Seat of the week: Maranoa

Covering Queensland’s south-western interior, Maranoa has been in National/Country Party hands without interruption for over 70 years, current member Bruce Scott having assumed the seat in 1990.

Teal numbers indicate size of two-party majority for the Liberal National Party. Click for larger image. Map boundaries courtesy of Ben Raue at The Tally Room.

Created at federation and fairly constant in its boundaries ever since, Maranoa covers a vast expanse of south-western Queensland accounting for about 40% of the state’s surface area. Most of its voters are concentrated at the inner end of the state’s populous south-eastern corner, including the centres of Kingaroy, Dalby and Warwick to the north, west and south of Toowoomba (which has formed the basis of Groom since 1984, and Darling Downs beforehand). Centres further inland include Roma and Charleville on the Warrego Highway, and Barcaldine and Longreach on the Landsborough Highway further north. The seat’s Liberal National Party margin after the 2013 election is 22.4%, making it the third safest Coalition seat in the country after Parkes in New South Wales and Mallee in Victoria.

Reflecting a familiar pattern in rural Queensland, Maranoa started life as a Labor stronghold and progressively moved to the other extreme with the decline of the shearing and railway workforce. The first changeover occurred in 1921 upon the death of the seat’s inaugural Labor member, Jim Page, initiating a by-election won for the Country Party by James Hunter. The seat returned to the Labor fold when Hunter retired in 1940, but Labor’s Francis Baker was unseated after a single term, emerging the only Labor member to lose his seat amid the party’s national landslide in 1943. It was then held for the Country Party by Charles Adermann until he moved to the new seat of Fisher with the expansion of parliament in 1949, which he would eventually bequeath to his son Evan in 1972.

Adermann’s successor at the 1949 election was Charles Russell, who quit the Country Party less than a year after his election and unsuccessfully contested the seat as an independent in both 1951 and 1954, falling 1.1% short on the latter occasion in the absence of a Labor candidate. That would mark the last occasion when the Country Party’s grip on the seat was seriously troubled, a 9.7% swing at the 1966 election pushing the margin into double digits where it has remained ever since. The National/Country members through this period were Wilfred Brindlecombe until 1966, James Corbett until 1980, and Ian Cameron until 1990. There were suggestions ahead of the 1998 election that a threat might loom from One Nation, but in the event they could only manage third place behind Labor on 22.4%. A 9.7% swing at the 1966 election pushed the margin well into double digits, where it has remained ever since.

The seat’s present long-serving incumbent is Bruce Scott, who served in the junior ministry as Veterans Affairs Minister for the first two terms of the Howard government, losing the position when the Nationals’ weak electorate performance in 2001 reduced its share of the spoils. In October 2012 he became Deputy Speaker, filling the vacancy created by Anna Burke’s rise to the Speakership following Peter Slipper’s resignation, and has retained the position in government. Barnaby Joyce had hoped to facilitate his move from the Senate to the House by replacing Scott in Maranoa at the last election, but Scott was determined to serve another term and Joyce dismissed the notion of challenging him for preselection, saying it would be “self-indulgent personality politics”. He instead opted to cross the state boundary and contest the northern New South Wales seat of New England.

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.

2,772 comments on “Seat of the week: Maranoa”

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  1. Hockey claims…

    [The average working Australian, be they a cleaner, a plumber or a teacher, is working over one month full time each year just to pay for the welfare of another Australian.]

    In 2012/13, according to the Treasury budget papers and the ABS, the combined social security and welfare provision was $131.9 billion, including Family Tax Benefits. This was 8.6% of GDP, which totaled $1,525 billion. The wages share of the economy was estimated by the ABS at 53%.

    So while one-eighth of the economy was distributed to welfare of all kinds, just over half of this can be attributed to employee compensation.

    Rather than working one month a year to support each other, Australians notionally work one fortnight each year to support each other. The balance of welfare costs are borne by other parts of the economy, including business profits.

  2. [2744

    sortius ‏@sortius 11m

    .@littlesteve @mansillo it’s becoming clear this budget is designed to essentially kill off low income earners/unemployed]

    It’s a cull.

