Seat of the week: Fisher

Despite an avalanche of controversy, polling indicates Mal Brough will have little trouble winning the Sunshine Coast seat of Fisher from its equally contentious incumbent, Peter Slipper.

Fisher covers the southern part of the Sunshine Coast, from Caloundra north to Mooloolaba on the coast and inland to Maleny and the Glass House Mountains. It originally extended inland to Gympie and Kingaroy when it was created in 1949, but assumed a progressively more coastal orientation as a result of the area’s rapid development. The seat was a fiefdom of the Adermann family for the first 35 years of its existence, being held for the Country Party first by Sir Charles until 1972 and thereafter by his son Evan. Evan Adermann moved to the new seat of Fairfax in 1984, and Fisher was retained for the Nationals by Peter Slipper.

The seat was one of a number of gains for Labor in Queensland amid the debacle of the 1987 Joh-for-PM push, which had found an ardent proponent in Slipper. For the next two terms it was held for Labor by Michael Lavarch, in which time the eclipse of the Nationals progressed. A redistribution in 1993 made the seat notionally Liberal, prompting Lavarch to move to the new seat of Dickson. Slipper then made an improbable return to the seat as a Liberal, and enjoyed double-digit margins between a 14.0% swing in 1996 and the statewide crunch in 2007, when there was a 7.9% swing to Labor.

Slipper managed to win promotion to parliamentary secretary for finance and administration after the 1998 election, despite lingering memories John Howard may have had of 1987, but he was pushed aside to make way for Peter Dutton after the 2004 election. He became increasingly marginalised thereafter, copping an avalanche of bad press in the local Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper and receiving the smallest swing of any Queensland LNP candidate at the 2010 election, when his margin went from 53.5% to 54.1%. It was reported during the campaign that Howard government minister Mal Brough, who had lost his seat of Longman in 2007, had sought to have Slipper disendorsed in his favour, but that Slipper’s position was secured by the terms of the Liberal National Party merger which guaranteed endorsement to all sitting members.

With a clear expectation that he would not again win preselection, Labor identified Slipper as a weak link in the Coalition after losing its majority at the 2010 election, and bolstered its position slighty by successfully nominating him for the deputy speakership at the expense of Coalition nominee Bruce Scott. Shortly afterwards, Brough confirmed that he would contest preselection in the seat. In November 2011 the government went one better in persuading Slipper to take on the Speaker’s position at the expense of incumbent Harry Jenkins, resulting in his expulsion from the LNP and a fierce campaign against him from elements of the media, most notably Sydney’s News Limited tabloid the Daily Telegraph.

In April 2012, a staffer to Slipper, James Ashby, launched legal action claiming he had been sexually harassed by Slipper, and presented evidence purportedly showing Slipper had misused Cabcharge vouchers. The matter soon embroiled Mal Brough, who initially dismissed suggestions he knew of Ashby’s actions in advance before conceding he had met him on multiple occasions and sought legal advice on his behalf. In December 2012, a Federal Court judge dismissed Ashby’s sexual harassment charge on the grounds that it was an abuse of process in which Brough had been directly involved.

None of this prevented Brough from winning a strongly contested LNP preselection in July, after spearheading a vigorous local recruitment drive which reportedly doubled the local party membership. The preselection contest played out against a backdrop of conflict going back to Brough’s tenure as president of the Queensland Liberal Party before the Liberal National Party merger was effected, which saw Brough stand down from the position over dissatisfaction with the terms of the merger.

A surprise late entrant in the preselection race was James McGrath, who had been the director of the LNP’s hugely successful 2012 state election campaign and was thought to be set to secure preselection for the neighbouring seat of Fairfax. McGrath’s backers included Malcolm Turnbull, Joe Hockey and Julie Bishop. Brough was nonetheless able to win the support of more than half the 350 preselectors in the first round, and McGrath has since been accommodated with Senate preselection. Also in the field were Peta Simpson, director of a local recruitment agency, who had backing from Brough foe Barnaby Joyce; Richard Bruinsma, a former adviser to Slipper; and Andrew Wallace, a barrister.

