Seat of the week: Capricornia

It took the landslide defeats of the Whitlam and Keating governments to loosen Labor’s grip on the central Queensland seat of Capricornia. The risk of a repeat has increased with the recently announced retirement of sitting member Kirsten Livermore.

The central Queensland electorate of Capricornia has existed since federation, with Rockhampton as its constant as boundaries shifted over the years. It currently has Rockhampton at its southern coastal end, from which it extends northwards to the southern outskirts of Mackay and westwards through farming and coal mining communities as far as Belyando 250 kilometres inland. Rockhampton has kept the seat strong for Labor for most of its history, the party’s only defeats after 1961 coming with the demise of the Whitlam and Keating governments in 1975 and 1996 (the margin on the former occasion being 136 votes).

The proverbial baseball bat having been wielded in 1996, the seat was recovered for Labor in 1998 by Kirsten Livermore, member of the “soft Left” tendency associated with Martin and Laurie Ferguson. Livermore picked up an 8.8% swing on her debut and retained the seat with reasonably comfortable margins thereafter, until an 8.7% swing in 2007 boosted it to very safe territory. Then came a 0.7% redistribution adjustment followed by an 8.4% swing amid the Queensland backlash of 2010, which reined it back to 3.7%. In December 2012 she announced she would not seek another term, as she wished to spend more time with her family.

A preselection to choose Livermore’s successor was held in February and won by Peter Freeleagus, a Moranbah miner, former Belyando Shire mayor and current Isaac Regional councillor. This was despite the local party ballot being won 65-37 by Paul Hoolihan, who along with most of his Labor colleagues lost his seat of Keppel at the 2012 state election. However, Hoolihan was overwhelmed by a 41-9 to win for Freeleagus in the 50% component of the vote determined by the state party’s electoral college, which consists mostly of union delegates. Michael McKenna of The Australian reported that Freeleagus was backed by the Left faction CFMEU, but also harnessed support from the AWU Right at the behest of Wayne Swan. The implication appeared to be that this was a counter to Kevin Rudd, whose “Old Guard” Right faction included Hoolihan. The deal was also said to require that the Left back AWU Right over Old Guard candidates in future state preselections.

The Liberal National Party has again endorsed its candidate from 2010, Michelle Landry, who owns a small book-keeping business in Yeppoon. Landry won preselection ahead of real estate agent Alan Cornick and anti-council amalgamation campaigner Paul Lancaster.

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.

2,019 comments on “Seat of the week: Capricornia”

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  1. victoria@1998


    You are the master of idiocy. You are forever prattling on about something, but it never appears to be detrimental to the fibs. Enough said. Im bored

    Don’t bother me with confessions of your lack of intellect. I’m not interested.

  2. [The media is obviously working to an agenda, so let’s work around that, and get the message out in other ways.

    As I’ve said before, win, lose or draw, you can at least sit down on the night of September 14 and know that you did everything you possibly could to get the result you want.]

    Zoomster – way to go. I’ll be ecstatic if Labor win but, if we have no chance, I want to go down fighting til 6pm on 14/9.

  3. BH,
    Sorry for not providing a link but I don’t know how to but if you find some way of getting said program you may like to pass it around yourself as my computer skills are limited but learning bit by bit.Sorry againm

  4. well, so far on my query to Abbotts office about his meetings with News Ltd, i have gotten the automated reply about how he gets so many emails and doesn’t have anything like the resources of the Govt to answer them all.

    Will await any further correspondence, but not holding my breath.

    Still, although the OM are silent so far, the story does seem to be starting to get out there.

    Hmmm… email Laurie Oakes i’m thinking….. 🙂

  5. “@justinbarbour: RT @TheTweetOfGod: “The Bible” running on the History Channel is like “Dragons” running on Animal Planet.”

  6. @Bh/2003

    I’m not concerned at this point, reviewing the few years with polls being up and down.

    Senator Conroy now on the attack run.

    Conroy said that if the Coalition tries to “tear up the contracts” that NBN Co is signing, it would be engaging in sovereign risk. He questioned why Turnbull would want to stop NBN Co from signing new contracts if the Coalition is committed to completing the NBN project.

  7. zoomster@1994


    They used to be much more open and welcoming.

    Funny what death threats will do!

    When I first worked in the Benalla electorate office, it was very open and welcoming.

    A few death threats (which were drunken pranks) and we had security alarms all over the place.

