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”

  1. Tony & Newman jump off cliff holding hands..
    Clive….“The record will show what our submissions were and it will show he’s just a f—ing liar. You can quote me on that.

    “I can say to you categorically, at no time did I mention to Mr Seeney anything to do with any donations to the LNP.”

    It’s taken 2 years for the LNP to drag this up… to defend Newmans brain fart in presser with Tony attacking Clive & now relied on defamation defence, this looks like a Tony setup to oust Clive from the beginning

    Turnbull courting of Clive to lay groundwork for future Turnbull budget approval, openly in public dinner was a challenge to Tonys leadership & a show to moderate Liberals that Malcolm can get the job done

  2. I think the Canooks are in as bad political doo doo as we find ourselves so I sent this blog to the 24 Percent Majority website:
    TaxiLurkerJune 4, 2014 at 11:13 AM

    Dave, Orstralia calling here. Just wanted to give you the hands up that our recently elected PM is winging his way towards your bonza country on what can only be fact finding mission on the wonders of conservative government in Canada. Now Tony Abbott is the leader of the Liberal party of Australia but don’t be confused because that’s our version of the conservative party in Oz ( might be because we live in the opposite hemisphere).
    Unfortunately for Tonnes his recent budget hasn’t gone down to well with the general public. Those lower class types are getting upperty about inequality between the rich and the other ninety percent of the population. Even the septic tanks south of your boarder have made fun of him :
    Now if Mr Harper could just show him some of the nuances on how to rule within a conservative framework, just some pointers well…it would be much appreciated. Having said that he does have a handy guide put together by the Institute of public affairs of Australia, a prestigious group of Bankers, Miners, Captains of industry all thought to be under the guiding hand of our very own Rupert Murdoch.
    Even though Rupe has gone on to bigger and better things ( now an American citizen by crikey ) I like to think he still reminisces of his early days at the Adelaide Advertiser. Just wondering if your fair country is lucky enough to have any News corp publications or is it just us with wall to wall Murdoch media. Anyhow I better get out of your way now. Oh! If you do run into Tonnes he’s the kind of laconic bloke who will feel right at home with a cheeky greeting of ‘ Cheers big ears ‘.


    Dave June 4, 2014 at 1:13 PM

    Come back! This is way more entertaining than anything I’ve ever written…

    I’ll have to check out those links. I may give you some time in next weeks post

  3. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.

    MUST READ! Mike Carlton reckons Abbott has lost the plot. Never had on in fact.
    Peter FitzSimons.
    And how much more will NSW consumers pay for electricity as a result?
    Mike Seccombe exposes where Abbott has let us down in terms of revenue.
    To Obama it won’t look like the adults are in charge in Australia.
    Simon Castles takes Abbott to task on the changes to unemployment policy.
    Michelle Grattan on why politicians should be careful with making friends with certain media personalities.
    It seems to be a conservative thing to eschew science.
    More leaked information about Manus for Morriscum to deny.
    And the wedge has been inserted.

  4. Section 2 . . .

    Michael examines the disquiet within the government ranks.
    Does Brandis have to work hard to be like this?
    Peter Hartcher analyses Clive Palmer’s methods and success.
    Martin Flanagan on the lovely Young Libs.
    The Greens have got under the government’s skin with their uni fees calculator. It purportedly is based on factual information so it is only on this basis that Pyne, etc can fight it.
    MUST SEE! Alan Moir with our international midget’s statesmanship on his world tour.×0.jpg
    Great work form David Pope. It is a sad situation.

  5. Fran

    I assume that if Abbott wastes time speaking to these insignificant people (one of them is just a woman and another is Asian)he will not be able to have his bike ride.

    Get your priorities right.

  6. I have been wondering what possible conversation Abbott could have with these statesmen and women. Even “what nice weather we’re having” would be fraught with climate overtones. 😀

  7. And from the Land of the Free –

    A good swipe at the NRA here.
    The mental giants of the GOP on global warming. Funny but very concerning.
    There’s always guns going off somewhere over there.
    Is the US heading to being a theocracy? I hope not.

  8. BK

    I don’t think Carlton will be on BoltA or Jones’ xmas card list.

    […….by Melbourne’s village idiot, Andrew Bolt – amplified on Thursday by Sydney’s village idiot, Alan Jones]

  9. Good Morning

    So PvO has thrown in the towel. Calling the Senate dysfunctional. Dead giveaway he sees budget being blocked.

  10. BK thanks for the links. Mike Carlton is great fun, even when writing about events that are not very funny. The photo of Abbott smirking at the top of his column really shows the true nature of Abbott’s personality much better than most. I also has not realised how big his ears were! We had too much discussion of Gillard’s posterior, why no discussion of the huge Abbott ears?

