Seats of the week: Forde and Herbert

A double feature encompassing two of the LNP-held seats which Labor is eyeing greedily on the back of its Queensland poll resurgence.

UPDATE (Morgan): The weekly Morgan poll is little changed on last time, with Labor down half a point to 41.5%, the Coalition steady on 41%, and the Greens up two points to 9%. There is actually a slight move in Labor’s favour on two-party preferred as measured using preference flows from the previous election, presumably because of rounding, their lead up from 51.5-48.5 to 52-48. On respondent-allocated preferences, the lead is steady at 52.5-47.5. Regrettably, the poll does not come with state breakdowns, which keen observers among us had started to think would be a regular feature (as it surely should be with such a large sample size). We will surely have Newspoll along later this evening, while the regular Essential Research is delayed this week and will be along tomorrow.

Two for the price of one this week as I scramble to catch up with the Queensland seats suddenly deemed in play under Kevin Rudd 2.0 …

Seat of the week #1: Forde

Straddling the southern edge of Brisbane, Forde was one of a number of Queensland seats which fell Labor’s way under Kevin Rudd’s leadership at the 2007 election, only to be lost again in the wake of his demise three years later. The electorate contains the eastern part of the municipality of Logan City around Beenleigh and extends southwards along the Pacific Motorway to accommodate, somewhat awkwardly, the rapidly growing suburb of Upper Coomera at the interior northern edge of the Gold Coast. The latter area was acquired in the redistribution which preceded the 2010 election, when Forde provided the new seat of Wright with about a third of its voters in rural territories extending to the New South Wales border.

Forde was created with the expansion of parliament in 1984, at which time it covered Brisbane’s outer south-west. Liberal candidate David Watson won the seat on its debut by 43 votes, but was unseated after a single term at the 1987 election by Labor’s Mary Crawford. Watson would later return to politics in the state parliament, eventually leading the Liberal Party into a disastrous result at the 2001 election. Crawford meanwhile built up a handy margin on the back of swings in 1990 and 1993, before a punishing redistribution pulled the seat into the rural Beaudesert region on the New South Wales border. Thwarted in a bid to be reassigned to an outer suburban seat, in part as a consequence of the party’s determination to accommodate Kevin Rudd in Griffith, Crawford was left with no buffer to defend herself against the savage swing that hit Labor across Queensland, which struck in Forde to the tune of 9.6%.

Forde was then held for the Liberals throughout the Howard years by Kay Elson, who retained comfortable margins in 1998 and 2001 before enjoying a further 5.9% boost in 2004. Elson’s retirement at the 2007 election was presumably a factor behind the spectacular 14.4% swing to Labor, making the seat one of three in Queensland where Labor was able to overhaul double-digit Coalition margins. It was then held for a term by Brett Raguse, a former teacher, local newspaper publisher and TAFE college director who had more recently worked as an adviser to state ministers associated with the AWU/Labor Forum sub-faction of the Right. The aforementioned redistribution improved Raguse’s margin from 2.9% to 3.4%, but this proved insufficient at the 2010 election in the face of what by Queensland standards was a fairly typical swing of 5.0%.

The seat has since been held for the LNP by Bert van Manen, a financial planner from Slacks Creek who had run as the Family First candidate for Rankin in 2007. Van Manen’s Labor opponent at the coming election is Des Hardman, a radiographer at Logan Hospital. Brett Raguse meanwhile re-emerged as a candidate for the preselection to succeed Craig Emerson in the neighbouring seat of Rankin, in which he was narrowly unsuccessful despite claiming support from Kevin Rudd.

