Cp style=”text-align: center”>Queensland election 2015


Margin: Liberal National 21.2%
Region: Sunshine Coast
Federal: Fisher

Candidates in ballot paper order




Labor (bottom)

Liberal National (top)


Palmer United Party




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

Caloundra is located at the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, which notwithstanding Clive Palmer’s success in Fairfax at the 2013 federal election has generally been safe territory for the conservatives. Since its creation in 1992, the electorate of Caloundra has been held by two Liberal and then Liberal National Party members: Joan Sheldon, who won the predecessor seat of Landsborough from the Nationals at a 1990 by-election, and was parliamentary Liberal leader from 1991 to 1998; and Mark McArdle, who succeeded Sheldon in 2004. Labor’s closest brushes with victory have been a 1.0% margin at Sheldon’s last election in 2001, and a 1.3% margin on McArdle’s debut three years later. The seat has since swung to the LNP at four successive elections, by an increasing amount each time.

Caloundra includes the Sunshine Coast town which bears its name and the suburbs of Golden Beach and Pelican Waters immediately to the south, further extending through lightly populated territory about 12 kilometres inland to the towns of Landsborough and Beerwah beyond Bruce Highway. However, it does not include Aroona and the western part of Currimundi immediately to the north of Caloundra, which were lost at the 2009 redistribution in exchange for the Landsborough and Beerwah region. These changes cut the margin from 4.2% and 1.7%, but McArdle stayed safe at the ensuing election by picking up a 4.3% swing.

McArdle had been a director of Boyce Garrick Lawyers before entering parliament, and quickly rose to the position of Shadow Attorney-General when a coalition agreement was reached in September 2005. He secured the deputy leadership in August 2006, concurrent with Bruce Flegg deposing Bob Quinn as leader, and then found himself leader in December 2007 when Flegg put him forward as a compromise candidate after a four-all split between himself and Clayfield MP Tim Nicholls. The LNP merger in July 2008 saw McArdle take on the positions of Deputy Opposition Leader and Shadow Health Minister, but he lost the former after the 2009 election. When the Newman government came to power in 2012, he was allocated to the energy and water supply portfolio.

Labor’s candidate is aged and mental health nurse Christine Anthony, who also ran in 2004 and 2009.

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

Back to Crikey’s Queensland election guide

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