Queensland election 2015


Margin: Liberal National 20.6%
Region: Inner Brisbane
Federal: Brisbane/Lilley

Candidates in ballot paper order



Liberal National (top)

Labor (bottom)






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

Held for the Liberal National Party by Treasurer Tim Nicholls, Clayfield covers the area immediately north of the Brisbane River to the east of the city centre, with the Gateway Motorway dividing residential areas in the west, from Hamilton north to Nundah, from an unpopulated east that includes the Port of Brisbane and Brisbane Airport. The seat is naturally strong for the conservatives, encompassing some of the strongest Liberal territory in Brisbane around Ascot and Albion, although this is balanced by Labor areas nearer the motorway and around Nundah. Labor was nonetheless able to win it in the 2001 landslide and retain it in 2004, before Nicholls returned it to the LNP fold in 2006.

The electorate was created with the introduction of one-vote one-value at the 1992 election, when it was won for the Liberals by factional heavyweight Santo Santoro, previously member for abolished Merthyr. Santoro was unseated by a 6.5% swing in 2001, and then served in the Senate from 2002 to 2007, when he resigned over a share disclosure scandal. Labor’s member for the next two terms was Liddy Clark, a one-time presenter of the ABC’s Play School. Clark’s success in limiting the swing against her to 0.8% in 2004 cemented the admiration of Peter Beattie, who secured her a cabinet post in Aboriginal affairs despite her lack of factional backing. However, her troubled tenure in the position ended in 2005 when the Crime and Misconduct Commission made an adverse finding against her over a bottle of wine that was taken into a dry indigenous community aboard a government jet during a ministerial visit.

Tim Nicholls came to the seat at the 2006 election after accounting for Clark’s 1.2% margin with a swing of 2.9%, having previously served Hamilton ward on Brisbane City Council. In November 2007 he made a bid for the Liberal leadership, resulting in the eight-member party room splitting evenly between himself and incumbent Bruce Flegg. The matter was resolved when Flegg put Caloundra MP Mark McArdle forward as a compromise candidate. Nicholls was a keen advocate of the LNP merger in 2008, and was one of four Liberal MPs who threatened to rebel when then Liberal Party state president Mal Brough sought to have the rank-and-file vote on the merger delayed. When the merger was effected the following July, Nicholls secured the position of Shadow Treasurer, while Flegg was left on the back bench.

Nicholls was defeated by John-Paul Langbroek in a leadership ballot immediately after the 2009 election, and was reportedly counting the numbers for another challenge in late 2010 after a reshuffle cost him the employment and economic development portfolio, while leaving him with Treasury. On both occasions he was reportedly encumbered by his close relationship with Santo Santoro. Nicholls then emerged as a prime mover in efforts to recruit Campbell Newman, and served as interim deputy leader when the arrangement to have Newman campaign as leader from outside parliament took effect in April 2011.

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

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