Seat of the week #2: Herbert

The Townsville-based electorate of Herbert has been in conservative hands without interruption since 1996, although it has been highly marginal throughout that time. The seat has existed since federation, at which time it extended north to Cairns and south to Mackay. More recently it has covered central Townsville and a shifting aggregation of surrounding territory, the pre-2010 election redistribution having transferred the southern suburbs of Annandale and Wulguru to Dawson and added Deeragun and its northern coastal surrounds from Kennedy. The strongest booths for Labor are generally around the town centre, while those in the outer suburbs tend to be more volatile as well as more conservative, having moved strongly with the statewide tides toward Labor in 2007 and against it in 2004 and 2010. Lavarack Barracks makes the electorate highly sensitive to defence issues, with the sector accounting for about one in eight jobs in the electorate. Presumably as a consequence, the electorate is unusually youthful, the median age of 32 being four years lower than for any other seat in regional Queensland.

Herbert was a working class and Labor seat for much of its history, being in Labor hands until the 1960s and turning in a 34.2% vote for Communist Party candidate Frederick Paterson in 1943 (Paterson went on to win the state seat of Bowen the following year, the only such success for a Communist candidate in Australian history). A watershed moment came with the victory of Liberal candidate Robert Bonnett in the 1966 landslide, which was followed by further Liberal swings against the trend of the 1969 and 1972 elections. The seat came back on Labor’s radar after the 1980 election, when their candidate Ted Lindsay succeeded in reducing the Liberal margin to below 1%. Lindsay went one better when he ran again in 1983, gaining the seat with a 3.7% swing and retaining it throughout the Hawke-Keating years. Together with most of his Queensland Labor colleagues he was unseated at the 1996 election, when unrelated Liberal candidate Peter Lindsay won off a 9.0% swing. Ted Lindsay came within 160 votes of pulling off a comeback in 1998, before Peter Lindsay consolidated with swings of 1.5% in 2001 and 4.7% in 2004. He survived another close shave by 343 votes in 2007, a swing to Labor of 5.9% being slightly below a statewide 7.5% which cost the Coalition eight seats.

Lindsay bowed out at the 2010 election and was succeeded as candidate for the Liberal National Party by Ewen Jones, an auctioneer for local real estate agency Ferry Property. Jones’s Labor opponent was Tony Mooney, who served for nearly two decades as mayor of Townsville and earned a footnote in Australian political history when his failure to win the 1996 Mundingburra by-election for Labor led to the downfall of the Goss government. Perhaps reflecting the loss of Lindsay’s personal vote, Jones picked up what by Queensland standards was a modest swing of 2.2%, which was nonetheless enough to secure his hold on a seat which the redistribution had made, by the narrowest of margins, notionally Labor. Jones’s Labor opponent this time is Cathy O’Toole, a former chief executive of a disability employment service and member of the Left faction.

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.

2,266 comments on “Seats of the week: Forde and Herbert”

Comments Page 1 of 46
1 2 46
  1. Appropriate for the first post on these QLD seats is a quote from Campbell Newman on the AS issue. On a par with Sarah Palin’s experience with foreign affairs.

    [Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said that given that people could ”row across in a tinnie or a canoe” from PNG into Queensland, the agreement with PNG would see a new wave of immigration through the Torres Strait.

    ”What Kevin Rudd has done is take Australia’s problem and make it Queensland’s problem,” he said. ”The Torres Strait is a porous border right now, porous in that many, many people come across the strait from PNG in Queensland each year.

    ”It’s only four kilometres from PNG on to the soil of Queensland. What Kevin Rudd is doing is creating a launching pad for a wave of additional ongoing immigration from PNG into Queensland, either legal or illegal.”]

  2. frednk
    Posted Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Posted Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 12:14 am | Permalink


    I think you are right with that.
    Attitudes have hardened as may be seen on PB where Psephos has had considerable success in convincing others who previously disagreed with his views.

    Psephos is one screwed up puppy; hopfully no-one takes him seriously.

    Suggesting that there be no Visas policy makes no sense if your only option is to drown them, create an underclass in Australia because they can’t can’t work or lock them up forever.

    Rudd’s brillance in this case is to come up with a forth option.

  3. Someone should tell Campbell to stop the pay rises instead. If it is so easy to get from PNG to Australia, why don’t asylum seekers do that now, rather than pay money to risk a long dangerous sea voyage?