  11. I hope Pegasus won’t mind me re-posting this link from last night. It’s worth a wider distribution. Collecting together so many examples of the Abbott government’s determination to treat the voters like mushrooms (keeping us in the dark and feeding us on bullshit). A long read.

    Detailed article by Rodney Tiffen

    [Political attention over the past few weeks has been fixed on the drama of the Abbott government’s first budget – the winners and losers, the problem of broken promises, the prospects in the Senate. Beyond that, though, the budget reinforces another trend of potentially great significance for the quality of Australian democracy. Since its beginnings, the government has made a series of decisions that mean public scrutiny of its policies and their implementation is more difficult.]

  12. Socrates

    I have noticed that in some pressers his ears look red and shiny (as well as large). Pity he’s cloth-eared when it comes to listening to people.

  13. Another Government decision worthy of mockery is this one – preventing Australian shipyards bidding for two new supply ships. Make it competitive by all means, but why block their bidding?

    Australian ship building is uncompetitive – being slow, expensive and low quality, with many faults on recent builds. Yet Government policy is at least partly to blame. We have spread the work around in an inconsistent manner between shipyards in various states for political reasons, then wonder why no one shipyard can maintain a stable, skilled workforce long enough to build some capability. The reality is we do not have enough work for shipyards to survive in three states. But we do have enough work for one to survive, if it had been a consistent flow of work.

  14. Atkins of the “Courier Mail” spots cracks in the government run by Abbott and Credlin. Leaks from unhappy coalition MPs:

    [Abbott’s centralised command and running of the Government rankles, with much focus being placed on his high-profile chief of staff Peta Credlin.

    Tony Abbott’s centralised command of the Government rankles with backbenchers.
    “It’s a government run by two people,” says one Liberal strategist – a sentiment echoed by those in the Parliamentary party.

    “The PMO (as the prime minister’s office is known) holds and exercises all power with an obvious favourites list that is based on your background,” one MP said.]

  15. There are some parallels between the arguments over this current NZ case and what’s happening in Victoria now as well as the last Fed parilament
    [NZ POLITICS DAILY: The John Banks guilty verdict
    Bryce Edwards | Saturday June 07, 2014

    The verdict is in. The Act Party’s sole sitting MP, former minister John Banks, has been found guilty of knowingly filing a false electoral return during his unsuccessful 2010 campaign to become mayor of Auckland.

    Should Banks resign?

    While Banks has been found guilty of an offence punishable by two years in prison – the threshold given in the Electoral Act requiring an MP’s resignation, regardless of what sentence is actually handed out – the fact that no conviction has been entered allows Banks to stay on in Parliament for now. Inevitably, this has led to debate over the legitimacy of Banks staying in parliament despite the guilty verdict and thus ensuring the government retains a majority without needing to rely on the Maori Party.]


    Someone who is unhappy has leaked to Oakes about Abbott not wanting to meet these very influential people:

    [THERE was some consternation among bureaucrats in Canberra this week when word spread that Tony Abbott had decided against meeting three of the most important economic policy figures in Washington during his forthcoming visit.

    Arrangements had been made for the Prime Minister to meet Jack Lew, the US Treasury Secretary. He was also scheduled to hold talks with Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim.

    The meetings were locked into the diaries of those key officials. Then the arrangements were cast into doubt by Abbott’s office.]

    Abbott seems to think that being chair of the forthcoming G20 meeting allows him to dictate to people who are much more important than him on the world stage. He is trying desperately to keep global warming off the G20 agenda because any discussion would make him look the fool that he is.

    Unfortunately for Abbott, Obama and several other world leaders attending G20 are much more important on the global stage than him. With action to confront global warming now a hot issue in the US, China and elsewhere, Abbott will look a complete idiot if he tries to ignore there is a problem at G20.

  17. David Johnston seems to be feeling a cold shoulder somewhere.

    [WA Liberal David Johnston believes Tony Abbott is happy with his performance as Defence Minister, despite ongoing speculation he could soon lose his job in a Cabinet reshuffle.]

    Like so many of his ministerial colleagues he hasn’t exactly set the world alight with his performance in the portfolio, either as minister or shadow minister.

  18. [He was also scheduled to hold talks with Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim.]

    I hope there are no cameras around him when he does, lest whatever wildly inappropriate thing that is destined to come out of his mouth be transmitted to the rest of the world.

  19. [25

    David Johnston seems to be feeling a cold shoulder somewhere.]