Labor’s call for Brough to be disendorsed after the Federal Court ruling on the Ashby matter met short shrift from Tony Abbott, who contented that Brough had been “quite transparent and upfront about his involvement”. The following month, Slipper received a Federal Police summons concerning the allegations he had misused Cabcharge vouchers.

In the immediate aftermath of the Ashby ruling, a ReachTel automated phone poll of 661 respondents suggested Brough was unlikely to suffer electoral damage, putting him at 48.4% on the primary vote against a derisory for 2.7% for Peter Slipper (who remained publicly committed to seeking re-election as an independent), 21.2% for Labor, 11.7% for the Greens and 7.4% for Katter’s Australian Party. Brough was viewed favourably by 41.8% of respondents against 34.0% unfavourably, while the respective figures for Slipper were 6.9% and 75.5%. Brough’s involvement in the Ashby matter made 37.3% of respondents less likely to vote for him, against 39.8% for no difference and 22.6% going so far as to say it had made them more likely to vote for him.

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.

852 comments on “Seat of the week: Fisher”

Comments Page 17 of 18
1 16 17 18
  1. [It was a panicked response by a PM who suspected the ground was shifting underneath his feet]

    We’ll never know what the strategy was, I would have thought going into an election fighting the big miners would have been a winner, but your characterization might be correct.

    [I’m not convinced the RSPT structure was ideal anyway]

    Taxes just aren’t perfect ever let alone instantly. The PRRT thing is still far from perfect decades after it started. But if you are taxing an element of the economic profit of a resource it would seem a little harsh to tax on an index price rather than the project price. On the other hand the financing structure of a project should be entirely irrelevant.

  2. I lived on Paros for about 4 months in 1976 and 77 – from late Spring through the Summers. I visited others too. I need to go back.

  3. [William has not censored JM, who remains completely free to start a fight anywhere he likes, other than in William’s salon.]

    As I said a couple of days ago: anyone

    * who uses the phrase “a little thing called common courtesy”, and

    * (even in jest) believes Piers Akerman, Alan Jones and The Australian are “balanced” and “logical”

    has outed him or herself immediately as “suspect” in the “Where I am Coming From” Dept.

  4. [briefly
    Posted Monday, January 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm | PERMALINK
    And I have followed you too, mari.

    Very nice house for an Agios, overlooking the sea. We should talk about Greece one day. About the singing, the bouzoukia and the Cretan lyra, and the dancing, the thyme and the lemons and the little red fish and squid, the retsina and metaxa, the olive groves and the pan-pipes; and seferis]
    Saw that.
    Anytime re Greece if you like I will DM on twitter my email address, have been over 11 times. Milos and Serifos are wonderful, Folegandros used to be great but like Santorini too much money was poured into it. Wonder what has happened now Ios is also good out of tourist season. “Yasas” to you

  5. zoomster, you still have BB’s remarks about Alan Joyce stuck between your shoulder blades. Not one person said anything about it at the time. If you don’t like the mirror, get another face.
    I liked reading your opinion but I do not attach any weight to things spat out in anger.

  6. Dorrie

    oh, I’m never angry. Waste of time and energy.

    And a post which I thought about overnight was scarcely spat out.

    But if you don’t want to engage, that’s your perogative!

  7. Briefy Paros is wonderful too. Yes go back although you may get a shock. When first saw Santorini the donkeys were used by everone, not just lumping tourists up from the ferry as now, the people threw the Wheat into the air to separate it from the chaff? in the stone circles, now all gone. The “donkeys” to be fleeced on Santorini are now the tourists. Am not going back this year going other places instead but will go back. My”families” still won’t believe I am not coming this year

  8. “@OakeyMP: Bouquet to NSW Rural Fire Service. The App “FiresNearYou” is a ripper, highly recommended, and used by many friends this month. thank you!”

  9. [For the censorship discussion. Paul Sheehan weighs in

    @smh: Opinion: Free speech dogged by the politics of difference when it comes to Geert Wilders, writes Paul Sheehan

    I am blessedly empty of the slightest inclination to click on that link, Guytaur.

    I have been Sheehan-free for three months, fourteen days, 6 hours, eleven minutes and 32 35 seconds now.

    Every time I open the cupboard door here in my house, and I see that old copy of the SMH just sitting there waiting to be used as lining for HI’s Rescue Possum cage, I feel the old urge come back to me to open it up and see if there’s something by Paul in it.

