Queensland election 2015

Condamine

Margin: Liberal National 20.1% versus KAP
Region: Darling Downs
Federal: Groom/Maranoa
Outgoing member: Ray Hopper (Katter’s Australian Party)

Candidates in ballot paper order

condamine-lnp

condamine-kap

BRENDON HUYBREGTS
Labor

ALEXANDRA TODD
Family First

SHANE WHITE
Independent

PAMELA FAY WEEKES
Greens

BEN HOPPER
Katter’s Australian Party (bottom)

PAT WEIR
Liberal National (top)

ELECTORATE MAP

2012 ELECTION RESULTS

DEMOGRAPHICS

Electorate boundary outline courtesy of
Ben Raue of The Tally Room.

The Darling Downs seat of Condamine is one of three represented by Katter’s Australian Party, the member in this case being Ray Hopper, who assumed the party’s parliamentary leadership after defecting from the Liberal National Party in November 2012. However, Hopper will be contesting the seat of Nanango at the coming election, and Condamine will be contested for the party by his 22-year-old son, Ben Hopper, who works for a construction company in Toowoomba.

The electorate extends from the western outskirts of Toowoomba to Dalby 80 kilometres to the north-west, and to Pittsworth and Clifton 40 kilometres to the south. It was created at the 2009 election in large part as the successor to the electorate of Darling Downs, taking 17,000 voters from its northern half and most of the remaining 14,000 from abolished Cunningham. Darling Downs had been held by Hopper since the 2001 election, firstly as an independent and the for the National Party, which he joined later in the year.

Redistribution combined with the Liberal National Party merger caused Hopper to face a challenge at the 2009 election from former party colleague Stuart Copeland, who had been left stranded by a merger arrangement that sought to preserve sitting members, but deemed his own electorate of Cunningham to have been abolished. Copeland originally hoped to contest Toowoomba South, but its incumbent Mike Horan refused to make way for him despite being near the end of his career, and Copeland having been named by Lawrence Springborg as a potential future leader. He went on to record 25.4% as an independent in Condamine, but this was well short of what was needed to trouble Hopper, who polled 47.7%.

Hopper served in the shadow ministry from 2006 until March 2011, when he was dropped amid reports he had opposed Campbell Newman’s move on the leadership and possibly faced a preselection challenge from a candidate backed by party headquarters. After dismissing pre-election suggestions that he planned to jump ship to the KAP, Hopper went on to do just that in November 2012. His list of complaints included the marginalisation of old Nationals identities by an “arrogant” party leadership, the prospect of coal seam gas exploration on farming land, and public service sackings. This met with an aggressive response from the LNP, with Campbell Newman saying the government would treat the candidate the party would ultimately preselect as the electorate’s legitimate representative.

That candidate finally emerged in February 2014 in the shape of Pat Weir, a cattle and grain farmer who won preselection ahead of Western Downs Regional councillor Ray Brown, Toowoomba deputy mayor Mike Williams and sports administrator Phoebe Mitchell.

Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.

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