toowoomba, and rural territory in between. All of its component areas have traditionally been solid for the conservatives, but double-digit swings in Forde and Blair at the 2007 election gave the seat a relatively modest notional Liberal/Nationals margin of 4.8% going into the 2010 election. This has since been boosted by successive swings of 6.4% and 1.7% at the 2010 and 2013 elections.
Wright has been held since its inception by Scott Buchholz, who had previously been chief-of-staff to Barnaby Joyce. Although his background was with the Nationals, the seat had been reserved for the Liberals under the terms of Liberal National Party merger, and he sits in the Liberal party room in Canberra. The LNP’s original choice for the seat had been Hajnal Ban, a Logan City councillor who ran for the Nationals in for Forde at the 2007 election. However, Ban was dumped for failing to disclose Civil and Administrative Tribunal action against her over her use of power-of-attorney over the finances of an elderly former council colleague, for which a conviction was recorded against her in 2012. An unsuccessful contender at both preselections was Cameron Thompson, who held Blair for the Liberals from 1998 until his defeat in 2007.
Buchholz attained the position of government whip after the September 2013 election victory, but was dumped by Malcolm Turnbull after the September 2015 leadership challenge, in which he had performed the whip’s function of marshalling support for the leader with due enthusiasm. He had also been under fire for his unsympathetic dealing with Liberal MP Kelly O’Dwyer over breastfeeding.
Analysis by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.