Queensland election 2015

Gympie

Margin: Liberal National 17.3% versus KAP
Region: Regional City
Federal: Wide Bay
Outgoing member: David Gibson (Liberal National)

Candidates in ballot paper order

gympie-lnp

gympie-alp

STEPHEN MEREDITH
Labor (bottom)

SHENA MACDONALD
Greens

MITCHELL FROST
Palmer United Party

SHANE PAULGER
Katter’s Australian Party

TONY PERRETT
Liberal National (top)

ELECTORATE MAP

2012 ELECTION RESULTS

DEMOGRAPHICS

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

To be vacated by the retirement of Liberal National Party member David Gibson after a troubled final term, the electorate of Gympie covers the town itself and surrounding areas to the east and south, also extending across Toolara State Forest to distant coastal Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach. A seat bearing the name has existed since 1873, barring an interruption from 1950 to 1960. The cataclysmic Labor split having unfolded in the interim, a seat that had traditionally been safe for Labor was won by the National/Country Party when it was recreated in 1960, and became progressively safer for it over time.

The area’s notable level of gun ownership made it a natural target for One Nation in 1998, but Labor preferences and a determined Nationals campaign held off a formidable 39.2% primary vote for its candidate Ian Petersen. The next election in 2001 saw Elisa Roberts succeed for One Nation where Petersen had failed at the party’s high-water mark, assisted in no small part by the retirement of veteran Nationals member Len Stephan. The One Nation primary vote in fact tumbled to 25.7%, but because the Labor landslide reduced the Nationals to third place, their preferences decided the issue in Roberts’ favour.

Roberts parted company with what remained of One Nation in April 2002 and retained the seat at the 2004 election as an independent, increasing her primary vote to 33.4% and prevailing over Labor by 10.0% after preferences. After a particularly erratic second term, Roberts proved chronically indecisive as to whether she wished to seek re-election in 2006, and a final attempt to withdraw a week out from polling day came too late for her to be removed from the ballot paper. The seat then returned to the Nationals with David Gibson polling 46.0% of the primary vote, translating into a margin over Labor of 18.2% at the final count.

A former army officer and general manager of the Gympie Times, Gibson won promotion to the shadow ministry when Lawrence Springborg took over as Nationals leader from Jeff Seeney in January 2008. He was dumped in September 2010 after describing then leader John-Paul Langbroek as “unpredictable”, but returned when Campbell Newman became the extra-parliamentary leader in April 2011 and assumed the important position of Police and Community Safety Minister after the March 2012 election victory.

Gibson’s tenure in cabinet lasted for all of two weeks, before he was sacked for driving while his licence was suspended on account of unpaid fines. In April 2014 a dirt file was circulated revealing he had been charged as an army lieutenant in 1999 for theft after obtaining $7,335 through false invoices, though no conviction was recorded. The following month he announced he would not contest the next election. The LNP’s new candidate for the seat is Gympie deputy mayor Tony Perrett, who won preselection ahead of Lindsay Horswood, a property valuer, and Philip Spann, owner of an engineering business.

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

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