Seat of the week: Oxley

Despite unfavourable redistributions and the statewide swing of 2010, Bill Hayden’s old seat has returned to safe Labor form since the famous interruption of Pauline Hanson.

Still famous 15 years later as the former electorate of Pauline Hanson, the modern seat of Oxley was created around the satellite city of Ipswich west of Brisbane in 1949 (a seat bearing the name earlier existed in southern Brisbane, before being renamed Griffith in 1934). Redistributions in 2004, 2007 and 2010 sent the electorate’s remaining share of Ipswich to Blair, pushing Oxley towards Brisbane with the addition of Middle Park and Jindalee in the north and Algester to the east. The changes before the 2010 election garnished the margin from 14.1% to 11.3%, and the punishing statewide swing against Labor that followed pared it back to 5.6%.

Oxley was was held for the Liberals on fairly comfortable margins for a decade after its creation by Donald Cameron, who served as Health Minister in the Menzies government. However, a 9.4% swing in the near-miss election of 1961 portended a long-term shift, delivering the seat to Labor’s Bill Hayden. Hayden did extraordinarily well to lift his margin to 19.1% by 1969, but Queensland’s reaction against the Whitlam government was enough to cut it back to 3.8% in 1975. By the time Hayden resigned to become Governor-General in 1988, the seat was safe enough for Labor that Les Scott was able to survive a sharp swing at the resulting by-election with a 4.0% margin.

After retaining a margin of 12.6% at the 1993 election, few suspected that Scott would be in serious danger despite the hostile environment Labor faced in 1996. However, trouble came in the form of Liberal candidate Pauline Hanson, whose campaign remarks about Aboriginal welfare saw her disendorsed by a party sensitive about its leader’s complicated history on racial issues. The voters by contrast rewarded her with an astonishing 48.6% of the primary vote, resulting in a 4.7% win after preferences. Unfortunately for Hanson, Oxley was substantially redrawn with the 1998 redistribution, losing its rural areas beyond Ipswich to newly created Blair along with parts of Ipswich itself, while absorbing the very safe Labor urban area of Inala. Rightly or wrongly, Hanson decided the new seat offered her the better prospects and Labor’s Bernie Ripoll had no trouble regaining Oxley at the 1998 election.

A member of the Australian Workers Union/Labor Forum faction, Ripoll served as a parliamentary secretary in opposition after the 2004 election, but was passed over when Labor came to office in 2007. His preselected Liberal National Party opponent for the coming election is Andrew Nyugen, a 28-year-old policy adviser to Brisbane lord mayor Graham Quirk.

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.

977 comments on “Seat of the week: Oxley”

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  1. [Steve Lewis ‏@lewiss50
    Imagine if journalists actually worked to get a story instead of scouring the Internet for scraps…… ]

    Is that a real account or a fake one?

  2. Zoomster,

    [… do I get points?]

    Yeah sista!

    We want points!
    We want points!
    We want points!

    Okay, mebbe a set of steak knives would do 😉

  3. Steve Lewis ‏@lewiss50
    Imagine if journalists actually worked to get a story instead of scouring the Internet for scraps……

    just like he worked to get the Gretch story…

  4. [fiona
    Posted Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 8:41 pm | PERMALINK
    Sweet William,

    I have moseyed – where is everyone?]

    Sweet William is that a flower?

  5. ruawake@5

    Nite all

    A prediction for next week, the Libs will run dead on the AWU smear.

    The question for me is why Lewis writes ‘anything’ that might even vaguely take the slightest pressure off Gillard or Labor.

    OM – Creditability NIL!

    Go bankrupt you mongrels either slowly or quickly – either way the dave family will pay you nuthin!

  6. GG – Steve, like all the journos on twitter, get attacked by people talking up the power of the interwebs/new media etc. Its a swipe at them. We got the story by leg work & persistance, he’s saying, not by trawling the net.

    It may also be a swipe at people picking up the article on the web early, but I don’t think so.

    This doesn’t mean he’s dropping the pursuit by the way. No way.

