Queensland election 2015

Ferny Grove

Margin: Liberal National 9.5%
Region: Northern Brisbane
Federal: Dickson/Ryan

Candidates in ballot paper order





Liberal National (top)

Palmer United Party

Labor (bottom)




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

Among the seats lost by Labor for the first time at the 2012 election was Ferny Grove, located in the hills region roughly 15 kilometres north-west of central Brisbane. The electorate encompasses the traditionally Labor-leaning outer suburbs of Ferny Grove and Arana Hills in its south-east, together with thinly populated territory through Samford Valley to Mount Samson and Mount Nebo, where the Liberal National Party is much stronger.

Ferny Grove was created at the 1992 election and won for Labor by Glen Millner, who had previously held Everton since 1977. Milliner was succeeded on his retirement in 1998 by Geoff Wilson, who went on to serve in cabinet in the last two terms of the Beattie-Bligh government, spending its final year as Health Minister. Wilson’s parliamentary career then hit the wall of the 2012 election, at which the 4.5% that remained of his margin after a 7.6% swing in 2009 was obliterated by a swing of 14.0%. The candidate for the LNP on both occasions was Dale Shuttleworth, an electronics specialist who served with the Royal Australian Navy until 1994. Shuttleworth had also run for the seat in 2006 as the candidate of Family First.

Labor’s new candidate is Mark Furner, who seeks a return to politics after serving a term in the Senate from 2008 to 2014. Furner is a former state vice-president of the National Union of Workers and a figure in the Old Guard/Labor Unity faction, and was noted in his time in federal parliament as a stalwart supporter of Kevin Rudd. It was a measure of Labor’s strong performance under Rudd in Queensland at the 2007 election that Furner was able to win election from number three on Senate ticket, a feat Labor had not previously achieved since the modern regime of six-seat half-Senate elections began in 1990. Having failed to win promotion up the ticket in the unhappier environment of 2013, Furner’s bid for re-election was doomed to defeat.

Furner’s state preselection ambitions were accommodated within Ferny Grove following a deal between his faction and the Left, which reportedly required that he sacrifice his preferred choice of seat, Pine Rivers. The deal came despite Furner having raised Left hackles through his opposition to same-sex marriage.

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

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