    David has already become an apologist for the failures of the ADF. Instead of exacting a higher performance from them, he has learned how to excuse their inadequacy.

  20. Tony Abbott had decided against meeting three of the most important economic policy figures in Washington during his forthcoming visit.

    At least as a courtesy he could meet them but he may embarrass when he covers his ears while singing ‘la l la la ………! So why is he actually on this sojourn, to meet up with Canadian PM Steven Harper for a tea party party?

  21. As per article. Bingo I say

    [Where the political establishment thought Palmer was losing, Palmer was winning. Says the Fairfax Nielsen pollster, John Stirton: ‘‘He has a simple populist message. He’s a very good campaigner, he’s very, very good at getting free media, and he has the resources to get paid media. To say that he just bought his way into parliament is to underestimate what he’s done.’’ Remember some of his other outrages? Rupert Murdoch’s former wife, Wendi Deng, was a Chinese spy. The army was in a conspiracy with the Australian Electoral Commission to manipulate elections. The solution to global warming is to ‘‘change our diet – not eat so many sheep.’’ Has any of this harmed him? ‘‘In the lead-up to the federal election last year, Palmer United Party came out of nowhere and about a month before the election went from 1 per cent of the vote to 5 per cent, and ended up with 5.5 per cent,’’ observes Stirton. ‘‘Since the election, they have been on a rising trend and their average for May across all the various polls is 6.5 per cent.’’ Palmer is a classic populist. He’s impervious to the facts and to the rules. ‘‘As a concept,’’ says the Oxford Companion to Australian Politics, populism is ‘‘more as a political and rhetorical style than as an ideology – a chameleon-like politics of resentment directed against elites who are seen to control society for their own benefit at the expense of the masses. This is Palmer precisely.]

    Read more:

  22. From Laurie Oakes’ article
    [Abbott told an interviewer he found economics “a bore” and added, laughing: “I have never been as excited about economics as some of my colleagues. I find economics is not for nothing known as the dismal science.”

    But as Prime Minister, Abbott has appeared to jettison what former Liberal leader John Hewson, who once employed him, characterised as a lack of interest in economics.

    He has not only thrown himself into the defence of Joe Hockey’s Budget, but played a leading part in developing the tough policies that were central to it.]
    Oakes says some odd things.

    What makes Oakes think economics has anything to do with Abbott’s involvement in the budget? How can it be Joe Hockey’s Budget given the level of involvement from Abbott?

    That Abbott was involved says it all really. The budget has all the hallmarks of Abbott’s politics. Things like the unsubtle distraction/appeasement of the medical research fund. It also explains the deficit levy. Abbott intended it as another distraction, “hey look, we’re taxing rich people too”. This matching of offerings – a bit of something for everyone – is typically Abbott.

  23. This is the Lateline interview where Josh Frydenberg makes the reference to Turnbull and Billy Hughes. You really do have to question how extreme the party has become if Turnbull is getting this sort of commentary

    [JOSH FRYDENBERG: Well there could the Billy Hughes of politics, Emma. He could stay there for 50 years and who knows what happens? But look, we’ve got a fantastic leader in Tony Abbott. Let’s not forget when he came to power just last year, Labor got the lowest primary vote in 100 years and he saw off three prime ministers effectively. It was an incredible effort and now he is governing very strongly, and we are trying to fix up Labor’s mess.]

  24. DisplayName

    One thing the article shows is what a chicken Abbott is by cancelling meetings with Lew , Lagarde and Kim.

    [The Americans have let it be known that Obama is annoyed because Abbott refuses to allow climate change to be part of the G20 agenda………Lew would also be bound to lean on Abbott to change his mind. ……….Both Lagarde and Kim, and the institutions they head, have been engaged in climate change debate and policy.

  25. This is the best quote of the day for me.

    It reflects how the abbott government, (and unfortunately Australia) is perceived by some amongst our major ally.

    That same perception would also be accurate in describing the majority of voters who chose abbott, IMO –

    [ Hayley Channer was sent to the US capital by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute in Canberra……

    …..has been to interview US experts….. on how they see the bilateral relationship.

    …….Australia should “think about what it wants to be when it grows up”, one of the experts suggested in an off-record interview.

    “Australia seems scared of its own shadow,” said another. ]

  26. It seems Abbott won’t have time to meet some heavy hitters in Washington

    I’ll bet he finds time for a bike ride and the compliant media will duly show us the pictures.

    What a joke of a prime minister we have.

  27. One wonders what Obama thinks about a government which defends bigotry and a prime minister who publically proclaims his friendship with a media personality who has been found to write racist rubbish.

    We are in danger of economic boycotts because of this governments denial of climate change…really this government is fast becoming a total farce..

