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. confessions@33

    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.

    Wilson: This story is a pile of crap. I should know. I want to go on the record…

    Lewis: Yeah mate, that’s great. Listen, can you hang on for a bit? Say the Saturday night after Newspoll are done?

    Wilson: But my statement will clear the air…

    Lewis: Look, we’ve got Blewitt and Styant-Browne lined up, your claim will just get lost in the news cycle.

    Wilson: I can go to the SMH you know.

    Lewis: Front page, big splash, on the Sunday. Trust me mate, you won’t regret it.

  2. Well I am off, going to watch Startrek Voyager on ch 11, where the lady commander is in complete control, reminds me of someone, now who could that be???

  3. C@tmomma:

    In today’s Liberal party it’s okay to align with a man who uses prostitutes, so long as the prostitute stuff is happening in a developing country rather than Australia. 😉

  4. Leroy@18

    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.

    And he got the gretch story by fraudulently producing and then publishing those fraudulent emails.

    He has got nowhere so far after spending almost $2 Mio of newscorps shareholders funds.

    The day such measures and money are used to pursue an abbott or morrison or pyne – lewis has no creditibility.

    Until then he is lower than sharks dung.

  5. What I want to believe but really know probably hasn’t happened but wish that it did because it would make me larf:

    John Hewson was closer to the truth than he realised i.e. this story was stirred up by a few individuals in the Labor Party.

    But only to make a fool out of Bishop and Abbott.

    Can that be true? Please, please, please?

  6. A couple of amusing tweets from the Possum:

    Possum Comitatus ‏@Pollytics
    It’s pretty funny watching Andrew Bolt carry on about topics that require a specific depth of knowledge to understand properly.

    Possum Comitatus ‏@Pollytics
    It’s sort of like the way young kids piss on a fence

  7. Scarpat@35

    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.

    I hope they do give it a go. Either print or web.

    They would know the level of hits they get from Australia. Pity they don’t disclose those levels.

    Seems its all coming unstuck for murdoch and fairfax, but I am still sad to see the Fin Rev reduced to a worthless tabloid.

  8. Funny how some “context” just gets lost when Old Media writes the stories.

    [And he got the gretch story by fraudulently producing and then publishing those fraudulent emails.]

  9. victoria:

    The coalition are still happy to accept Slipper’s vote, despite the vitriol heaped upon Thomson’s ‘tainted vote’, and all the carry on about Slipper texts.

    They are opportunistic vultures with nary a care for anyone or anything other than advancing their own claims to the Lodge.

    What’s interesting is that all news outlets are reporting the coalition will go Gillard in QT over the Blewitt/Slayne-whoever claims as if it’s destined to happen.

    What happens if all we get next week are boats!, carbon ‘tax’, and sundry other slogans dressed up as serious questions?

  10. What happens if all we get next week are boats!, carbon ‘tax’, and sundry other slogans dressed up as serious questions?


    The Opposition would be drug tested.

  11. Leroy,

    What I want to know is – as does Jon Faine – why TF did it take the OM “churnalists” so long to pick up on that particular bit of information.

    Because it didn’t fit the narrative, perchance?


    I couldn’t agree more.

  12. @CraigEmersonMP: .@geeksrulz Ms Gillard must respond immediately to the absence of evidence against her & give a full account of why there isn’t any #auspol

  13. Acerbic Conehead,

    [I wonder if the only thing on the MSM staff canteen menu for the next while will be shit sandwiches?]

    I doubt it – after all, they are the bearers of the true context that is beyond the Ken (and Barbie) of us hoi polloi.

  14. Craig Emerson to Chris Kenny:

    Craig Emerson MP ‏@CraigEmersonMP
    @chriskkenny @wrightgb Chris, you’re a leader writer & commentator. Smearing is unbecoming. Make your allegations of wrongdoing against PM.

  15. Interesting tweet from Andrew Elder

    [@davidlen2 @CraigEmersonMP Yes. If you go after Abbott the Libs will replace him, if you go after Bishop it’s a gut-wound @ObservedlaterOn]

  16. victoria @76,

    Interesting tweet.

    I have no idea what is going to happen next week but if Mr Elder is talking about a guy wound in the sense of a slow and painful death then I suggest go for the gut wound.

  17. Yes. If you go after Abbott the Libs will replace him, if you go after Bishop it’s a gut-wound


    perhaps Elder is saying that Bishop is the only woman of stature on the Opposition’s bench and as such is their only weapon to use against the PM without being accused of misogyny.

