House of Representatives By-Elections


July 28, 2018
Margin: Labor 0.8%
Region: Outer Northern Brisbane
State: Queensland

Primary vote
Two-party preferred


The most marginal of the four seats facing simultaneous by-elections as a result of Section 44 is the seat of Longman on Brisbane's northern fringe, which has changed hands at three of the last four elections. Susan Lamb won the seat for Labor with a 7.7% swing in 2016, unseating two-term Liberal National Party member Wyatt Roy (who has ruled out seeking preselection). Lamb's Section 44 trouble arose from a British citizenship acquired through her late father, who was born in Scotland. She has perhaps evinced the most sympathy out of those entangled by Section 44, after she tearfully explained to parliament in February that her difficulty partly arose from her estrangement from her mother. As Lamb described it, this made her unable to meet the British Home Office's requirement that she provide her parents' marriage certificate.


Susan Lamb was an official with the Left faction United Voice union before her election in 2016. Her Liberal National Party opponent is Trevor Ruthenberg, who held the state seat of Kallangur from 2012 to 2015 and is now chief executive of the Mosaic Property Group's philanthropic foundation. Ruthenberg reportedly had a convincing win in the preselection vote over Jason Snow, disability support worker and candidate for Morayfield at the state election, and a local businessman. One Nation has endorsed Caboolture small businessman Matthew Stephen, despite the controversy that attended his run for the state seat of Sandgate, in which it emerged his he had repeatedly had his trades licence suspended, narrowly avoided bankruptcy, and was prone to politically incorrect pronouncements on social media.


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. It was created at the 1996 election from territory that had mostly been in Fisher, which has since been a safe conservative seat rooted at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast. Caboolture and Bribie Island have been constants amid frequently changing boundaries, having been various supplemented either by outer northern Brisbane suburbs or semi-rural hinterland.

Longman was won for the Liberals on its creation in 1996 by Mal Brough, who piled a 10.0% swing on to an existing notional margin of 1.6%. A barely less forceful swing the other way reduced his margin to 0.5% in 1998, but he consolidated amid the happier days that followed for the Howard government, and had a high-profile spell in the indigenous affairs portfolio during the goverment's final year in office. Then came Labor's decisive gain of nine Queensland seats at the 2007 election, when former state MP Jon Sullivan unseated Brough with a swing of 10.3%, followed by the seven seat correction in 2010, when 20-year-old Wyatt Roy gained the seat for the Liberal National Party with a 3.9% swing, making him the youngest person ever elected to federal parliament.

Roy added 5.0% to his margin in 2013, but then came unstuck in 2016 with a 7.7% swing to Labor's Susan Lamb. This was the biggest swing suffered by the LNP in Queensland at the election, and was partly owed to the decision by One Nation to direct preferences to Lamb ahead of Roy. One Nation polled 9.4% on the primary vote, 56.5% of which went to Lamb ahead of Roy on preferences.

Numbers represent two-party vote percentages at polling booths, coloured in red for a Labor majority and teal for an LNP majority, and varying in size to reflect the number of votes cast. Numbers with black borders are from pre-poll voting centres.