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. Reading an article on Romney and came across this. Sound like any party we know ? 😉

    [Lawrence Davidson traces the roots of US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to the American Party (The Know Nothing Party) of the 19th century whose hallmarks were ignorance, prejudice and fear of – and aggressiveness towards – what is not local.]
    [The Know-Nothings and their anti-immigrant and anti-(Catholic) Irish fervor became a popular movement for a time.]

  2. I think Milne probably has internal realpolitic issues of her own. Her general praise of the report gives some indication of where she’d like to go, but then Manus Is and Nauru … even with Paris Aristotle supporting it can’t shift her.

    SHY and Riannon clearly have ambitions, and Milne most likely is not prepared to test the numbers.

  3. I swear, Campbell Newman’s going to single-handedly send the QLD economy into an austerity-led economic tail spin.

    Great idea – lets sack 20,000 people and the flow-on from their jobs to the rest of the economy. And where’s the logic? it hasnt worked anywhere else in the world. State govts cant even cut taxes on business with the ‘savings’ – so it doesnt even make sense from its own (rather demented) standpoint.

    Ideological blinkers on – blundering around smashing shit like a fool.

  4. PTMD

    The ‘legislative instruments’ bit.

    These are a very standard thing with a great number of Acts.

    They’re just like a schedule to a contract – so that details of what the act applies to, or the date the act comes in to effect*. The instrument is tabled and if someone wants to debate it they can otherwise it becomes law.

    As an example some times tax changes only need these – ie saying ‘these specific items now “subject”.

    (* – If I recall correctly the ‘date the act comes into effect’ part may not be used as it once was due to the Australia Card coming a cropper because the votes in the house changed after the Act passed and before the instrument setting its start date came in to effect.)

  5. The Coalition have lost their core policy – which was “Let’s go back to the way Howard did it”. The debate has shifted to an entirely different level.

    Morrison’s strange idea of “regional deterrence” is now total trash. What did it mean – Keep them out of all of South East Asia?

    It seems as if Morrison might have realised this – they will try to declare victory and move on I think. I’d say they’ll even pass the migration act amendment as suggested and hint that they’ll vote in parliament against Malaysia being included (they won’t when it comes to the crunch, of course).

    Although the initial impression may be that the coalition have “won”, I think that in the medium term they won’t – because they will have lost the opportunity to beat the government around the head.

  6. poroti

    Ms Palin was a classic Know-Nothing coz she actually knew two tenths of sweet fa and empersoned all the class Know-Nothing traits.

    OTOH, Mr Ryan is your thinking man’s Know-Nothing.

    No… wait…

  7. ABC interviewers have been somewhat muted so far, showing respect and asking for relevant information.

    Must be the “respect” thing.

  8. Shorter Greens: Let the gaming of the system continue. Let the Pull Factors continue to see life lost at sea. If you finally make it to Australia, we care about you.


  9. Meguire Bob @ 2149

    Agree. They are left with nowhere to go under Abbott.

    But they also can’t easily replace him now without all sorts of political blowback.

    Own goal, I believe. 🙂

  10. Rua at 2150,

    The disallowance provision for all regional agreements is one of the panels better recommendations.

    They have basically said that Morrison’s amendment to restrict processing to UNHCR signatories is no good as it excludes pretty much all of the region. But, Oakie’s bill should require any agreement to be put to the Parliament for ratification before being enacted. A fair dinkum opposition would support that, so you know Abbott won’t.

    The Greens have been told to wake the fuck up. Paris especially should have been very persuasive for any persuadable Greens. Onshore processing is dead. Get used to the idea, because one way or another it’s coming. The Greens have the opportunity to work with the Government to see that it occurs in the most appropriate way possible or work with Abbott. They might not like having it pointed out to them, but their intransigence is music to Abbott’s ears. Naturally they’ll choose intransigence.

    Shame really. It seems to be a good effort. Certainly not as good for the government’s position as I’d expected. A couple of shit sandwiches for Bowen and Gillard to smile as they chew on, but no worse for that. The Government will endorse the report in full, and seek to implement it, but unless the Greens and Coalition start feeling political heat coming their way they’ll stymie any progress. End result will probably be the Government getting Nauru and Manus up and Morrison and Abbott hooting like gibbons about how they forced a backdown. If that gets the issue out of the media by say Christmas it will probably be ok for Gillard.

  11. Puff – Morrison’s final comment. Panel has ‘greenlighted Nauru and redlighted Malaysia’. Then walked off with smarmy look on face. No truth is left untouched by Morrison.

    Oakey now on with Speers. Actually Speers has been pretty fair about it.

