Queensland election 2015


Margin: Liberal National 3.6% versus KAP
Region: Northern Coast
Federal: Herbert/Kennedy

Candidates in ballot paper order



Palmer United Party

Katter’s Australian Party

Liberal National (top)

Labor (bottom)


One Nation




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

The north Queensland seat of Hinchinbrook was created in 1950, and has been held by the Country Party and its successors for all but the first 10 years of its existence. It covers about 200 kilometres of north Queensland coast, from the outer northern Townsville suburb of Bushland Beach through Ingham and Tully to the southern part of Innisfail. The electorate has the state’s highest proportion of Italian speakers, concentrated particularly around Ingham, where many Italians came to grow sugar after the United States imposed migration quotas in the 1920s.

Hinchinbrook was made notionally Labor by the redistribution that gave effect to one-vote one-value at the 1992 election, which removed its rural hinterland and limited it to coastal areas. However, Nationals member Marc Rowell was able to consolidate his hold with strong consecutive swings in 1992 and 1995. Rowell was run close by One Nation in both 1998, when his primary vote fell by 26.1%, and 2001, when Labor’s “just vote one” strategy reduced the flow of their preferences to him. After a much easier win in 2004, Rowell bowed out at the 2006 election.

The seat has since been held by Andrew Cripps, formerly a media and research assistant to Rowell, who won the seat in 2006 at the age of 25. Cripps faced a strong Labor challenge on debut from Steve Kilburn, who later emerged as member for the Brisbane seat of Chatsworth. This reduced the Nationals margin to 3.7%, but it was then followed by a blowout to 14.7% in 2009. A new threat emerged in 2012 in the shape of Katter’s Australian Party candidate Jeff Knuth, who won Burdekin for One Nation at the 1998 election, and whose brother Shane Knuth became KAP’s member for Dalrymple in November 2011 after defecting from the Liberal National Party. Knuth polled 35.2% on the primary vote to Cripps’ 44.0%, and finished 3.6% short after preferences.

Cripps rose to the shadow cabinet in September 2008, attaining the agriculture, food and regional Queensland portfolios when Campbell Newman became the party’s extra-parliamentary leader in April 2011. Following the March 2012 election victory he was allocated to natural resources and mines, a position he has held throughout the term.

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

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