  7. Mari,

    I grew some of them &w=300&h=300&ei=JJiwUJvtMILmiAeG04DAAw&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=762&vpy=330&dur=141&hovh=225&hovw=225&tx=144&ty=111&sig=110011448017414990233&page=1&tbnh=145&tbnw=162&start=0&ndsp=26&ved=1t:429,r:13,s:0,i:154″ rel=”nofollow”>Sweet Williums in my first-ever patch of garden when I was approx 6 years’ old.

    These days I prefer herbs, tomatoes, and climbing beenz …

  8. GG:

    Most definately. The sooner these out of touch elites disappear into the ether the better.

    Let those out there with more insight and greater capacity for bringing that insight to people in more truthful ways have a go at reporting our national politics.

    I’m hanging out for next election to see the role social media has in that space. I’d love to see some post election polls about how voters got their election campaign information. You could track it over elections to see the rise in youtube, Facebook, twitter, Google etc.

  9. [ Fran Barlow@5062,
    For the umpteenth time, the question of ‘drownings’ is simply misdirection.

    That is true. Drownings get in the way of Greens credibility. Nothing should be allowed to get in the way of that.

    What needs to be remembered here is that the Greens don’t want there to be drownings, and they are very sad about them. We all saw SH-Y crying in the Senate… oh hang on, that was about asylum seekers who made it here, she said that drownings are unfortunate but inevitable.

    Anyway, what’s important is that the Greens Care and are Sad. And in the end, isn’t that a whole lot better than putting details to solutions?

  10. Fiona
    Posted Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 8:48 pm | PERMALINK

    Sweet William is that a flower?

    A much-cherished petal, Mari }

    In that case describes our William perfectly?? 😉

  11. Oh, and Consistent.

    Why a progressive party would prize that mystifies me, but I’m constantly being told that it’s a Good Thing the Greens have had the same policy on X, Y or Z for several years…

  12. That Steve Lewis account if definately him. He’s one of many journos I follow. It’s a low use account, but I’ve seen him chat to others and be re-tweeted by other journos. When I made a joke about his book recently, he replied (even though I didn’t address him, must have found my comment trawling through a hashtag thread).

  13. Fran Barlow@5098(previous thread),

    The Refugee Convention only requires us to protect those who seek it from us, have a bona fide claim and present within our jurisdiction. That’s not tens of millions, or even millions.

    Fran, now you’re having an attack of dystopia. Are you trying to say that if there were no deterrents in place to attempt to dissuade asylum seekers from coming to Australia, that number would NOT rise into the millions?

    Considering the fat profit the People Traffickers are making off each boat, I’m sure they’d be able to employ a few couriers to go to the countries in our region, once the word got around, that have people in camps, and just line them up to come here by the busload.

    Who wouldn’t want a free ticket to a 1st World country and away from a life of poverty in the camps?

    You could start by lining up a lot of people in the Palestinian camps, for a start. Then there’s the Jordanian camps. Not to mention there are groups of Pakistanis who seem to consider themselves among the persecuted. There’s one on Nauru now making regular phone calls to the ABC to complain about his plight.

    Fran, your supercilious, pompous, legalistic & unrealistic attitudes, so neatly paralleled by those of The Greens in parliament, will never solve the asylum seeker issue.

    As I said, it’s time for The Greens to get real about this issue.

    High-minded idealism does not trump realism.

    Nor will high-handed insults directed towards those of us who are trying to balance out all the competing facets of this problem, in order to find the best, most humane and responsible way to go, do your cause any good.

    Oh, and I corrected your typo. 🙂

  14. Steve Lewis speaking live to Sky News.

    Says he first spoke to Wilson a couple of years ago, but has now agreed to speak.

    Repeats that Gillard knows nothing. Gets the ‘girlfriend’ tag in there for good measure.

  15. Let those out there with more insight and greater capacity for bringing that insight to people in more truthful ways have a go at reporting our national politics.

    On the newspaper front, it was reported that The Guardian was considering setting up an Australian edition, print and online, which would add a bit of diversity to the current Murdoch (right) and Fairfax (centre right) duopoly.