    Just a peek wouldn’t hurt, would it?


    I know that now.

    Every day makes me stronger. I do, however, refuse to indulge in stupidity like lining the possum cage without HI standing right next to me, just in case I sneak a look as I’m laying the paper in.

    After giving up Sheehan and Shanahan, the next one – perhaps the most difficult of all – will be Hartcher. If I can manage Pin-Stripe Pete, then maybe I can summon the strength to turn away from Jacquie Maley, or even Michelle Grattan.

    Every path is a journey. You have to take baby steps first.

    I know it’s a hard ask, but I’ve recently started psyching myself up to tune Ray Hadley out of my life.

    The thought, the belief you can do it is the starting point of everything….

  10. Diogenes quoted wiki on censorship:

    [Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body]

    This is a little like the word “discrimination”. It’s oftne said that discrimination is bad, but of course what is bad is arbitrary discrimination, or discrimination based on attributes that most people regard as unjust — such as sexual orientation, ostansible ethnicity and so forth.

    Similarly, state censorship, because it is expressly coercive and backed by criminal sanctions, is considered heinous in pluralist societies. Censorship by the private media is considered less nasty because, well, they’re private and can use their resources as they please.

    It’s often said that journalists self-censor anticipating what their employers would have them publish, and this is indeed subversive of the public interest, especially when what is being covered up are cases of malfeasance by public officials or powerful people.

    The problem here isn’t so much censorship as the conflict between public expectations of a robust and fearless free press and the actuality of press conduct. The people doing this are by their selectivity, creating a misleading impression of the world and disempowering people.

    Of course, William’s blog doesn’t and can’t do that. It is a tiny corner of the mediascape, and there is no pretence on William’s part that he personally can be relied upon to give a comprehensive account of the polity or even psephological questions. His banning of a poster can’t go close to silencing the poster or even hide the fact that the poster was banned, because this was done explicitly, by contrast with the MCBM where letters simply aren’t printed.

    JM can recite JM’s talking points almost anywhere, and as they are merely borrowed from RW trollumnists, so that even if, discouraged, JM were to curl up in a corner and start thumbsucking, the “objectionable communications” would continue on an industrial scale. It’s hard to see William’s acts as amounting even to the non-state version of censorship in that context. He simply lacks the power to censor except in this tiny little place.

  11. BB

    An old saying from an ancient culture is appropriate here.

    ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”

  12. Diogenes@792

    I’m going to disagree with the definition of censorship which is popular here.

    I’m going with the one on wiki.Idon’t think it has to be a government body.

    Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.

    As Wikipedia is a user-edited product that can be modified by anyone at any time its definitions are unreliable and of very variable quality. It is worth noting that the main context in which that definition is substantiated on that page is:

    “Corporate censorship is the process by which editors in corporate media outlets intervene to disrupt the publishing of information that portrays their business or business partners in a negative light,[5][6] or intervene to prevent alternate offers from reaching public exposure.[7]”

    …which is nothing like what we are talking about here, not even in the case of a biased media outlet.

  13. BB

    [Every path is a journey. You have to take baby steps first.]


    [I know it’s a hard ask, but I’ve recently started psyching myself up to tune Ray Hadley out of my life.]

    You will never look back. Years ago, I gave up John Pierce and Alan Jones and John Laws. I knew to avoid Stan Zemanek.

    These were good decisions.

    BTW — did you get my link on debunking the Moon-landing truthers?

  14. A response to an earlier post….

    yes, they have civics classes in schools, at least in Victoria.

    Most primary schools I know do them very thoroughly, often accompanied by a trip to Canberra.

    It’s covered again in Year 7. (When I set my Year 7 a quiz on politics, which I expected them all to fail, they all passed with flying colours – knew who their local Federal and State MPs were, which means they know more than most adults).

    Again, the assumption seems to be that because someone can’t remember something being taught when they were at school (and I can’t remember much civics being taught thirty five years ago) it’s therefore not taught now.

    BTW, I find it a fascinating exercise to get my Year 7s to run an election campaign. Another class is identified as the constituency, parties are formed, leaders chosen, and a date set for the leader’s speeches.

