Queensland election 2015

Barron River

Margin: Liberal National 9.5%
Region: Northern Cairns
Federal: Leichhardt

Candidates in ballot paper order




Palmer United Party

Labor (bottom)

Liberal National (top)




Electorate boundary outline courtesy of
Ben Raue of The Tally Room.

Covering the northern suburbs of Cairns and further territory out to Ellis Beach 25 kilometres to the north, Barron River was held by Labor throughout the Beattie-Bligh years, but a 2.3% margin by the time of 2012 election proved woefully inadequate to withstand a swing of 11.8%. It has since been held for the Liberal National Party by Michael Trout, who according to The Australian had “operated a successful outdoor education facility on the Atherton Tablelands and was on the boards of Tourism Tropical North Queensland and Tourism Tropical Tablelands”.

On its creation in 1972, Barron River was won for Labor by Bill Wood, who had previously been the member for Cook and would later to return to politics in the Australian Capital Territory in 1989. Wood was defeated in the 1974 landslide by Martin Tenni of the Country Party, who held the seat until his retirement in 1989. Lesley Clark then won the seat for Labor, going on to lose to Liberal candidate Lyn Warwick in 1995, before recovering it by a 0.6% margin amid the One Nation upheaval of 1998. Warwick ran again as part of the Liberals’ disastrous 2001 campaign, but finished third behind independent Sno Bonneau, and only one vote clear of One Nation.

Normality was restored when the Liberal vote doubled at the 2004 election, and Clark emerged with an uncomfortable two-party margin of 3.1%. However, Labor was able to retain the seat for a further two terms beyond Clark’s retirement in 2006. Criminal lawyer Steve Wettenhall retained the seat for Labor at the 2006 election, picking up a 2.0% swing on the back of a strong result for the Beattie government throughout the region, which was followed by a modest 2.4% swing back to the LNP in 2009, and then the heavy defeat of 2012.

Labor’s new candidate for the seat is Craig Crawford, a Cairns Ambulance Station paramedic and regional representative for the Left faction United Voice.

cuIn the second week of the campaign, a Galaxy automated phone poll of 700 respondents in the electorate had two-party preferred at 50-50, from primary votes of 43% for the LNP, 42% for Labor, 10% for the Greens and 5% for Palmer United. This chimed with a report from The Australian in the second week of the campaign which said both parties’ polling showed the six LNP-held seats in northernmost Queensland to be “well within the ALP’s grasp”, but with Cairns a stronger prospect for Labor than Barron River. A Galaxy poll of Cairns conducted simultaneously with the Barron River poll had Labor leading 53-47.

Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.

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