Seat of the week: Wright

Because nothing says Merry Christmas like a review of a safe-ish conservative seat in south-eastern Queensland.

Wright was created at the 2010 election as the latest new seat to be gained by Queensland as part of its ongoing population boom, taking on territory from the Gold Coast electorates of McPherson, Moncrieff and Fadden together with rural areas out to the New South Wales border, which had previously been in Forde and to a smaller extent Rankin. The Gold Coast area had historically been covered by Moreton and later by McPherson and Moncrieff, which were respectively created with the enlargements of parliament in 1949 and 1984, while the north-western areas were covered by Darling Downs and its successor Groom after 1984.

The electorate is lacking a clear centre, combining the inland edge of the Gold Coast and Brisbane’s southern hinterland, Warrego Highway towns to the east of Toowoomba, and rural territory in between. All of its component areas have traditionally been solid for the conservatives, but double-digit swings in Forde and Blair at the 2007 election gave the seat a relatively modest notional Liberal/Nationals margin of 4.8% going into the 2010 election. This has since been boosted by successive swings of 6.4% and 1.7% at the 2010 and 2013 elections.

Wright has been held since its inception by Scott Buchholz, who had previously been chief-of-staff to Barnaby Joyce. Although his background was with the Nationals, the seat had been reserved for the Liberals under the terms of Liberal National Party merger and he sits in the Liberal party room in Canberra. The LNP’s original choice for the seat had been Hajnal Ban, a Logan City councillor who ran for the Nationals in for Forde at the 2007 election. However, Ban was dumped for failing to disclose Civil and Administrative Tribunal action against her over her use of power-of-attorney over the finances of an elderly former council colleague, for which a conviction was recorded against her in 2012. An unsuccessful contender at both preselections was Cameron Thompson, who held Blair for the Liberals from 1998 until his defeat in 2007. Buchholz attained the position of government whip following the election of the Abbott government in September 2013.

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.

1,040 comments on “Seat of the week: Wright”

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  1. BK

    Appreciate the work you put in with your daily reads. Thank you.

    To All PB’rs

    A belated Happy Christmas and may 2014 see a progression of good news for the resurgent ALP. Maybe for the Aussie’s who voted Team (?) Abbott this is the Government they had to have?

  2. Well, what a surprise – Cosgrove to be next GG, totally political and uninspiring, Howard’s mate, and regular Liberal Party fund-raiser supporter.

    The more thigs change, the more they stay the same.

  3. Morning all, and happy boxing day. Thanks for the links BK. the US retailing story is part of a wide trend for people to shop less and save more. Some Aussie retailers and developers have not caught up with this yet.

    Forgot my manners yesterday; thanks to William for all the wonderful work through the year, and thanks for leaving us at large over the break.

  4. Also Lizzie and CTar thanks for the recipe advice on brandy cream 🙂 My talents do not lie strongly in the kitchen, but I will pass it on to a higher authority.

  5. Hubby notes that my typing is softer with this device. He likes that. According to him, the volume of my typing with a laptop is strongly correlated with my emotional investment in the content of the post. He can distinguish when I’m posting about deeply held ethical or political matters from mere banter.

  6. Warm and humid in Melbourne with cloud cover probably for most of the day. Some chance of the occaisional rain squall.

    I would expect the ball to hoop around. Could be a good day to bowl first. Regardless of who wins the toss there will be pleny of action in the slips cordon, methinks.

  7. Morning all

    I was speaking to a family member yesterday who works in the adminsitration area of Westfield.
    The sales figures for this christrmas are way down on last year. Customers still attended the shopping complexes in droves, but did not spend accordingly. Westfield do understand that online shopping from overseas retailers are affecting sales in a dramatic way.
    But of course, they are reluctant to relieve pressure on retailers who lease space from them. As that is the single biggest thing that can be done to assist retailers at this time.

  8. My family favourite artery hardener with the Heart Foundation Smart Food tick (not) is

    Brandy butter
    125g butter
    1 cup icing sugar
    2 slugs of brandy , less than 5

    Beat it together until looks like whipped cream
    Scoop into serving bowls cover with Gladwrap, refrigerate until ready to serve.

    Its a forgiving recipe where you can approximate the portions but use good ingrediants

  9. Victoria I don’t think we spend up as frantically for Christmas as we used to, or is that just my different life stage? If it is my different life stage then retailers should remember that the average Australian is 38 years old, in the 1960s the average age of Australians was 14

    People’s disposable income is now spent on their mobile phone accounts and their iTunes and Amazon downloads

    More people do Kris Kringles for adults

    I was surprised to see Sportscraft had a 30% off sale every where before Christmas.

    Perhaps retailers need to get with the program and undertake genuine research into potential markets rather than engaging in wishful thinking and oversight by mediocre management.

