Queensland election 2015


Margin: Liberal National 25.5% versus Greens
Region: Sunshine Coast
Federal: Fairfax/Wide Bay

Candidates in ballot paper order



Palmer United Party

Labor (bottom)

Liberal National (top)





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

Created as an electorate in 1992, Noosa encompasses a generally conservative area, but was nonetheless won by Labor in the Peter Beattie landslides of 2001 and 2004. The electorate extends along the coast from Noosa Heads and its surrounds to Peregian Beach 20 kilometres to the south, and through less developed areas for 30 kilometres to the north. The area’s popularity with retirees gives it the equal highest median age of any electorate in the state, together with Hervey Bay. The seat has been held for the Liberals and then the Liberal National Party since 2006 by Glen Elmes, the Newman government’s Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Multicultural Affairs.

Prior to the creation of the Noosa electorate in 1992, Noosa Heads and its surrounds were encompassed within the electorate of Cooroora, which the National/Country Party held from its creation in 1922 until Ray Barber won it for Labor in 1989, a result that reflected the changing character of the area as well as the Fitzgerald inquiry backlash. Barber was defeated at the next election in 1992 by Bruce Davidson of the Liberal Party, with the Nationals running a distant third in what would prove to be their last run at the seat.

Among the biggest surprises of Peter Beattie’s 2001 landslide was Davidson’s defeat at the hands of Labor’s Cate Molloy, followed by Molloy’s no less remarkable feat in winning re-election in 2004 with a 7.8% swing in her favour. The already outspoken Molloy became an even more troublesome figure for Labor after her re-election, at one point saying she held Liberal MPs “accountable” for the Bali bombing. She was disendorsed ahead of the 2006 election due to her public opposition to the Traveston dam, which extended to her leading protest marches and threatening to introduce a private member’s bill to prevent it.

Molloy’s decision to run as an independent probably ended any hope Labor had of retaining the seat, as her success in polling 23.4% left the anti-conservative vote badly split. The Liberals were thus able to turn a 2.9% increase in the primary vote into a 15.0% swing after preferences, delivering victory on his second attempt to Glen Elmes, general manager of local radio stations Heat FM and 4GY. Elmes emphatically consolidated his hold on the seat with a 12.4% swing in 2009, when Cate Molloy again ran as an independent but polled only 8.1%, and confirmed his dominance in 2012 with 60.6% of the primary vote. So badly did Labor perform that their candidate finished third behind the Greens.

Elmes was originally mooted for the Speakership as the new government assumed office, having been promoted to the shadow ministry after the 2009 election and then demoted to shadow parliamentary secretary in March 2011, which he publicly attributed to his support for outgoing leader John-Paul Langbroek when the new Campbell Newman regime took hold. However, he would instead secure a position on the bottom rung of the cabinet ladder two weeks after the ministry was announced, when the resignation of Gympie MP David Gibson as Police and Community Safety Minister caused Bundaberg MP Jack Dempsey to take this spot, and Dempsey’s portfolios of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and multicultural affairs to pass on to Elmes.

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

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