    Meanwhile it looks like the new policy is working already. Note the real problem referred to of long delays and waiting lists in Indonesia.
    [Upon hearing the news that they could no longer claim asylum in Australia, some Afghan Hazaras waiting in Indonesia’s Puncak area said they would not make the journey to Australia.

    Muhammad Asif, who spoke to the ABC via a translator, asked the Government to take pity on asylum seekers and said Australia should fund the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to help process their claims.

    The deal: Key points

    Asylum seekers who arrive by boat will never be settled in Australia
    They will be sent to Manus Island or elsewhere in PNG for assessment
    Genuine refugees will be resettled in PNG
    The agreement will be in place for at least the next 12 months
    There will be no cap on the number of refugees to be settled in PNG
    Manus Island detention centre to be expanded to house 3,000, up from its original capacity of 600
    The UNHCR office in Jakarta is drastically underfunded and understaffed and has a backlog of more than 8,000 protection claims.

    Asylum seekers are told it can take two years just to get refugee status.]

  4. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    Well the Aussies have the Poms’ backs t the wall in the cricket!
    It might be having an effect already.
    And the government is putting a $200k bounty on people smuggling operations sourced from Australia.
    Let’s hope this goes a long way to stopping this gisgusting practice in our country.

  5. sprocket_, surely Cambpell Newman didn’t fail to foresee the obvious response and address it, which is that one would expect any PNG-settled refugee who makes the short trip to Queensland to simply be deported back to PNG. Surely not.

  6. Haaa ! thanks frednk, geoff lemon does that well.
    Vehemence, I think carries it.

    “Stop acting like Shane Watson !!”

  7. [On a par with Sarah Palin’s experience with foreign affairs.]


    For once, Newman isn’t lying. He’s simply stating the obvious & well known. And he’s correct; though, being a “migrant” from Oz’s DeepSouth and a Liberal, he’s dog-whistling & spinning AS peril in a most disgraceful way.

    BTW, both OH’s & my parents lived in Cairns; my elder sisters boarded at Cooktown Convent; my father’s sisters, a (Chinese-Irish) sister-in-law & their families lived in the Far North; my brother-in-law, his sons & grandchildren live in the Far North; I’ve holidayed in the Far North since childhood; so, unlike some, I do know what I’m talking about.

    Yesterday #1487 in reply to the question:

    [So I take it that all the people that arrive by boat will be sent to PNG.

    From there what next?]

    I wrote:

    [For those intrepid enough to come by leaky boat? Over the Owen Stanley, of course! Thence to the southern coastline & by tinny across Torres Strait, whence they’ll disappear into Top End & local employment, where hardly anyone will ever ask to see a passport etc, esp if the hirer is Tax-shy (ie a goodly number of them).]

    Which just happens to be a common enough occurrence for me to know it’s seen as quite normal: as in, “Yeah. So what?”

    Anyone who’s used to Oz’s Top End’s knows how very porous its northern borders are – and always have been. Not that tolerant, laid-back Top Enders (except a few rabid racists), who live in the multi-racial, multi-coloured Far North seem to notice or care. That’s life in the Top End!

    Over the last c130 years, FNQ has, in addition to Indigenous people, had (& integrated) significant populations of Chinese miners (mainly Coolies – Palmer River); Japanese working in the pearling industry, other Asians employed in national construction & agriculture (eg Afghanis, Indians, Malayas), Blackbirded Kanakas, other Pacific Islanders, Southern Europeans (inc Italian, Greeks, Yugoslavs) to work, then buy, the cane-fields; multi-racial workforces to mine silver, lead & zinc (Mt Isa) uranium (Mary Kathleen) – descendants of whom still live in the Far North – and they are only examples of Far NQ’s multi-cultural history, settlers, workforce & communities.

    IMO, potential migrants willing to leave what they love behind to make the perilous journeys through several countries, even brave death at sea in leaky boats, to find a better life for their families – as white Europeans free-settlers did for more than a century, preFederation – are exactly the type of migrants this country needs.

