Queensland election 2015


Margin: Labor 1.1%
Region: Northern Coast
Federal: Kennedy/Leichhardt

Candidates in ballot paper order




Labor (top)

Liberal National (bottom)


Palmer United Party




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

The northern Queensland seat of Mulgrave covers the southern outskirts of Cairns and extends down the coast to Innisfail, leaving concentrations of voters at either end and conservative rural territory in between. It was among the seven Labor seats which survived the rout of 2012, when Curtis Pitt defended a margin of 8.1% against a swing of 6.9%, a result surpassed only by Cook as the mildest two-party swing of the election. Katter’s Australian Party recorded one of its strongest performances in the seat, and would presumably have won on preferences if they had reduced the Liberal National Party to third place, which they narrowly failed to do.

Created in 1950, Mulgrave was held by the National/Country Party from 1957 to 1989, a period exactly aligning with its tenure in government. Warren Pitt won the seat for Labor with the election of the Goss government in 1989 and was re-elected in 1992, after which the seat would change hands three times in quick succession: with Naomi Wilson’s 0.5% victory for the Nationals in 1995; Charles Rappolt’s win for One Nation in 1998, achieved after he reduced Wilson to third place and coasted home on her preferences; and Warren Pitt’s return at a by-election in December 1998, held when Rappolt quit politics after six months.

Pitt won on the latter occasion with a 0.6% margin over Nationals comeback aspirant Naomi Wilson, securing a one-seat majority for what had previously been Peter Beattie’s minority government. With the 2001 landslide, Pitt’s primary vote surged to 53.6% as the Nationals finished third behind One Nation, Naomi Wilson having this time made an unsuccessful run at Cairns. The collapse of the One Nation vote in 2004 delivered the Nationals a 14.7% boost on the primary vote, but Pitt ultimately went untroubled both on that occasion and in 2006, before bowing out at the 2009 election.

Pitt was succeeded by his son Curtis Pitt, who worked locally as a cinema manager before taking up a position in Brisbane with the Department of State Development and as leader of the government’s Indigenous Jobs and Enterprises Taskforce. In February 2011 he won promotion to cabinet as Disability Services, Mental Health and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Minister. Pitt did not rule himself out as a contender for the leadership of the seven-member party room after the 2012 election disaster, but ultimately had to content himself with Treasury, along with energy and water supply and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partnerships, which he has maintained since, and main roads and sport and recreation, which were reassigned after Yvette D’Ath was elected to Redcliffe in February 2014.

img class=”alignleft” style=”margin-top: 3px;margin-bottom: 2px;margin-right: 13px” src=”http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/files/2013/02/cu.gif” alt=”cu” width=”115″ height=”65″ align=”left” />In the second week of the campaign, a Galaxy automated phone poll of 600 respondents in the electorate had Labor with a two-party lead of 61-39, from primary votes of 52% for Labor, 31% for the LNP, 5% for Palmer United and 4% for the Greens.

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

Back to Crikey’s Queensland election guide

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