  28. Fairfax Nielsen pollster, John Stirton on clive –

    [ The solution to global warming is to ‘‘change our diet – not eat so many sheep.’’

    Has any of this harmed him?

    ‘‘In the lead-up to the federal election last year, Palmer United Party came out of nowhere and about a month before the election went from 1 per cent of the vote to 5 per cent, and ended up with 5.5 per cent,’’ observes Stirton.

    ‘‘Since the election, they have been on a rising trend and their average for May across all the various polls is 6.5 per cent.’’ Palmer is a classic populist. He’s impervious to the facts and to the rules. ]

    Many of us have seen this movie, starting about 4 years ago and are living through later stages on it now.

    It actually describes the initial stages of a phenomena referred to as “abbottism” – a bit further down the track, reality sets in and all those swarmy quotes are fired back on the person who said them.

    Our allies think abbott is a total dropkick – wait until they get chapter and verse on and from clive.

    If people think clive is the answer – it must be a real humdinger of a question.

  29. I am not sure I heard correctly, but on ABC radio yesterday, it was mentioned that there will be further hearings taking place in the next week re Royal Commission into union governance.

  30. O Bawana – don’t buy Gold in Ghana –

    [ One Ton Gold Shipment Into Hong Kong Revealed To Contain Just Worthless Metal

    …a mainland China businessman, Zhao Jingjun, discovered that HK$270 million of 998kg of gold bars he bought in Ghana had been swapped for non-precious metal bars.

    What is perhaps even more worrisome, given the probe into commodity-financing deals and the rehypothecation evaporation; these gold bars were shipped to a Chinese warehouse before Zhao was able to confirm the fraud.]

  31. I am so sick of seeing the likes of Michelle Grattan and Michael Gordon (plus many others) claiming that of course Tony Abbott isn’t behind the Bolt and Jones thing.

    It’s based on the idea of Turnbull representing a realistic threat to Abbott’s position as PM.

    Hartcher is one of these naysayers too (note, as well, Hartcher’s “THAT media, over THERE” reference):

    [Turnbull spent days resisting the set-up and fighting off the accusation. Because it’s entertaining, the rest of the media fed on the spectacle.

    It was based on fiction. Turnbull is not preparing a leadership challenge. If he were to attempt one now, he would be crushed. Abbott did not accuse Turnbull of disloyalty because there was none.

    While Bolt and Jones positioned themselves as Abbott’s self-appointed Praetorean guard, their campaign actually emasculated the man they pretended to protect.


    To me Abbott IS orchestrating the Bolt-Jones campaign, and he doesn’t need Turnbull to be a real threat to want to do it.

    Abbott is just jealous of Turnbull, and I think he always has been.

    Turnbull is many things Abbott is not – educated, handsome (to some, anyway), urbane, rich etc. etc. – and he is far more popular, even among the Libs’ own supporters.

    Abbott, ever the apparatchik, the back-room boy, has done the Coalition’s dirty work for them, and now supporters can put a proper person into the job.

    I know Turnbull can be as lousy and rotten as any of them, a back stabber and a high-ranking peddlar of lies and falsehoods. But the one thing he has that Abbott can never have is popularity and charm.

    That’s why Abbott envies him, and why Abbott will always try to belittle him.

    Abbott takes no prisoners. He has been the whirling Dervish since his days at school. If there is back-stabbing or king-hitting to be done, Abbott has always been the go-to guy to do it. He is nasty, venal and mean, a cheap shot plonker who’ll do or say anything, including lie through his teeth, to knock his opponents over so he can be the last man standing. It’s an awful way to make yourself the top dog: by belittling and humiliating others, rather than recognizing and rewarding their potential.

    He’s a jealous guy, a bovver boy with the instincts of a bare-knuckle fighter and the morals of a back-street gangster.

    Whatever else Turnbull is or is not, he has a class that Abbott covets, but can never have.

    So he gets his hamfisted henchmen, pissant journalists and bloviating shock jocks to do his dirty work for him, just as he has in the past.

    Abbott is enjoying Turnbull’s discomfort, is revelling in it, and in my opinion, is 100% behind it. Otherwise he would have condemned Bolt and Jones instead of citing them as friends. In Abbott’s world crreatures like Bolt and Jones are to be courted, not dismissed. Whether they are laughing stocks or not, they’re Abbott’s kind of people.

    Once again Abbott’s trying to deck an opponent in a nasty, backdoor way, instead of embracing him and at least attempting to make us and the nation all the better for it.

    I doubt Abbott will be satisfied until he’s drummed Turnbull completely out of politics.

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