Seat of the week: Longman

Elected in 2010 at the age of 20, Wyatt Roy looked to be cruising to an easy second term as member for his seat on Brisbane’s northern fringe. Now post-Ruddstoration opinion polling suggests he has a real fight on his hands.

Longman is centred on Caboolture and Burpengary in Brisbane’s outer north, from which it extends eastwards to Bribie Island and the mainland coast immediately opposite and westwards to the semi-rural townships of Woodford and D’Aguilar. The seat was created at the 1996 election from territory that had mostly been in Fisher, which thereafter assumed a more coastal orientation along the southern half of the Sunshine Coast. Caboolture and Bribie Island have been the constants of the electorate amid frequently changing boundaries, which have variously appended the electorate’s core either with outer northern Brisbane suburbs or semi-rural hinterland. The former was most evident when the boundaries encompassed the coastal suburb of Deception Bay at the time of the 2007 election, which was the only occasion thus far when the seat has been won by Labor. This area was transferred to Petrie in the redistribution before the 2010 election, with Longman regaining the Woodford and D’Aguilar area it had temporarily lost to Fisher.

Longman had a notional Liberal margin of 1.6% on its creation at the 1996 election, to which the party’s candidate Mal Brough added a further 10.0% in the context of a disastrous result for Labor throughout Queensland. Brough was nonetheless lucky to survive the 1998 election after a 1.6% redistribution shift and a 9.1% swing back to Labor left him with only 0.5% to spare. After picking up successive swings of 1.8% in 2001 and 5.2% in 2004, Brough’s margin was pegged back by redistribution to 6.6% going into the 2007 election. By this time Brough had emerged as a senior figure in the Howard government, serving progressively as Employment Services Minister from 2001 to 2004, Assistant Treasurer and Revenue Minister from 2004 to 2006, and Families and Community Services and Indigenous Affairs from 2006 until the Howard government’s defeat a year later. His profile was considerably raised by the latter role, in which he oversaw the government’s sweeping intervention into Northern Territory indigenous communities.

Longman gave Labor one of its most rewarding victories of the 2007 election when Brough was dumped by a 10.3% swing, which was notably more concentrated in low-income Caboolture than the more affluent Bribie Island. Labor’s winning candidate was Jon Sullivan, who had served the area in state parliament from 1989 as member for Glass House and Caboolture, before losing the latter seat to One Nation in 1998. The exchange of urban for semi-rural territory at the 2010 election reduced the Labor margin from 3.6% to 1.9%, though even the pre-redistribution margin would have been insufficient against the 3.8% swing Sullivan suffered amid an election result which cost Labor seven of its 15 Queensland seats. His cause was not aided by a late campaign gaffe committed during a public forum broadcast on ABC Radio, in which he drew jeers from the audience after responding critically to a question posed by the father of a disabled child.

The LNP’s victory was especially noteworthy in returning a candidate who at 20 years of age was the youngest person ever elected to an Australian parliament. Wyatt Roy had won preselection at a local party ballot the previous March, at which time the seat was not considered one the party had much cause to be optimistic about. A University of Queensland student, electorate officer to state Glass House MP Andrew Powell and president of the Sunshine Coast Young Liberal National Party, Roy reportedly impressed party members with his pitch at the preselection meeting, and performed well in subsequent media appearances. His win in the ballot ahead of former Caboolture councillor Peter Flannery and local businessman Steve Attrill was confirmed by the party’s state council, despite criticism from Mal Brough who queried how such a candidate would connect with the the electorate’s “large component of veterans and seniors”.

Labor’s candidate for the coming election is Michael Caisley, an organiser with the Left faction United Voice union (formerly the Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Workers Union). Meanwhile, Mal Brough will be seeking to return to politics as LNP candidate for the electorate’s northern neighbour, Fisher.

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.

2,056 comments on “Seat of the week: Longman”

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  1. Darren – of course. I’m just saying, if we look at the 2010 election campaign, from where it began, to suggest Abbott lost or was a poor campaigner is wrong. He’s a very effective campaigner.