    Nothing to do with any demands from us, but that’s the way the Parliamentary services react to any threats (they’re the official owners of the property, after all, not the MPs, who are merely tenants).

    I think it is unfortunate and the security has just gone right over the top.

    Surely there is a compromise position that could be arrived at?

  8. [Scarpat
    Posted Monday, March 4, 2013 at 12:38 pm | PERMALINK
    “You know Abbott has lunch at News Corp every week, don’t you?”

    Has this been put out on twitter to see if any person in the know (journalists) responds or whether it has been/will be met with deathly silence?]

    See my comment 1896m from Paul B a very decent journo

  9. bluepill@1829

    [ As I have been studying the furniture of PB longterm I have noticed that commenters tend to follow predictable and increasingly narrow patterns of argument, often reduced to a line, phrase or even just a label.

    This is pretty common ]

    I have been studying bluepill dating back years and have noticed that he tend to follow predictable and increasingly narrow patterns of argument, often reduced to a line, phrase or even just a label.

    This is pretty common…

    The claims you attempt to make, work pretty well aimed back at you.

  10. BH
    If you go to the Meet the Press site scroll down the bottom to the area of small blue writing in the middle column you will find Meet the Press name you click on that it takes you to another page with a picture of the female host,under this you find a largish blue box which has meet the press on it,click on that box and on the left hand side you will find the feed for Mr Shortens interview hope this helps BH.

  11. Bore=war

    [You poor thing. Go ahead, do your worst. Vote for Abbott.]

    Right on cue my fellow coffee table! Parroted a party line to perfection. Very proud of you (and Jules would be too!)

  12. Poroti @1849

    Ha, Ha.. it would have been naive of me to not consider the moniker carefully! Actually the inspiration was the matrix (I think the source of the dichotomy) but I also chose it ironically, since those around me were acting more like they were prepared to settle for the fantasy of party groupthink but align themselves with the old red of socialism/labor movements.

    Someone also suggested a reference to another ‘blue pill’ which they found appropriate since “I was a dick”. I actually did laugh out loud with that.. it was a genuinely good joke.

    One other person early on also thought that I was ‘obviously’ a Lib (because no one else in the human race likes the colour otherwise, I guess) and that I was ‘a pill’. I think the second swipe was funnier than this!

    So how far down this “rabbit hole” do you want to go?”, Poroti ? 😉

  13. GG & Boer

    [Yea, the old I’ve been a Labor person for years but,….. routine seems to be alive and well with Bluepill.]

    er, no. Testament to the pseudo-religion that party politics is for you boys (hey, whatever floats your boat!) is that you use the “lapsed laborite” language, much like “lapsed catholic”.

    No. No memberships, not been to a single branch meeting of any party, ever. I am not a member of a party. I know here that is akin to being on an AFL forum and not barracking for a team but commenting on the game of AFL.. but, gentlemen, that is the truth. You do have trouble believing the (real) truth though, don’t you? 😉

  14. Puff

    I am so proud of you reading something other than glossy ALP literature, well done.

    Yeah, nice to see that you can even look stuff up on the internet.. keep going!

    I teach the stuff, I have to read journals about cognition and neuroscience and deal with research on it, so yeah, it is an area of interest. Processes do shift and grow from various parts of the brain during normal development and expression of emotion is one of these.

    You correctly stated that aggressive male behaviour can be associated with enlarged Amygdalae (well actually you talked about the reduction of such behaviour by restriction of the Amygdala in cattle, the effect is the complement). During normal emotional development, emotive responses in the Amygdala are moderated by critical thinking/moral /higher order judgement in the Cerebrum.

    There was nothing wrong with my post.. you just need to know more about the topic before commenting critically, but that is completely ok, go and do it.

  15. Dave

    Ha ha! I am flattered by your comment!
    [I have been studying bluepill dating back years and have noticed that he tend to follow predictable and increasingly narrow patterns of argument, often reduced to a line, phrase or even just a label.

    This is pretty common…

    The claims you attempt to make, work pretty well aimed back at you.]

    The reason why I am flattered is that very few people ever confess that my arguments are brief!!!

  16. [Diogenes
    Posted Monday, March 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm | PERMALINK
    A Labor Minister has dinner every night with the Editor of News Ltd. ]

    Nasty NEWS Ltd will do anything to bring down this government, even wedding off there own Editors to Labor ministers for inside information.

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