  18. I think yer average punter will be completely repelled by the attempt to smear the PM.

    A fraudster, brothel-creep, liar and obvious idiot, Blewitt – who has in any case said nothing of any substance to anyone about anything – is being put forward by the LNP as their trump card.

    The truth here is remarkably simple. JG was lied to and used by con-artists, at least one of whom she believed she could trust implicitly. While there is absolutely nothing to suggest that she conspired with them, the simple fact that she was used by them is presented as grounds for questioning her very integrity. The LNP attack on JG is on a par with suggesting that the object of a sexual assault must have “got something” from it; that by some perversion of logic, they must have been implicated in their own betrayal. This is a contemptible insinuation to make, yet this is what the LNP are attempting to get away with. Really, this is a case of using one set of lies to fabricate some new ones!

    The attempt to implicate JG in the misuse of dodgy money is a political obscenity. This is the politics of the cesspit. It is completely degrading to the Parliament and to the whole concept of public duty. This is Tony Abbott’s Grech episode. He is attempting to impugn the PM on the basis of lies and slurs. Of course, he cannot back down. This would be to wholly vindicate JG – something he cannot afford to do. So he will persist with accusations that can only defile the Parliament and insult the entire Australian electorate.

    Truly, the LNP are atrocious.

  19. c@tmomma @ 43 wanted to know who Bolt has on tomorrow
    Nationals leader Warren Truss, former Labor Senator John Black (who campaigned against a certain former boyfriend of Julia Gillard’s) and former Finance Minister Nick Minchin.
    and they are supposed to talk about Boats. Could it possibly be more boring?

  20. Steve Lewis ‏@lewiss50
    Imagine if journalists actually worked to get a story instead of scouring the Internet for scraps……
    8:36 PM –

    Does Lewis really expect us to believe that writing smear is hard. Wilson obviously thought that giving Blewitt, an alleged crook, so much airtime was a bridge too far so he came out of hibernation. He’s been quoted – how hard did Lewis have to work for that.

  21. [The story was given fresh legs last week when Nick Styant-Browne, a former Slater & Gordon partner, raised questions about Ms Gillard’s connection to a mortgage on a property bought by her former boyfriend and AWU official Bruce Wilson.]

    What. Fucken. Questions????????

    Jesus wept.

  22. Craig Emerson has gone troppo on Twitter tonight! It’s all good stuff.

    It is good stuff. The Government should not be letting anything go through to the keeper whether it comes from the Opposition or the Media.

  23. [I have no idea what is going to happen next week but if Mr Elder is talking about a guy wound in the sense of a slow and painful death then I suggest go for the gut wound.]

    That seems to be the thrust of it.

  24. Toby Nottab ‏@Loose_id

    #JulieBishopMovies trending! She has never been this popular before!

    14m Ross Bowler Ross Bowler ‏@BowlerBarrister

    “@FrogCranky: #JulieBishopMovies You Would Cry Too If I Plagiarised You.

    RT @geeksrulz: The year my soul broke #Wittenoom #CSR #JulieBishopMovies #auspol: The year my soul broke #Witt…

  25. Scarpat
    My contribution to a conversation Emo is having with the odious Chris Kenny.
    [Craig – why do you bother with the likes of Chris Kenny?]

  26. dave,

    some others from #JulieBishopMovies

    Monty Python Squeeze and the Nauru Holy Grail
    High Noon at Wittenoom
    Death Stares at Dusty Goats.
    Not drowning, smearing
    How Green Was My Bile.
    The Asbestos Queue Jumpers
    It’s a lung way from equivocation
    The Case of Missing File””Cara Blanca”
    Blue Sky
    The crook, the thief, the wife, the lover
    I have no recollection of what you did last summer
    The Phantom Minutes
    Stare Wars
    The Alien and the Death Stare”
    The Stare Witch Project
    Crouching Google, Hidden Plagiarism
    Eyes Wide Mind Shut
    Four Funerals and a delayed court case
    The Unbearable Tightness of Breathing
    They died with asbestos dust in their lungs
    Die Hard. All those asbestos victims whose compo cases she delayed due to her “brief”.
    Witless for the Prosecution
    Raging Bullsh*t
    The Good Girl
    Asbestos Bought These Pearls
    Delay can be a good thing if the price is right
    Pulp Fiction
    Bridesmaids” (never the bride)

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