    The students instantly turn into the worst kind of politicians (one winning party bribed the constituents with lollies). Off their own bat, they bombard the other class with leaflets stuffed into their lockers, harass them in the playground, etc etc. The dirty tricks campaign is dreadful to behold, and alas, the party with the best policies and arguments often doesn’t win….

  15. And they are saying Downer’s a shoo-in?

    Is it the same Alexander Downer? The first man in history to unite the Cypriot Parliament – Greek and Turkish factions – in unanimous common cause: a censure motion for interfering in their affairs and being a total prat…. against Alexander Downer?

    Passed on the voices. Never happened before or since.

    Psephos may like to confirm.

  16. Bernard Keane on Essential Research: “On voting intention, little change from last week: Labor is on 36% and the Coalition on 48%; the Greens have picked up a point to 9%, for a 2PP outcome of 54-46% in the Coalition’s favour.”

  17. [BTW — did you get my link on debunking the Moon-landing truthers?]

    Yes I did. Why you sent it to me, I don’t know, but I watched and enjoyed it.

    Then I replayed it for my grandsons. They even gave up Xboxing for ten minutes, it was so well done.

    Gonzo docco.

  18. Actually put it up for others to enjoy “in another place”,where Youtubes can be posted with the first frame showing, so you don’t waste your time looking at old Cliff Richards clips because you can’t see who the link is to.

  19. WWP

    [ it would seem a little harsh to tax on an index price rather than the project price. ]

    It sounds fair to me. Investors know up front what to expect. Some projects wouldn’t fly — too much capex/sunk cost and insufficiently quick return — but again, that’s OK — they are probably only going to be marginal anyway. Resources don’t go off and if they are there for later generations to exploit, that too is no bad thing. Asa we have seen, there’s a downside to windfall revenues in disruption to what we may call “economic diversity” — hollowing out of manufacturing and other sectors. Mining is of course problematic from an environmental POV as well. State governments that become too dependent on mining revenue can also lose their way.

  20. Essential just refuses to budge.
    It’s either doggedly right or doggedly wrong.
    Guess we’ll be hearing Greg Hunt refer to it as his poll to quote when in the media again.

  21. BB

    [Yes I did. Why you sent it to me, I don’t know, but I watched and enjoyed it.]

    The guy was a film nerd, and I do seem to recall you being interested in film technology.

    I was very impressed — what he said about “truthers” in general was also very apt.

  22. Just remember when Newspoll and Nielsen were reporting 58/42+ 2PP results Essential was the poll to want to believe. They never has the Labor primary vote fall below 30%.

  23. davidwh:

    [I may regret asking this question but Fran what is a moon-landing truther?]

    Someone who says the moon landings were faked. Sadly, we already have Sandy Hook truthers. I’m both surprised and surprised that I’m surprised — which is a pretty hard thing to achieve.

  24. confessions@687

    Mumble today is back to St Kevin vs the Earl mournful pining. But this made me blink:

    A few ALP supporters caricature Turnbull as a filthy-rich greedy capitalist, but many Labor true believers quite like him. He reminds them of the great Paul Keating: republican, economically dry, socially progressive (sort of), a doer, arrogant, massive ego, would not be dictated to by faction chiefs and opinion polls.

    MT is nothing like Paul Keating. Really, what has happened to Mumble.

    When Keating and the Earl were young they were described as ‘acolytes’ of Jack Lang. They used to visit him regularly to hear his views and talk about politics etc.

    Turnbull approached Labor many years ago to join the party, but even then they said no thanks.

  25. The coalition primary vote at 48% in Essential seems a good 4-5% higher than any other poll. Odd that, been like that for a while.

  26. WWP@752

    To be honest I have no interest in who Kevin Rudd aligned himself with.

    Over a year ago I had a discussion with Bemused and stated, or wtte, that, like most people, I was excited about the Kev07 juggernaut and what it would do for the country. That Mr Rudd, after a short space of tim, had me screaming at the television, imploring him to forget about wedging the opposition and ,ffs, just govern.Lead. Do some fkn thing except play politics. In short, I just don’t think that Mr Rudd was a good PM, or, as has been proved, a particularly loyal member of the parliamentary team. This a very subjective assessment and I make no apologies for it. But the only other people who had me screaming at the tv were John Howard and, ironically, the real Dorrie Evans on no. 96. No-one should have to go through what poor old Herb did.