  2. The polls rose quickly and can head south just as fast.
    If Turnbull is the ‘smart’ man he claims to be he won’t give into temptation over patience.

  3. Rudd went to the election he won promising an ETS, we have an ETS. People have accepeted at ETS. Rudd can claim a mandate.

    Abbott can wank on as much as they like;

    On the other hand the brand new Liberal ad needs to be dealt with.

    Labor needs to point out that they spent 100 million dollars a day (if that is the figure) at the peak of the GFC to stop people losing thier job, the Liberals might not care about such details but Labor does.

    Use the ad to attack the fact that the Liberals don’t care if people lose thir job.

    Parhaps Labor could go on to point out Europe has leaders that though like Abbott and they are still no out of the recession caused by policies such as he is advocating.

    Not a three word slogon.


    “Vote for a recession, vote Abbot”.

    is six.

    What about

    “Recession, Unemployment, Liberal”

  4. [Darren – of course. I’m just saying, if we look at the 2010 election campaign, from where it began, to suggest Abbott lost or was a poor campaigner is wrong. He’s a very effective campaigner.]

    Yes and no. Hard to say when something fairly unprecedented happens to the other side (cf. Rudd/Tanner leaks to Oakes).

    He was disciplined, but also had a very disciplined media behind him, especially ABC — who can forget Melissa Clarke even referring to the Coalition as “us”, just days out from the election?

  5. Psephos@2007

    9 wickets down and 30 runs to get! It’s like waiting for the late results from WA on election night!

    Time for a spot of Henry Newbolt ?

    [ There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night—
    Ten to make and the match to win—
    A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
    An hour to play and the last man in.
    And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
    Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
    But his captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
    “Play up! play up! and play the game!”

    The sand of the desert is sodden red,—
    Red with the wreck of a square that broke;—
    The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead,
    And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
    The river of death has brimmed his banks,
    And England’s far, and Honour a name,
    But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
    “Play up! play up! and play the game!”

    This is the word that year by year,
    While in her place the school is set,
    Every one of her sons must hear,
    And none that hears it dare forget.
    This they all with a joyful mind
    Bear through life like a torch in flame,
    And falling fling to the host behind—
    “Play up! play up! and play the game!” ]

  6. Psephos

    Posted Sunday, July 14, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    9 wickets down and 30 runs to get! It’s like waiting for the late results from WA on election night!

    difference the result is nearly always known. WA is generally just a side show

  7. thank you guytuar

    am I the only one here that see the karma

    in this,,,

    three years all we have heard from abbott is the carbon tax

    no he has nothing to say

    the universe is have the last say,, with abbott

    more karma may be

    u cannot spend every day and every minute saying awful thing s about people including julla

    and get away with it,

    something has to give,

    I wonder if JG was going to do the same thing.

    but it would of been harder because it would of been turned around back on her some how.

    so this is how it had to be,( smile face}

  8. [Saw the anti-Rudd ad on the TV earlier.

    To me it was annoying and idiotic and made me want to punch the man doing the condescending voice-over.]

    I thought that was a good ad, for Labor. Lots of pictures of Rudd and lots of negative sounding stuff from the Opposition. Contrast much?

    Like others have said, Rudd could do the old trick of using this in the background, pausing it…and etc. They make his point for him.

    All he then says is Abbott has nothing to offer Australia.

    And going on current polls Labor is in the winning position, just. But you wouldn’t bet on it and you would want to wait to see that settled, and the state break downs confirmed.

    For the timing of the election only the Rudd team will know how things are really looking and if they have a strategy that can hurt the Coalition some more. They have saved the Senate guaranteed, and saved a bunch of furniture…so first two goals well achieved.

  9. who was it given out caught behind from a bouncer when Aus needed a couple of runs to win.. TV showed he hadn’t hit it.. Craig McDermott?

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