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. The Greens are a disgusting bunch of political opportunists every bit the cynical political players that the Coalition are.

  2. C@tmomma… courtrooms AND breaking policy recommendations!! PB’s very own hardworking and intrepid rapporteur… well done (yet again) and much appreciated 🙂

  3. SHY now on. The Greens are upset about the family reunion recommendation.

    Maybe they will regret voting against Oakies bill?

  4. disallowable instruments

    Disallowable instruments are instruments that must be tabled and are open to Parliamentary veto (disallowance) for a set period, usually fifteen sitting days.

    ComLaw contains thousands of disallowable instruments: all new legislative instruments are subject to disallowance unless they have been granted an exemption.

    ComLaw also contains many older disallowable instruments. We have, for example, all regulations made since 1979 and a number of other regulations dating back as the 1920s which are still in force or which have only recently ceased.

    Legislative instruments: Currently open to disallowance | Disallowed


  5. Ms Milne rabbiting on about being ‘kind’ to asylum seekers.

    Someone should ask Ms Milne whether it is kind to toss 10,000 south Australians out of work when the Greens government closes down Olympic Dam Mine.


  6. rosemour

    If he accepts, he’ll frame it as the independent panel backing the Coalition’s position over the governments and then it will become a believability contest between Gillard and Abbott which Abbott will win

    If he doesn’t accept, he can continue the impasse and the blame game which the Coalition wins by default

  7. Mr Morrisson is disappointed because the recommendations endorse in very large part the Opposition’s position.

    Will they still be able to oppose it, though?

  8. Why does SHY assume that detention will continue to be for years? Surely additional places in both humanitarian & family reunion categories will reduce wait times?

  9. [Did they all read the same report?]
    View details ·
    [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 17s
    Scott Morrison claims the report backs towbacks. #asylum]
    View details ·
    [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 33s
    Scott Morrison – Houston panel has endorsed the ‘spirit’ of temporary protection visas]#asylum
    View details ·
    [ Latika Bourke @latikambourke 1m
    Scott Morrison – Houston panel as green-lighted Nauru and red-lighted Malaysia swap. #asylum]
    View details ·
    [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 2m
    Scott Morrison – ‘The Houston panel report has endorsed in very large part the approach the Coalition has been advocating.’ #asylum]

  10. Is anyone else seeing the purple haze of dye in Morrison’s hair (at front)?

    Milne and SHY as intrasigent as ever, unfortunately.

  11. Greens presser suggests they’re intransigent on the issue. Huge opportunity lost for them. SHY as usual behaving like a prat.

  12. and

    legislative instruments (LIs)

    Legislative instruments are laws on matters of detail made by a person or body authorised to do so by an Act of the Parliament. They may be called regulations, rules and many other names but their name is not important. What matters is that they have force of law behind them, or they are of public or parliamentary interest.

    It is important for rule-makers to identify legislative instruments correctly because, under the Legislative Instruments Act 2003, all legislative instruments must be registered on the Federal Register of Legislative Instruments (FRLI for short), a part of ComLaw, and tabled in the Parliament. Most are also subject to Parliamentary veto (disallowance) and cease automatically (sunset) around 10 years after commencement.

    ComLaw contains an authoritative record of every legislative instrument made since 1 January 2005 and every instrument made before then but still in force on 1 January 2008 – literally tens of thousands of documents. Some of these were printed at the time they were made in the gazette or as a statutory rule, but many of these documents had never been published before.


  13. SHY says the panel has been “suckered”.

    That’s the way to win them over.

    She doesn’t want a short term practical solution, like banning war and curing religious animosity. She wants to string it out for onths, so she can call the people who drown “victims”.

  14. Wow, I’m usually pro-Green, but was NOT impressed at that presser by Milne & Hanson-Young.
    They were both very negative.

  15. [Glengyron @glengyron 12m
    Comedy Gold: RT @latikambourke: Christine Milne – Houston report vindicates the Greens position. #asylum]

  16. spur212
    Posted Monday, August 13, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink


    If he accepts, he’ll frame it as the independent panel backing the Coalition’s position over the governments and then it will become a believability contest between Gillard and Abbott which Abbott will win

    There you go everyone spur212 is an coaliton supporter and a die hard one too

    If he doesn’t accept, he can continue the i

  17. [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 2m
    Signs though, that the Coalition and Govt could strike a deal here, with Morrison so positive about the report.#asylum]

  18. [courtrooms AND breaking policy recommendations!! PB’s very own hardworking and intrepid rapporteur… well done (yet again) and much appreciated]

    c@tmomma – thanks – I managed to catch up on wht I missed while the panel was speaking.

    Why is Morrison saying that Houston said TPVs can be used. I thought he said no.

  19. Why the smurf would anyone else in the region sign the refugee convention when they see the implications it has had for our gov’t?

  20. Here is my prediction: The Greens have dealt themselves out of this game. But they will feel a warm inner glow about it and that is the main thing.

    The same people who will go on and on about being ‘kind’ to people are quite happy to destroy 10,000 south australian jobs and all that goes with it.

  21. So as usual it’s left to the two major parties to sort out important national interest issues.

    Bring back the Democrats. The Greens are just a bunch of rank amateurs.

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