Margin: Liberal National 2.8%
Location: Inner Eastern Brisbane, Queensland
In a nutshell: Bonner was created at the 2004 election and has changed hands at both elections since, Ross Vasta having won back the seat for the Liberal National Party in 2010 after losing it in 2007.
The candidates (ballot paper order)
JAMES DEREK MacANALLY
LAURA FRASER HARDY
The Brisbane electorate of Bonner extends south-westwards from the bayside Wynnum-Manly area to Mount Gravatt. It was created at the 2004 election, and has remarkably been left unchanged by the two redistributions conducted since. The seat is also remarkable for having changed hands with each election, starting with the Liberals’ success in overhauling a 1.9% notional margin in 2004. The defeated Labor candidate was Con Sciacca, a Keating government minister who held Bowman from 1987 to 1996 and again from 1998 to 2004. Sciacca took the safer option when the transfer of Wynnum-Manly to the new seat left Bowman with a notional Liberal margin of 3.1%, but he was unable to withstand an adverse swing of 2.4%. Labor appeared to be especially hampered by the loss of Kevin Rudd’s personal vote in those areas of the electorate which had previously been in Griffith.
The inaugural member for Bonner thus became Ross Vasta, a staffer to Senator Brett Mason, former restaurant owner, and the son of noted Brisbane barrister and Bjelke-Petersen era Supreme Court justice Angelo Vasta. Vasta’s main source of publicity in his one term in parliament was his involvement in the scandal surrounding misuse of electoral printing allowances, for which he was cleared by the Director of Public Prosecutions shortly before the 2007 election. He was always going to have his work cut out defending the Coalition’s most marginal Queensland seat at the 2007 election, and duly fell victim to a 5.2% swing which compared favourably with a statewide swing of 7.5%.
Bonner was then held for a term by Kerry Rea, previously a Brisbane councillor representing a ward that included the area around Mount Gravatt. Vasta meanwhile returned to his old job with Brett Mason and unsuccessfully contested the Wynnum-Manly ward for the Liberals at the 2008 Brisbane council election. The newly constituted Liberal National Party then gave him the chance to recover his old seat, which did not seem a likely proposition in the political climate of the time. While that had certainly changed by the time of the 2010 election, Vasta’s victory on the back of an emphatic 7.4% swing was a serious disappointment for Labor, making Bonner the “safest” of its nine notionally held Queensland seats to fall to the LNP.
Labor’s candidate is Laura Fraser Hardy, an associate with Hall Payne Lawyers.
Kevin Rudd’s long-range proposal to scale down Sydney’s Garden Island and establish the Port of Brisbane as the main east coast naval base would see the new base built in the electorate.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.