  12. Oakey says legislative qustn to go before the house will be whther we allow offshore processing or not – not necessarily Nauru or Manos specifically

  13. Shorter Morrison: Adopt Manus Is and Nauru and forget about Malaysia. Also trying to say Malaysia will not accept tweaking of the arrangement because they have said last December that would be the case. I don’t know if that’s true or not. Does anyone have a link to that info?

  14. Houston Panel have not ‘closed the door to Malaysia today’. They have sought to tweak Malaysia because they think it’s basically a good idea.

  15. So, Malaysia aint happening.

    Sad – it seemed to me to be the one practical pathway to a regional solution and a permanent way out of this mess.

    Oh well, I guess the numbers were never there in the Senate.

    So now we get to see if the government can play the politics enough to salvage a win.

    I’m pessimistic.

  16. Houston Panel have not ‘closed the door to Malaysia today’.

    They effectively have. If any destination is formed as a disallowable instrument, then if the government move to start Malaysia as a destination, the Senate will disallow it because it presents a simple political in-your-face for the coalition, and the Greens, of course, will vote for disallowance.

    ie, Malaysia is never happening with this Senate.

  17. What a complete misrepresentation of the Houston Panel’s attitude towards the Malaysian Arrangement by Morrison. They have not given it a ‘Red Light’, they did say that the protections in the agreement need to be strengthened and oversight needs to be included.

  18. Jackol,
    So what you’re saying is that if the combination of the Coalition and the Greens in the Senate cynically decide to stymie the Malaysian AS Arrangement, no matter what the Houston Panel suggest, that’s it? All over Red Rover?

    If so it should be shouted from the rooftops by the government.

  19. Finnigans:

    [The Greens stay on their moral high horse.]

    Or, put another way, we stick to our principles. We were never going to back forcible refugee trading or refugee capture and storage. There is no appetite at all within our ranks for enabling such inhumane policies.

    The parties who regard refugees as something over which to haggle for the votes of xenophobes have no business at all coming to us to help either of them get the upper hand in brutalising vulnerable people.

    Let one of them come to us with a humane and ethical proposal and we will pass it. The other option is for the parties for whom ethics takes second place to out manoeuvering each other is to cut a deal they can both live with. If they can’t do that, that’s scarcely our problem.

  20. ‘The Expert Panel says the Malaysian Arrangement shouldn’t be discarded.’

    Can’t get any plainer than that about the opinion of the panel that the Malaysian Arrangement is worth pursuing.

  21. Fran Barlow conveniently ignoring Paris Aristotle’s assessment of the practical effect of The Greens Araldited on ‘principles’.

  22. If so it should be shouted from the rooftops by the government.

    Well, it remains to be seen what approach the government is going to take.

    The Houston recommendations provide cover for adopting the Coalition position, and if the government decide to do this – as a trial or otherwise – they won’t be shouting anything from the rooftops.

    I can’t see the government taking a strong line on this – they can’t win on “principle” and they can’t win the politics (without some rabbits coming out of hats), so the balance seems the same – all they can probably hope for is to neutralize the coalition lines up to the next election…

    I hope there’s a cunning plan there somewhere that still is not obvious.

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

    I think you’ve got that the wrong way around. Oh, wait a minute. It’s one of those palindromic things. It works both way becasue they are both amateurs. But in the Greens case, they are disgusting opportunists who have no interest whatsoever in getting a solution from this panel. They are continuing with their blubbering “let everyone come and we’ll all hold hands at the bottom of the garden” nonsense, knowing full well it has zero chance of working. As always, their game is to bleed votes from Labor – a long term strategy. I can’t believe I’m saying this but animals like Morrison have more credibility than the Greens. And I’ll get to prove it at the ballot box in two weeks when they get a very definite “last”.

  24. Finnegans:

    [Methinks the Green have just got on a boat of irrelevancy]

    “Relevance” — code for “unprincipled horsetrading”. The Democrats got so “relevant” under Howard that they disappeared from parliament, conceding largely to the irrelevant Greens.

  25. The Uniting Church and Pamela Curr continuing the basically unrealistic and irrational line adopted by the Greens: every Hazara and every Tamil has a right to become Australian. Why don’t we just go to Afghanistan and Sri Lanka and tether an Airbus on shuttle service to bring them all here?

    What an absolutely infantile position. No matter how many big words and fine-sounding ‘principles’ they try to dress it up with.

  26. Well, perhaps I got the wrong end of the stick.

    My understanding was that the report recommended Malaysia as part of a regional framework that needs some tweeking.
    The report also stated that all recommendations need to be implemented to be effective, which includes Malaysia.
    Right? Wrong?