  10. billie

    There are many factors impacting on the profitability margins of retailers. One thing is for sure, Retailers want penalty rates to go asap, and they are counting on the coalition to assist in that area.

  11. fess,

    If you can be bothered reading Shanahan’s commentary on the Cosgrove appointment, there is a shift in his view of Abbott and his Government.

    A couple of weeks(days??) ago, he was lauding Abbott for making a damn good start.

    Reality seems to have caught up with that assessment and now Abbott is deeply disliked and not trusted by the voters. However, Shanahan does contend that appointing someone popular like Cosgrove to GG may improve Abbott’s popularity because he made a popular decision.

    Here’s some straws Denis. Show us your clutch!

  12. Aww, I wanted Johnny to be GG, if only for the delicious sight of John Winston Howard swearing in the new Shorten Labor government in 2016.

  13. GG:

    More on Shanahan’s commentary:

    [Only three weeks after claiming that the Coalition frontbench was using every crisis to grow in confidence – which given that the Coalition had a large part in causing them, suggested a quite unique winning formula – Shanahan now claimed that the poll slip showed the public becoming increasingly disillusioned.

    It’s hard to see why. After all, it’s not as though expectations were high to begin with. Probably more striking than the public’s unenthusiastic welcome to the new government was its unenthusiastic anticipation before it had even arrived. Polls in the run up to the September election showed that not only was the Liberals’ leader unpopular, but so were most of its policies. Labor’s positions on the NBN, public services, Gonski, industry support were more popular. There was a majority for abolishing the carbon tax (not a huge one) yet overwhelming support for doing something about climate change that was certainly not the Coalition’s Direct Action plan.]

  14. Cosgrove is a bad choice but better than Howard. I cannot stand The Rodent’s lying voice and the more he is allowed to fade into obscurity, the better. History will judge that little man.

  15. Ripping penalty rates from workers is the lazy way to improve the profit line.

    They can then not bother with a decent business plan or work to hard to improve the viability of the business.

    Once penalty rates are taken away – what will be the next working condition that is stopping them from making billion dollar profits? – annual leave? days off? 8 hour day?

    Perhaps they can look at lowering the working age to 10 yr olds.

  16. Yesterday we did the near obligatory family journey up to Maitland to visit the in-laws.

    The traffic up Pennant Hills Rd was devastating. It took us 85 minutes to get from Westmead to the F3 and yet there seemed to be no particular reason for the delay. We looked in vain for some obvious reason and wondered if we’d left slightly earlier that we’d have avoided it.

    Our elder son shocked us with his luxuriant beard. He could have been an extra in Rush or perhaps a tele movie about you know who. I’m not all that in love with it. (Sighs deeply)

    I have a new niece – well a grand niece anyway. She’s four months old and cute. I’m a sucker for babies but she’s still at the default settings and in need of tweaking. Someone called me a “great aunt” but I suggested “fantastic aunt” as preferable. They are scathing her in all things pink. I can see that I’m going to have to introduce all the subversive elements. People began asking me about her developmental timelines. I commented that she’d achieved gorgeous at almost the exactly typical moment with a tone that suggested I was wearing a white coat.

    The family seems united on Abbott. They think he’s a “dickhead” to quote someone who probably gets the title of brother-in-law. My “mother-in-law” described him as “a nasty piece of work” and she’s not normally one for political observations. People brought up the aged care wages matter and then childcare wages.

    I heard someone was killed at Mooney Mooney after being thrown from a car right past where we drove on the way home. So sad. A family somewhere is hurting this morning. Be careful people.

  17. There are four good reasons why Cosgrove is a terrible choice for GG.

    (2) Cosgrove has been closely identified with our foreign and generally failed military adventurism. Absolutely the very last thing that Australia needs for a GG is another uniform. There should be no future for Australians in uniform beyond continental defence. The days of foreign adventurism in places like Vietnam (now doing joint naval training with the US), Iraq (7,000 violent deaths a year and Al Qaeda well-established after the war is supposed to have been ‘won’), and in Afghanistan, the Taliban (and even worse successor organisations) is simply waiting for us to retreat. What we do need, in the complete absence of this sort of leadership from the Abbott Government, is a civilian with vision and leadership qualities. Australia has to do a vast civil makeover. We are bereft of a common vision. We sweat the little things but ignore the big things. We need to rejig completely our relations with Indonesia. We have a vast economic re-setting to do – decarbonising the economy, exiting our various mine holes, working with an ageing population, and coping with AGW.

    (3) Cosgrove was in Vietnam at a time when it is highly likely that war crimes were committed. This is NOT to say that Cosgrove himself was involved. But we need a Royal Commission into Australian war crimes in the Vietnam War and that would be very difficult if the GG was there at the time.