    And, yes. The chances of refugees’ staying in New Guinea when it IS so easy to “take a tinny” across Torres Strait, to the Top End isn’t, imo, great. But that’s the type of guts that built this nation – and has done so for tens of thousands of years!

    Oz’s current AS policies, of both parties, disgust me absolutely!

  8. And from the Land of the Free –

    Unsurprisingly the Trayvon Martin trial decision has sparked country-wide protests.
    The video of this amazing performance has gone viral Wait till the very end.
    Bill Maher’s “New Rules”
    Some cartoons on the prospect of Liz Cheney running for the Senate.
    Bill Maher on Obama’s speech on the culture of suspiscion following black people around.
    And FoxNews goes all classy over it – especially the disgusting Sean Hannity.

  9. OPT uhuh, There in Nth Qld, up the coast aways from Karumba, a complete settlement had been established and was supporting a fishing community, when was this, early nineties ? V. quietly hushed away.

  10. OPT

    The thing is any one who crosses from PNG to Australia will by definition be an illegal worker and not eligible for residency. If caught they will be returned to PNG.

    Actually If there are jobs in the far North I have no problem with any PNG citizen (whether originally form Iran or Sri Lanka or from PNG) working.

  11. OPT, where do people who sneak across to north Queensland live? I’m surprised that it’s so far removed from bureaucracy that you can happily live and work there with no Australian documentation or a bank account.

  12. OPT

    It will be much easier to patrol the waters (and skies) between PNG and Australia than it is to patrol the Indian Ocean.

    I would think that as PNG develops that smuggling of all kinds will grow as an issue and therefore security must be stepped up.

    I am personally worried about biosecurity. I assume that Australian rabies (euphemistically termed “bat lyssa virus” but rabies in every other possible sense of the term – including Koch’s test))is a relatively new import across the strait. Possibly Hendra also although this is less clear.

  13. Newman should be more worried about people trying to escape Queensland through his porous borders.

  14. Newman should be more worried about people trying to escape Queensland through his porous borders.

  15. trust moddy to emulate the balancing act/worlds best practice…. I’ve seen his Loaded Dog Variety Act, pretty impressive …..

  16. I often wondered what happens when people cannot produce an medicare card, and the hospital decides to help you out by looking up your number for you and your not registered,
    and people have no bank account so can only be paid in cash. so the person paying the cash knows you have no bank account ect ect. must be very hard in this modern cashless society, once we go to no cash which I be will happen then its impossible, unless some one spends their whole life looking after that person re food ect,

  17. Sp

    ‘Queensland Premier Campbell Newman said that given that people could ”row across in a tinnie or a canoe” from PNG into Queensland, the agreement with PNG would see a new wave of immigration through the Torres Strait.’


  18. Kelly on Agenda saying that Rudd’s asylum seeker policy is very ‘harsh’.


    Kelly and the Greens on the same page, both inadvertantly helping Rudd who is targetting voters who want ‘harsh’.

  19. it means, in this context an accurate discription of your status on PB, and you’re wedgied….. yowsers……

  20. ….. to do likewise…..
    ….. to imitate …..
    and, (this is you, moddy)
    ….. contend, be in contention…..


  21. The contract for the eight Customs Cape Class patrol boats was around $320 million. I am not sure what the includes in terms of the maintenance elements. It would not include crewing costs and fuel.

    Our asylum seeker industry is not cheap.

  22. Howard wanted to buy up all the old Fairchild PB’s and refurble them a la that astronomical chopper conpract….. whatsit ?

  23. Kelly has upgraded ‘harsh’ to ‘brutal’ and tried to get Carr to agree that it was ‘brutal’.

    Carr’s response: ‘It is brutally honest.’

    Mind you Kelly has never thought that any of Abbott’s policies were ‘harsh’.

    I never would have guessed that Kelly is a closet Hanson-Youngite.