  16. Some tweets from someone who does know how these things work

    2m Josh Bornstein Josh Bornstein ‏@JoshBBornstein

    4. Lawyers often assist in setting up the fund structure but do not usually have any further role in the operation or management #auspol

    5m Josh Bornstein Josh Bornstein ‏@JoshBBornstein

    3. Such funds are not funds of the union but belong to the group of officials. Authorisation by the union is not required.

    7m Josh Bornstein Josh Bornstein ‏@JoshBBornstein

    2. Usually a group of like minded union officials regularly contribute a portion of their wages to the fund #auspol

    9m Josh Bornstein Josh Bornstein ‏@JoshBBornstein

    Some home truths re union officials re-election funds: 1. Such funds are a dime a dozen and have been around for donkeys years #auspol ]

  17. ruawake@5

    Nite all

    A prediction for next week, the Libs will run dead on the AWU smear.

    I reckon there’ll be a new set of questions. We never found out what the last questions were, but no matter.

    I find the whole thing to be a little off-kilter. They may have given up on Blewitt as a line of attack. But I can’t imagine them dropping the story as a whole. They’ve put a lot of time and effort into it, and one Wilson interview won’t cancel the lot.

  18. Interviewer: do you belive him, or is he just sticking up for Gillard?

    Lewis: It’s a very important statement by Wilson, and a very positive development for the PM. Does it get her off the hook? Well, the coalition are going to pursue her in parliament next week, but this is a positive development for her.


  19. Get ready for some sleaze….
    [MAKING US RALPH: Horny old loser Ralph Blewitt’s lengthy custodial sentence could starve Asian sex industry
    By VEXNEWS ⋅ November 24, 2012

    EXNEWS exposé of the PM’s principal embezzlement conspiracy theory promoter, Ralph Blewitt, as a “sex predator” has gained further national attention, this time in News Limited Sunday newspapers which have also revealed that his supposed partner-in-crime Bruce WIlson has said she nothing about it. Meanwhile, because it offers readers more pleasure than even dirty dog Ralph could get from a lithe young Balinese lady and a bottle of baby oil, we give Blewitt a fair old kicking and reprise past slimings while contemplating what the old goat appears not to have given much thought: that confessing to serious crimes could get you a serious custodial penalty.]

  20. Interviewer: So it’s taken Wilson 17 years to break his silence. Why?


    Where was Slayne-Nowls or whatever his name is in all this time with his account of events?


  21. I wonder if Mesma had herself lined up to do any of the Sunday political junkies shows tomorrow? 🙂

    Anyone know who Andrew of the pretzel logic has lined up?

  22. Lewis still cannot say outright what Wilson has done.

    This alone speaks volumes to the fact that there are no direct allegations against the PM.

    Lewis: there’s still a long way for this story to play out?

    Doesn’t say how that relates to the PM, only how it relates to Blewitt and Wilson.


  23. [
    Posted Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 8:52 pm | PERMALINK

    I grew some of them Sweet Williums in my first-ever patch of garden when I was approx 6 years’ old.

    These days I prefer herbs, tomatoes, and climbing beenz …]

    How mundane , you have got too practical

  24. The thing that makes no sense to me about the fact Ralph Blewitt admitted to using prostitutes in Asia, is that everyone knows a fair proportion of them are underage. As a dirty old man like Ralph would too, you would assume.

  25. C@tmomma,

    As I wrote a while ago, can you (or any other PBer) imagine yourself as a young – possibly underage – person, with that face leering into yours at a time of utmost (enforced) intimacy?

  26. But wait, there’s more…
    [Former Australian Workers Union official Ralph Blewitt is just a crook, says sister
    Samantha Maiden
    Sunday Herald Sun
    November 24, 2012 7:39PM

    FORMER union bagman Ralph Blewitt has been described as a “a crook” by his own sister.

    And Treasurer Wayne Swan rounded on Mr Blewitt today as a witness with “no credibility”.]

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