    There are persistent and pervasive signals of wounded Vietnamese being shot in the field. There are the black ops – essentially targetted murders without benefit of judicial processes. There was the torture of Australian-captured prisoners at times within sight and sound of Australian troops and probably routine out of sight and sound.

    (4) At a time when our relations with Indonesia are at an historical low ebb, choosing Cosgrove, who is heavility associated with the Indonesian loss of East Timor, will almost certainly be viewed as a deliberate and targetted snub by many Indonesias.

    Is Cosgrove really the best Australia can do?

  18. Ocean Protector protecting Australia from invading men, women children refugees in leaky wooden fishing boats is now off to new places. Last seen heading north east in the strait between Sumatra and Java. About the same course as the Bulk Harvest when OP turned off transponder

  19. fran

    [I heard someone was killed at Mooney Mooney after being thrown from a car right past where we drove on the way home. So sad. A family somewhere is hurting this morning. Be careful people.]

    As we all know, you are a stickler.

    When I first read that sentence I had a vision of a harrassed parent getting sick of ‘Are we there yet?’, snapping, and defenestrating a little one.

  20. AN ENERGY saving program helping South Australia’s struggling households save between $200 to $300 a year on their bills will be shut down next year.

    The Federal Government will axe the Home Energy Saver Scheme in June, a year before it was scheduled to end, because it says the program will not be needed following the abolition of the carbon tax.

    But Uniting Communities, the group running the program in SA, says that people will still struggle with high energy bills because the carbon tax only accounts for about 4 per cent of the cost.

  21. I don’t have any problems with Cosgrove as GG. I would have preferred Angus Houston, but so would all Labor people and that’s why he wasn’t appointed. Cosgrove is a Tory but so was Jeffery and he didn’t do anything wrong. All we need from a GG is proper constitutional behaviour and dignified silence, and we’ve had that from every GG since Federation Ex-military except Kerr.

    William, Scott Buchholz is a Liberal, not a National.

  22. GG, confessions

    [‘…when the then opposition leader told the ABC’s Insiders program on September 1: ”I want to give people this absolute assurance: no cuts to education, no cuts to health, no changes to pensions and no changes to the GST.’]

    My reading is that they are flying kites to test popular reaction pending the ‘outcomes’ of the Audit Commission.

    But this is one promise to watch, IMHO.

  23. AA and Victoria, they always zero in on the workers and their penalty rates. When Myer was not travelling well, Coles Myer important a top gun American retailer to fix it. That year, the CEO received in salary and bonuses of $1.40 for every $1.00 of Myer profit (that is the ratio). She only lasted a short time. What struck me was there were plenty of people around who could have done as good (or in this case as bad) a job at half the pay (and nearly doubling Myer’s profit). They focus on the workers, but a good place to make a few savings would be executives’ salaries, bonuses and perks.

  24. I find it difficult to give much of a toss about the Governor General appointment. Its not like they really [i]do[/i] anything. Most Prime Ministers tend to appoint someone roughly aligned to their political ideology – certainly all the GGs from Hayden onwards were.

  25. IN WA we see the power company Synergy complaining about reduced profits because of the success of the solar panels program.

    What an incompetent executive that company must have. No foresight to see that as more people install solar panels the less power they would be purchasing from the grid.

    But once again the company executives will no doubt get massive pay rises and bonuses based on incompetency. While at the same time reducing the working conditions of their workers to “fix” a problem caused by the executives poor management skills.

  26. [And though he admits being “a bit jaded and a bit tired” after a tumultuous year, the Premier insists he has lost none of his verve for the job and is going nowhere.

    “I’m not offended. I think it’s a fair question,” Mr Barnett said of speculation in recent months that he will not serve a full term.

    “But I’ve got no intention of stepping down any time soon.

    “Ultimately I will have to make that decision and as I’ve said, I will make that decision about a year out from the next election (due in March 2017).”]

    My own view is that he’ll retire before the next election.

  27. BW,

    The woman quoted in that article is clearly a now disillusioned Liberal voter at the last Federal Election. Look at how she expresses her relief that Abbott promised not to alter the rules around disability. In her mind, she could vote for them with confidence.

    So, clearly the view that the Libs lie routinely and break their promises is gaining credence in the wider community. Once such an attitude infilitrates the community, it is difficult to shift. I suppose a 6% swing against the new Government in three months reflects this.

    The only thing going for the Government is that it’s three years to the next election.

  28. [Exclusive

    Victoria’s work safety authority is paying lawyers millions of dollars in confidential bonuses to minimise payouts in compensation cases brought by alleged victims of workplace accidents.

    In at least one case, a firm representing the authority received more than $1 million in bonuses over 12 months on top of legal fees.

    Read more:

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