  3. So half of it is bullshit from the beginning.

    And if you take away the portion that the average income earner gets back in welfare, we’d be down to something less than a fortnight. 10 or 12 days so that most of us can live in something reasonable. Joe Hockey would destroy that so a few people can get even richer.

  4. Hey, Joe Hockey
    [The average working Australian, be they a cleaner, a plumber or a teacher, is working over one month full time each year just to pay for the welfare of another Australian,”]

    Heard of holiday pay, douchebag?

    The average working Australian, be they a cleaner, a plumber or a teacher, is working one month full time each year just to pay for “their own fucking break”



  5. [ Sorry bout that. I sorta went all Showsy. ]

    Don’t think you have anything to apologize for. Trying to get your head around some of the lies and spin JoHo tires to peddle will do that to people.

    Probably better to just assume that if his mouth is moving he’s talking crap that only the blue kool aid addicts will swallow. On his current form you stand a remarkably good chance of being correct.

  6. Gov going wrong way on Piracy: iiNet

    ” suspect most Australians will find it hard to disagree with Dalby that the solution to the Internet piracy issue needs to be a commercial one — not a regulatory one. Pretty much all attempts to regulate the Internet have failed over the past there decades. I am amused and saddened that the attempts keep coming. Many people, it seems, still don’t understand the depth and importance of the technological revolution which Earth is permanently engaged in now.”

    Which is part of the Anti-Technology, Anti-Science, Anti-Socialism, Anti-welfare.

    It’s all about Profitism for this Government.

  7. [ Gawd just seen Hockey at the Sydney Institute on Lateline. ]
    You wont do that again in a hurry will you?? 🙂

    [ Lecturing the poor and middle income people on their obligation to help balance the budget. Sheer. Bloody. Hypocrisy. ]

    I think he is following on from his leaders theme on selling the budget. You know the one where Tony told us if we were not so fwarking stupid we would have known that they were going to screw over every body except the rich??

    I can see that working for them really well in the polling stakes.

    [ AND like true fool that he has become, his need to pander to his self importance is so great that he doesn’t even realise he should right now STFU and let Abbott destroy himself…so he might be popular enough to replace him. ]

    Ye Gads! TP posts something i can completely agree with!!

  8. A jigger is a cue rest used in billiards and snooker. It should not be confused with a thingomajigger which is not used in billiards or snooker.

  9. Boerwar,
    I have never heard that word used for any sporting equipment in all of my life. In fact I have rarely heard it used at all for anything. I think we had our own homegrown racist terms without need for USA ones, to be honest about it. I vaguely recall some old product labels and of course those rag dolls called gollywogs. I think the lolly cigerettes we bought as kids, the licorice ones, not the sugar ones, had a gollywog on the label. Other than that the only time i heard it was on tv in American movies.

  10. I don’t know what some of you people gain by going out of your way to watch pressers and doorstops by the likes of Joe Hockey.

    “Oh look, there’s Joe Hockey lecturing the poor on how entitled they are again. Oh boy, I do hope he starts talking about dole bludgers and the parasites on the DSP, that would cement even more cholesterol to my dangerously narrowed, stress-damaged arteries! What’s that? Cory Bernardi, Andrew Bolt, Sophie Mirabella, Francisco Franco and Sarah Palin are tonight’s guests on Q&A? SOMEONE PASS THE REMOTE!”

    You’ll be a happier person just reading the headline version, trust me.

  11. Murdoch organs have gone into peak Abbott government hagiography mode, following Rupert’s pleasure at 2.5 hr arse kissing by our supplicant PM in NY.

    Abbott’s Uni pal and fellow Bob Santamaria disciple Greg Sheridan leads the way, able to merge the Abbott global triumph with a smack down of Fairfax and the ABC

  12. File under the heading of useless information;
    When I was taught how to play golf in the early Seventies, my Scottish instructor gave me a club called a jigger. It was between a putter and a 1 iron to be used when your ball was on the edge of green. I remember using it a lot.

    Thanks to briefly for his concise demolition of Hockey’s nonsense .

  13. For the Wesst, the preferred solution to hold Iraq together is a dictator with a vicious nasty streak who hates islamists.

    But they are a bit scarcer than they used to be.

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