  24. frednk

    [I thought we has truthy with his tinny dealing with this!]

    Truthys tinnie was up for auction at the recent police seized goods auction.

    Rumour has it he was over the limit, heaps of Jenny crabs, and his boat and vehicle were forfeited to pay the fines.

  25. [Most Australuans seem to want harsh Paul.]

    No most Australians want to be in control and have a say in who gets here. The only way to do that is to be harsh in current circumstances.

  26. Oh and i should say that most Australian’s think that taking control by solving all the worlds problems (the solution of a number here) is just insane.

  27. [2385
    Posted Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 9:11 am | PERMALINK
    crikey whitey
    Posted Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 6:28 pm | PERMALINK

    ‘I really do wonder about these High Court challenges.

    They seem to happen when Labor tries to do something’.

    Put’s one in mind of the police, State and Fed.

    Albeit pursuing only the non LNP suspects.

    Not hard to debunk a myth. TryCommunist Party challenge under the Menzies govt or Patricks under Howard where the High Court resisted or blocked Federal Govt action.

    Next time someone cheers a HC result, that person may pause to consider cliched assertions about elites etc which passed for debate last night.

  28. [ Gaffhook
    Posted Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Truthys tinnie was up for auction at the recent police seized goods auction.


    Well Newman needs to do something about it.

  29. [WeWantPaul
    Posted Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 9:11 am | PERMALINK
    Oh and i should say that most Australian’s think that taking control by solving all the worlds problems (the solution of a number here) is just insane.]

    Its not about solving the world’s problems (although we should play our part in that as well), its about doing our duty. I don’t think its acceptable sending women and children to a country where Australians are advised by DFAT to “exercise a high degree of caution” and where they are driven to and from their hotels because it is too unsafe to walk around.

  30. Is any other bludger in astonishment, like me, at the speed with wich the PNG Procedure has effectively stopped th’boasts, er boats, (both?)

  31. That may be so Mod Lib, but as someone here noted a couple of days ago:

    Using that logic, every citizen of PNG would be entitled to seek asylum in Australia, on the grounds that living in PNG is unsafe.

  32. [ I don’t think its acceptable sending women and children to a country where Australians are advised by DFAT to “exercise a high degree of caution” and where they are driven to and from their hotels because it is too unsafe to walk around.]

    So what is your solution?

  33. We do take people from PNG because it is unsafe. I know, because I have done health checks on them and later heard that they were accepted!

    The fact that we should treat people who are seeking asylum in Australia kindly is not the same as saying that we are obliged to take all the 10 million in Australia.

    This is an excuse for treating them badly and it doesn’t wash.

  34. I am still waiting for Milne or Sarah Handwringing-Young to tell us how many AS we should accept and once that number, whatever it is, is exceeded, what would they do.

  35. A High Court challenge could be generated by the time of the election given the analogous time frame in which Malaysia was commenced, argued and then determined n 2011.

    Justice Gageler’s view, as always, will be interesting. He argued Malaysia for the Commonwealth as Commonwealth Solicitor General and none too enthusiastically from a reading of the transcript.

  36. Abbott’s response that he welcomes the policy change but it won’t work with Rudd in charge was very weak. It’s what you get when you are wrong-footed and have to response within hours.

  37. Please elaborate ML.

    These asylum seekers from PNG you cite, what were their grounds for having a well-founded fear of persecution?

    PNG is a democracy, and a signatory to the refugee convention. It may be a bit of a hellhole but for a person in Iran or Afghanistan wishing to get away from a well-founded fear of persecution in their home country, surely it is better than staying put.

  38. To think Labor has out manouevred the Libs on the harshest AS policy.

    The Libs will be crying in to their beers.

  39. Yes Abbott is all over the map on this. His bumbling efforts to find a negative angle just expose him for the fraud he is.

    Abbott can’t bear the thought that Rudd has devised a more effective solution to this intractable problem.

Comments Page 1 of 46
1 2 46

Leave a Reply

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