Queensland election 2015

Whitsunday

Margin: Liberal National 10.7%
Region: Central Coast
Federal: Dawson

Candidates in ballot paper order

whitsunday-lnp

whitsunday-alp

JASON COSTIGAN
Liberal National (top)

BRONWYN TAHA
Labor (bottom)

KYLEE STANTON
Palmer United Party

TONY FONTES
Greens

DAN VAN BLARCOM
Independent

ELECTORATE MAP

2012 ELECTION RESULTS

DEMOGRAPHICS

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

Won for the conservative side of politics in 2012 for the first time since Wayne Goss led Labor to power in 1989, Whitsunday covers about 130 kilometres of the central coast from just north of Mackay to just south of Bowen. Labor’s main strength in the electorate is in the northern outskirts of Mackay, which are balanced by conservative booths in Prosperine and smaller rural towns.

The electorate was created in 1950 and held for nearly four decades by the National/Country Party, until Labor candidate Lorraine Bird eked out a 12-vote victory on the back of a 9.0% swing in 1989. Bird’s position was improved by the 1992 redistribution, but the anti-Labor swing in the 1995 again reduced her to a tiny winning margin of 52 votes. Her run of luck came to an end in 1998 when the seat was among 11 to be won by One Nation, whose candidate Harry Black narrowly overtook the Nationals to secure a 1.7% win on their preferences. Black quit One Nation in December 1999 and went into the 2001 election as a member of the City-Country Alliance, producing an even split of votes between himself and One Nation, and an easy victory for Labor’s Jan Jarratt.

The Nationals’ chances of a comeback in 2004 were thwarted when their candidate, Dan van Blarcom, was disendorsed a week out from polling day after it emerged he had been involved with neo-fascist groups in his youth in the early 1970s. The consolidation of the scattered conservative vote in 2006 fuelled a 10.4% swing to the Nationals, but Jarratt nonetheless retained a winning margin of 4.4%. She was then done a poor turn by a redistribution that transferred over 5000 voters in and around Bowen (which returned the only Communist Party parliamentarian in Australia’s history in 1943) to Burdekin in the north, while adding 6500 from a marginal area inland of Mackay from Mirani in the south. This reduced the margin from 4.4% to 0.4%, but Jarratt did remarkably well to retain the seat with a favourable 2.8% swing, amid a generally strong performance for Labor throughout the surrounding region.

Jarratt’s 3.2% margin was no match for a 13.9% swing in 2012 that delivered the seat to the LNP’s Jason Costigan, a journalist, sports commentator and former staffer to Liberal MPs including Senator George Brandis. Costigan will be opposed at the coming election by Labor’s Bronwyn Taha, a former electorate officer to Jarratt who unsuccessfully contested Dawson at the 2013 federal election. Dan van Blarcom, the aforementioned Nationals candidate from 2004, is running as an independent.

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

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