  27. Dee,
    That’s absolutely correct. However the cynical political parties, is the Coalition and the Greens have decided to do exactly what Houston said they shouldn’t and cherrypick the bits of the report to suit their pre-conceived positions. Or ‘principles’, as Fran Barlow seeks to excuse it with anodyne words covering up for their unwillingness to acknowledge that there is a better way than one which sees people drowning at sea on their way here due to the Pull Factor that Onshore Processing is without a shadow of a doubt.

  28. [all they can probably hope for is to neutralize the coalition lines up to the next election…

    I hope there’s a cunning plan there somewhere that still is not obvious.]

    I would have thought neutralising the coalition lines on AS up to the next election was enough to be going on with. But it could turn out much better than that. If Nauru doesn’t stop the boats Abbott’s policy is blown out of the water and if it does – problem solved. Either way the government has a win.

  29. [“Relevance” — code for “unprincipled horsetrading”. The Democrats got so “relevant” under Howard that they disappeared from parliament, conceding largely to the irrelevant Greens.
    Oh I get it!

    The Greens retaining seats in parliament is more important than actually finding solutions for this problem!

    Thank you very much for finally conceding how completely electorally driven the Greens are on this issue!

  30. [“Relevance” — code for “unprincipled horsetrading”. The Democrats got so “relevant” under Howard that they disappeared from parliament, conceding largely to the irrelevant Greens.]
    Oh I get it!

    The Greens retaining seats in parliament is more important than actually finding solutions for this problem!

    Thank you very much for finally conceding how completely electorally driven the Greens are on this issue!

  31. Can-Do said:

    [“{Clive Palmer} thinks he can use the LNP hierarchy to bully the Government. It’s not going to happen”.]

    Me think they create monsterrrr…. now he doesn’t see the government as an “LNP government”.

    In fact TWO monsters. King Kong meets Godzilla in Brisbane.

  32. ShowsOn:

    [Oh I get it!]

    No you don’t.

    [The Greens retaining seats in parliament is more important than actually finding solutions for this problem!]

    The Greens sticking by the principles we’ve outlined and defended for years is indispensible. If we toss them, how many seats we have in parliament is at best, irrelevant, and more likely, negatively correlated with the public good.

    The public understand that in at least a partially formed way, and so abandonment of principle in the chase for “relevance” not uncommonly courts electoral decline as well. That is in substantial measure, why the ALP is in the position it is now. Uncommitted people either aren’t sure what it stands for or think the other major conservative party might be better at it.

    On the day my party starts chasing the kind of “relevance” favoured by the political conservatives, I will be looking to split the party from its reactionary and venal elements and start again.

  33. [The Greens sticking by the principles we’ve outlined and defended for years is indispensible.]

    The Greens want to destroy asylum seekers in order to save them.

    That’s what happens when “principles” become impractical.

  34. On the topic of ‘Principles’:

    “Success is the ability to rise above principle.”

    Gerald Barzan

    “Nobody ever did anything very foolish except from some strong principle.”

    Lord Melbourne

    “Important principles may and must be flexible.”

    Abraham Lincoln

  35. BB:

    [The Greens want to destroy asylum seekers in order to save them.]

    No … we want to give them something better than choosing between two dangerous options. As things stand, those opting for IMP are choosing a plausible course, but it’s still not a good one, because there are no good ones. We should offer them good ones if this really is about asylum seeker welfare. Even in this place though, it is far from clear that this is the consensus. At least two posters have expressed the view that any solution that got it off the front page would do them just fine because they never wanted to hear the term “asylum seeker” again and that most Australians felt the same way.

    So this is not, from the POV of at least some here, really about abating deaths at sea (and still less about abating harm in resettlement camps) but about salving the pain of those living here who are forced to reflect on the misery of others and perhaps their own connection to it, and the apparently corrosive implications for the chances of the ALP at the next election.

  36. Fran Barlow,
    As per usual for a Green you are attempting to smear the motives of supporters of the ALP, as opposed to addressing the deficiencies of The Greens position.
    Too many times the flaws in your positions have been pointed out to you, often with persuasive argument and evidence to support those assertions. Yet all you seem to come back with are your increasingly shop-soiled statements from some perceived high moral ground of Greens supposed superior morality wrt any issue. Dressed up with a load of supercilious sneering and an attempted put-down of anyone who dares to question you or The Greens policies and motivations.

    Such flimsy flim-flam, despite all the big words you dress it up with, is entirely unconvincing to anyone seeking a workable solution. Still, keep on mouthing Green banalities, especially about the Asylum Seeker issue. The People Traffickers are cheering for you. Sadly, the Asylum Seekers with the Mental Health problems caused by the grief of losing family at sea on their way here pulled by The Green’s Onshore Processing, the de facto policy now, are not.

    Fran, pigheadedness in the light of overwhelming evidence to the contrary of a stated position, is not ‘Principle’.

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