Queensland election 2015


Margin: Liberal National 23.9%
Region: Western Brisbane
Federal: Ryan
Outgoing member: Bruce Flegg (Liberal National)

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.

Covering the outermost suburbs of western Brisbane, Moggill was one of the strongest seats for the Liberals before the 2009 Liberal National Party merger, to the extent of being one of only three seats retained by the party in its disastrous 2001 campaign. The electorate encompasses Kenmore at its northern end and Mount Crosby to the west, along with semi-rural hinterland beyond. The area is an area popular with affluent families, ranking it second in the state for median income and first for families with children under 15. The seat is to be vacated after an eventful final term by Bruce Flegg, the member since 2004.

Moggill was created at the 1986 election and held from 1989 to 2004 by David Watson, who led the Liberal Party at the time of the 2001 debacle. Watson’s margin was worn down to just 0.9% on that occasion, but local doctor Bruce Flegg had no trouble retaining the seat in 2004, adding 11.8% on the primary vote and 5.4% on two-party preferred. Flegg had come to the seat after a bitter preselection battle against Russell Galt, who would later come to fame when he claimed Liberal Senator George Brandis had called John Howard a “lying rodent”. Galt challenged the result in the Supreme Court, and withdrew his action only after the party agreed to cover his legal costs.

Flegg was appointed Shadow Health Minister when a coalition agreement was forged in September 2005, and secured the Liberal leadership a month out from the September 2006 election owing to Liberal MPs’ concerns for their re-election chances under the existing leadership of Bob Quinn. There followed another disastrous Coalition campaign which began with the respective Liberal and Nationals leaders, Flegg and Lawrence Springborg, proving unable to tell a press conference which of them would be Premier if the Liberals won more seats than the Nationals. With further campaign embarrassments to follow, it would later emerge that Chatsworth MP Michael Caltabiano, who was soon to lose his seat, had contemplated a mid-campaign leadership challenge which was quashed by the intervention of John Howard.

Flegg nonetheless remained leader after the election, but rumours were soon circulating of a threat from newly elected Clayfield MP Tim Nicholls, a member of the Santo Santoro-Michael Caltabiano faction. Nicholls duly challenged once the federal election of November 2007 was out of the way, but succeeded only in splitting the party room four-all. The stand-off was resolved when Flegg put forward one of his supporters, Caloundra MP Mark McArdle, as a compromise candidate. Despite variously holding the positions of Shadow Treasurer and Shadow Education Minister over the next few years, it was suggested to Flegg in 2010 that he should relinquish his seat to Campbell Newman, but he was reportedly encouraged to resist by perceptions that the plot had been hatched by Santoro. Newman was thus forced to fall back on the risky option of Labor-held Ashgrove when the plan came to fruition in March 2011.

Flegg was appointed Housing Minister after the March 2012 election victory, but resigned the following November after a media officer he had dismissed a day previously accused him of falsifying his diary, so as to downplay the extent of his meetings with his lobbyist son and record time he spent working as a doctor as electorate activity. A month later, Flegg sued the media officer for defamation. In June 2013, the Courier-Mail reported it had heard a recording between Flegg, LNP president Bruce McIver and former Liberal president Bob Tucker in which Flegg was offered a “plum overseas trade post” so his seat would be available to Campbell Newman.

In October 2014, Flegg’s preselection nomination was rejected during the LNP state executive’s candidate vetting process, which he claimed was motivated by factional manoeuvring for the leadership ahead of an anticipated defeat for Newman in Ashgrove. This left as the sole preselection nominee Christian Rowan, state president of the Australian Medical Association, but the party’s local branches subsequently voted not to accept him as candidate. The state executive then allowed a ballot to proceed inclusive of both Flegg and Rowan, prompting all but four LNP MPs to sign a letter in support of Flegg, the exceptions being Lawrence Springborg, John-Paul Langbroek, Scott Emerson and Jann Stuckey. Nonetheless, Rowan won the ensuing ballot by 67 votes to 56, which Flegg said was because all 24 members of the party’s state council had unusually attended the branch meeting to exercise their vote.

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

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