    My personal veiw on Mr Rudds’ tax is/was that it was designed more to wedge the opposition than bring about change. That it blew up in his face is no surprise. Ask yourself this?…if, after some $22 million dollars spent, the mining lobby had continued their campaign, upping the ante, disregarding Ms Gillard, would we have a Labor Government, let alone one led by Ms Gillard. Do I feel sick to the stomach about these vested interests having so much power and clout. Yes, vehemently so. That politicians, faced with real world problems, have to negoitiate with them with one hand tied behind their backs? I hate it. The only way to negate them is with the full power of the legislature…ie:..a majority Govt.

    Having been a blue collar worker all my life I do despair at the likes of Paul Howes infesting unions. He is modern day Rob Cowles…those from WA will know who I mean. Paradoxically, I think Craig Thomson was trying to do the right and honest thing with the HSU. The union movement needs more Combets’, Shortens’ and, dare I say it, Hawkes. That they end up in politics is, in my veiw, beneficial to the country. They know and understand the enemy. The ones who put dogs and balaclavas on our wharves, shut down an airline and want to import cheap Asian labor.

    Did any of those men , standing under a tree in Barcaldine, outback Qld, ever believe it would have come to that?….a tree subsequently poisoned.

    So, WWP, after having proof read the above I probably haven’t answered you properly. I’m afraid my propensity to waffle overides most things in my life ….I apologise and hope you don’t find this as stupid a comment as you proffessed Confessions@708 to be.

  27. I’m going with Kevin’s Essential 2% bias to the Coalition and Newspoll’s 1% bias to Labor and sticking with 52/48 until we get more information.

  28. I just looked out the window there is this “huge” and I mean huge converted bus thing parked outside, guess as I am so close to the beach. Wouldn’t like to be paying the fuel bill for it. It is called “Pine Lodge”

  29. Article on Essential (paywalled)
    [Essential: hard-hearted public not convinced on dole boost
    BERNARD KEANE | JAN 21, 2013 12:52PM

    Most voters don’t share the view that Newstart benefits are too low and recipients are victims of circumstance, today’s Essential Report finds. Plus: who we trust the least (and it’s not journalists).

    Australians don’t share the growing view among commentators across the political spectrum that Newstart benefits are too low, according to today’s Essential Report. And power companies and the media are our least trusted industries.

    A third of voters believe Newstart benefits are not high enough, Essential found, but 30% believed they were “about right” and 25% thought they were actually too high.]

  30. On my first day in Crete, summer 1978, I thought I’d try a bottle of the Greek beer I’d heard so much about – retsina :). Worst hangover in my life, but lesson learned.

  31. [Turnbull approached Labor many years ago to join the party, but even then they said no thanks.]

    Yes, I was aware of that. IMO there’s more similarities between Turnbull and Rudd than there are between Turnbull and Keating.

  32. I can understand senior Australians reliant solely on their newspapers and nightly FTA ‘news’ being conservative voters but for the life of me I can’t understand how younger Australian fully aware of the unbiased facts, thanks to all the modern day sources of information, can favour the conservatives when choosing a policy direction.
    Totally bewildering.

  33. The miners…. knew weakness when they saw it. Rudd was stupid showing it to them.

    Murdoch & Abbott knew it too. Fran B has uttered a great truth there.

  34. [So, WWP, after having proof read the above I probably haven’t answered you properly. I’m afraid my propensity to waffle overides most things in my life ….I apologise and hope you don’t find this as stupid a comment as you proffessed Confessions@708 to be.]

    No I think confessions enjoys saying silly things about Rudd, that post I largely agree with. Sadly in Labor we have many more Howse and the Catanias they raise up, and very few Gallops and Hawkes.

  35. Of course, they couldn’t do this in practice because to have done so would have shattered the unity of the coalition base and nearly as bad, they’d have had to do the hard work of policy specification consulting that disrupted base and all of its sub-factions. The coalition would not have been able to stay united for 2 hours let alone 2 years

    Fran’s been reading my blog! Knew I’d get through to you 😉

Comments Page 17 of 18
1 16 17 18

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *