Margin: Liberal National 10.2%
Region: Southern Townsville
Candidates in ballot paper order
2012 ELECTION RESULTS
Electorate boundary outline courtesy of
Ben Raue of The Tally Room.
The southern Townsville seat of Mundingburra retains a place in Queensland’s electoral folklore for being directly responsible for one Labor government’s downfall, but in 2012 it was just one seat out of 42 to shift from Labor to Liberal National. The electorate covers covers the suburbs south of the Townsville’s city centre, from Mundingburra itself west to Heatley and Douglas. It has been held for the LNP since 2012 by David Crisafulli, who went straight into cabinet as Local Government Minister, and was further granted a community recovery and resilience portfolio after the floods of February 2012.
Mundingburra traces its history as an electorate back to 1912, although the name was changed from Mundingburra to Townsville South in 1960, which was briefly superseded by Townsville East in 1989. All seats concerned were held by Labor or Labor independents until the fateful by-election of February 1996, which resulted from a Supreme Court ruling overturning Labor’s narrow win at the election the previous July on the grounds that votes from service personnel had been incorrectly excluded from the count. Labor member Ken Davies, who had held the seat since 1992, was disendorsed during the by-election campaign as he was facing legal action which had the potential to bankrupt him, and replaced by Townsville mayor Tony Mooney. The result was a 2.8% winning margin for Liberal candidate Frank Tanti, giving the Coalition the extra number it needed to form a minority government with the support of Gladstone independent Liz Cunningham.
Lindy Nelson-Carr recovered Mundingburra for Labor at the 1998 election by a margin of 3.8%, going on to retain it at the next three elections by margins of between 6.2% and 11.4%, and serving in cabinet from 2006 to 2009. With her retirement at the 2012 election, the seat emerged as a contest between David Crisafulli, Townsville deputy mayor and a former journalist and Howard government adviser, and Labor’s Mark Harrison, an official with the Left faction Electrical Trades Union. Harrison had won a hotly contested preselection against Paul Fletcher, a Thuringowa councillor and member of the Labor Forum/AWU faction. The efforts put in by the two Labor rivals was made to appear misplaced by the result, in which Crisafulli picked up a 16.8% swing to secure a margin of 10.2%.
Labor’s new candidate for the seat is Coralee O’Rourke, a childcare teacher and director.
In the second week of the campaign, a Galaxy automated phone poll of 644 respondents in the electorate had Labor with a two-party lead of 51-49, from primary votes of 44% for Labor, 43% for the LNP, 8% for the Greens and 5% for Palmer United. This sat well with a report in The Australian in the second week of the campaign, which said internal polling from both sides had the six LNP-held seats in northernmost Queensland “well within the ALP’s grasp”. However, Townsville was said to have been a stronger prospect for Labor than Mundingburra. A Galaxy poll conducted simultaneously with the one in Mundingburra had the Labor lead in Townsville at 58-42.
Corrections, complaints and feedback to William Bowe at pollbludger-at-bigpond-dot-com. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.