Queensland election 2015

Pine Rivers

Margin: Liberal National 13.7%
Region: Northern Brisbane
Federal: Dickson

Candidates in ballot paper order




Labor (bottom)

Liberal National (top)





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

A Liberal National Party gain at the 2012 election, the outer northern Brisbane seat of Pine Rivers extends from Lake Samsonvale and Strathpine, about 15 kilometres north of the city centre, through semi-rural territory to Dayboro in the north-west. It has essentially existed since the 1972 election, although it bore the name Kurwongbah from 1992 to 2009. In keeping with its position on the urban fringe, the electorate is characterised by a large number of mortgage payers, ranking second in the state after Logan at the opposite end of the city.

Pine Rivers joined a number of Brisbane seats in following a path from Liberal to Nationals in 1983 and then to Labor in 1989, but the boundaries of the new Kurwongbah were favourable enough for Labor that the seat stayed in the party fold through its loss of office from 1996-98. The reversion to Pine Rivers in 2009 had little impact on the now substantial margin, but Labor’s position was first worn down by an 8.7% swing at the 2009 election, then blown away by an 18.3% swing in 2012.

After forming part of the Nationals’ dual triumphs of 1983 and 1986, Pine Rivers was won for Labor with the 1989 election of the Goss government by Margaret Woodgate, who carried over as member for Kurwongbah and retired mid-term in 1997. Linda Lavarch, whose husband Michael Lavarch had been federal Attorney-General in Paul Keating’s government, retained the seat for Labor at the ensuing by-election and easily held the seat thereafter, eventually emerging as a senior figure in the Beattie government.

Lavarch’s decision to retire at the 2009 election resolved a dilemma for Labor, which was struggling to find a seat for Caroyln Male, whose seat of Glass House had been made an almost certain gain for the LNP as a result of the redistribution. Male had hoped to contest the new seat of Morayfield, but appeared to be in a losing race for preselection against Left faction lawyer Mark Ryan. The accommodation of Male in Pine Rivers maintained factional continuity, as both Male and Lavarch are associated with Labor Forum/AWU.

With Male’s retirement at the 2012 election, Pine Rivers was easily won for the Liberal National Party by Seath Holswich, who was previously the state manager of the Australian Employment Covenant, a body founded by mining magnate Andrew Forrest to help indigenous people find long-term employment. Holswich will be opposed at the coming election by Labor’s Nikki Boyd, an early childhood education and organiser with the Left faction United Voice union. The preselection had reportedly been reserved for the Left faction under a deal that delivered Ferny Grove to Mark Furner, former Senator and member of the Old Guard/Labor Unity faction.

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

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