Margin: Liberal National 26.3%
Region: Sunshine Coast
Candidates in ballot paper order
2012 ELECTION RESULTS
Electorate boundary map outline courtesy of
Ben Raue of The Tally Room.
Held for the Liberal National Party by high-profile Newman government Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, Kawana covers naturally conservative terrain on the Sunshine Coast, but was nonetheless won by Labor on its creation in 2001 and again in 2004. The electorate covers the coast from Wurtulla north to Buddina, also extending south into Aroona immediately inland of the Caloundra electorate, and inland to the Bruce Highway at Sippy Downs.
Kawana was created as the successor to abolished Mooloolah, whose sitting Liberal member Bruce Laming contested the seat in 2001. Despite a seemingly secure margin of 16.1%, Laming found himself evicted by the single biggest swing to ensue from Labor’s unprecedented landslide win, with Chris Cummins emerging the victor by a margin of 2.6%. Even more dispiriting for the Liberals was their failure to recover the seat in 2004, when the two-party correction was limited to 1.1%.
Cummins was then promoted to cabinet as Emergency Services Minister on the insistence of Peter Beattie, whose determination that the Sunshine Coast should be represented aroused much hostility among ambitious members of caucus. However, the position didn’t save Cummins from a local backlash over water issues in 2006, which drove a decisive 7.2% swing to Liberal candidate Steve Dickson, previously the mayor of Maroochydore.
The creation of the Buderim electorate at the 2009 redistribution resulted in dramatic changes to Kawana, with over half of the voters on the previous boundaries being transferred to the new seat. The changes cut the margin from 5.7% to 2.6%, mostly due to the Liberals’ strength about Buderim itself. Dickson accordingly moved to the new seat, but in the event both were easily won by the newly merged Liberal National Party, Kawana by 6.9% and Buderim by 14.3%. In keeping with a particularly forceful swing on the Sunshine Coast, the margin blew out to 26.3% in 2012.
Kawana was won for the LNP in 2009 by 27-year-old Jarrod Bleijie, a local lawyer who soon received a plum promotion to shadow cabinet in the Attorney-General, justice and corrective services portfolios in the November 2010. Justice and corrective services were reassigned elsewhere when Campbell Newman became the extra-parliamentary leader in April 2011, but justice was returned to him after the March 2012 election victory. The government’s approach to judicial matters has placed Bleijie at the centre of numerous controversies throughout the term, most notably upon the resignation in March 2014 of Solicitor-General Walter Sofronoff, who accused him of revealing private conversations with senior legal figures and labelled him unfit for office.
It was announced in February 2014 that the seat would be contested for the Palmer United Party by Carl Judge, then its member for the Brisbane seat of Yeerongpilly. However, he announced the following August that he would instead contest his existing seat as an independent.
Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.