Seat of the week: Blair

Blair has covered a highly variable area around Ipswich since its creation in 1998, having been substantially redrawn at three redistributions since. Originally covering areas inland of Ipswich and the Sunshine Coast, the redistributions of 2004 and 2007 saw it progressively take over central Ipswich from Oxley. Prior to the 2010 election it lost 28,000 voters in territory south of Ipswich to the new seat of Wright, in exchange for 13,200 voters in rural areas around Lake Wivenhoe to the north (previously in Dickson and Fisher) and 5500 in the eastern Ipswich suburbs of Collingwood Park and Springfield Central (from Oxley). As the areas lost were rural and conservative, Labor’s margin was boosted from 4.5% to 7.0%. The seat further recorded what by Queensland standards was a mild swing of 2.7%, the resulting Labor margin of 4.2% making it their fourth safest seat in the state.

Ipswich had been an area of strength for Labor since the early days of the party’s history owing to its now defunct coal mining industry, but it has more recently been prone to rebellion against the party’s efforts to appeal to new middle-class constituencies. The most famous such occasion occurred when Pauline Hanson won Oxley in 1996, scoring 48.6% of the primary vote as an independent after the Liberals disendorsed her for advocating the abolition of government assistance for Aborigines. The creation of Blair in the next redistribution did Hanson a poor turn, dividing her home turf between two electorates. Rather than recontest Oxley or (more sensibly) run for the Senate, Hanson chanced her arm at the new seat, but the major parties’ decision to direct preferences to each other may have sealed her doom. Hanson led the primary vote count with 36.0% against 25.3% for Labor and 21.7% for Liberal, but Liberal candidate Cameron Thompson pulled ahead of Labor on minor party preferences and defeated Hanson by 3.3% on Labor preferences.

Thompson went on to absorb most of the disappearing One Nation vote in 2001, more than doubling his primary vote without improving his two-party margin over Labor. A redistribution ahead of the 2004 election clipped this by 1.8%, but he went on to handsomely consolidate his position with a 4.5% swing. In 2007 the Liberals targeted Blair as part of its “firewall” strategy, a key element of which was a risky decision to fund a $2.3 billion Ipswich Motorway bypass at Goodna in the neighbouring electorate of Ryan. This proved of little use, with Labor picking up a decisive swing of 10.2% which typified the shift of blue-collar voters back to Labor on the back of WorkChoices.

Labor’s winning candidate was Shayne Neumann, a family lawyer and partner in the Brisbane firm Neumann & Turnour and member of the state party’s Labor Unity/Old Guard faction. His LNP opponent at the coming election will be Teresa Harding, who is “director of the F-111 Disposal and Aerial Targets Office” at the RAAF Base Amberley.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

2,255 comments on “Seat of the week: Blair”

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  1. gutaur,

    You’re a cranky little Greens weasel today, aren’t you?

    I rerely take any notice of Greens demands. It always ends in tears, for them.

  2. [vexnews ‏@vexnews
    Julie Bishop spruiks feminine and caring Tony Abbott at the WA Liberal state party conference #auspol #wapol ]
    After I finished laughing, I read the piece. Can’t think of the best word to describe JulieB. She has an acid tongue and is just as untruthful as her leader.

  3. The finns

    It would appear from tweets over past few days, there is the meme of JG and her connection to former boyfriend who allegedly defrauded union. There is some talk of asking Slater and Gordon to make available old files relating to this Union. Mind you we are talking about 18 years ago. I worked in legal, and there was no obligation to hold files for more than seven years

  4. The Australian tells me that Coates is on just under $500K a year, a little more than Gillard.

    And that’s money well spend….

  5. It must be a real disappointment for them painful pavlovian doggys that: It aint gonna happen:

    [More importantly for Gillard, time is now her friend and the enemy of her nemesis, Kevin Rudd. While the popular thesis of national politics during the months following the February leadership ballot has been that the clock is ticking for the Prime Minister, the obverse is now in play.

    The clock does not tick for just one warrior on the political battlefield and now the days and weeks are slipping away for Rudd.

    While anything is possible for a person so narcissistically bent on vindication and revenge as Rudd, simple logic says he has, at the very outside, until the last week in November to orchestrate a move against Gillard.

    Some generous commentators say that if Gillard survives for the next four sitting weeks which end on September 20 she will be safe. This probably underestimates Rudd’s obsession and devil-may-care determination, and a run of bad polls for Gillard in October and early November would almost certainly rekindle leadership chatter.

    However, a move on the leadership after the end of this year’s parliamentary sittings is almost certainly not going to happen. ]

  6. GG

    Insults. No Proof.

    You are an empty vessel in this. Henceforth I will ignore your stupidity regardung the Greens participation in our democracy.

  7. Diogs,

    He was the best person for the job when he was appointed through a natonallly advertised and transparent process.

  8. The finns

    Did not want to mention El Slacko, but yes. She is always seems to instigate the meme. I have bitched about her enough lately.

  9. Poor Abbott he’s having a shocker.

    First Turnbull disagrees with him and agrees with Julia about electricity prices.

    How does that make you feel Tone? Turnbull has no respect for you and is planning your demise.

    Now this:

    [feminine and caring Tony Abbott]

    His Deputy is calling Abbott feminine.

    Priceless 😆

  10. vic,

    Maybe the same demands could be made of Tony Abbott and his role in the undermining of One nation and the prosecution and jailing of Pauline Hanson.

  11. So Romney is about to announce his running mate? Rather early, with still two weeks to the convention. The last candidate to announce his running mate earlier than the convention week (other than incumbents who are sticking by their VP) was John Kerry in 2004, and that was because he was getting no traction and his message was getting lost. I daresay that Romney may have similar motivations.

  12. Ryan may actually be a smart pick. He is a conservative, so it may play well with an apathetic GOP base. He also isn’t as prone to going off the rails as other conservatives are. He’s also from Wisconsin, which might make that area more interesting for them. Not a perfect pick but I definitely see the logic in it.

  13. First post from my new phone, see if it works

    Do Labor supporters here care what happens to those we send to Malaysia if it goes ahead???

  14. @SimonPalan: #Breaking: South Australia’s Premier has just announced his government will follow Tasmania’s lead and back same sex marriage laws. #auspol

  15. The Finnigans @ 149
    Why are the #MSMhacks, #Shockjocks, #TheirABC and Tony Abbott are so so afraid of PM Gillard, especially she aint got a swinging big dick.

    She has the balls.

  16. You may, however, get some “We could be a heartbeat away from President Ryan” rhetoric to make left/liberal voters who may want to sit this one out or vote third party because they see no major difference between Obama and Romney think again about their decision.

  17. Victoria,
    People take the piss out of other people and sometimes they are serious and sometimes they are not. It doesn’t always mean hatred and viciousness , I’m taking the piss out of guytaur coz I used to be a Green, I know where he’s coming from. He will change his mind.

  18. Vic,

    Cheryl seemed more than adept at doing that to herself. Abbott may have pushed the piano. But, it was already heading down the hill.

  19. As for Weatherill’s announcement, I knew he would be next off the rank and suspected he’d wait until today’s rally to say so. (Weatherill himself has been a strong supporter of SS marriage and SA Labor, despite the attempts of the Farrellists, is officially for it as well).

  20. Centre @ 37

    Rack OFF Rudd

    Victoria @ 40


    I can handle that … but you Gillardistas just squeal like little girlies at the least mention that the object of your adulation might be less than perfect or if someone doesn’t buy all the slagging off of Rudd that goes on here.

    About time you grew a brain.

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