Queensland election 2015


Margin: Liberal National 21.1%
Region: Redlands Shire
Federal: Bowman/Forde
Outgoing member: Peter Dowling (Liberal National)

Candidates in ballot paper order



Liberal National (top)


Family First

Labor (bottom)

Palmer United Party





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

One of eight seats gained from Labor by the Liberal National Party at the 2009 election, one term ahead of the deluge in 2012, Redlands covers coastal suburbs approximately 30 kilometres south-east of central Brisbane, from Thornlands south to the Logan River on the mainland, along with Perulpa Island and Russell Island. After a troubled second term in parliament, it is to be vacated at the coming election by LNP member Peter Dowling.

Labor won Redlands upon its creation in 1972, but it fell to the National Party in the 1974 landslide and remained with them until Darryl Briskey finally recovered it for Labor in 1989. With the new electoral regime initiated by the Goss government at the 1992 election, Briskey moved to the new electorate of Cleveland and Redlands was retained for Labor by John Budd. A 9.9% swing in 1995 delivered the seat to John Hegarty of the Nationals, who held on narrowly against an attempted return by John Budd in 1998, before inevitably being swept out by the tide in 2001.

John Budd was again preselected as Labor’s candidate for the 2001 election, but was then disendorsed due to a police investigation into misappropriation of party funds, for which he received a suspended sentence in 2002. The seat would instead be held for the next three terms by John English, a police officer installed as candidate by Peter Beattie as one of five “clean-skins” as his government dealt with the fallout from the Shepherdson inquiry. English gained further swings of 1.6% against Nationals candidates in both 2004 and 2006, before a 6.8% swing in 2009 delivered a 34-vote victory to Liberal National Party candidate Peter Dowling.

Dowling hit the headlines in August 2013 when the Courier-Mail obtained sexually explicit text messages he had sent, the most memorable of which contained a photo showing his penis dipped in a glass of red wine, earning him the tabloid nickname “the plonker”. The image had been sent to a mistress who he had also taken on parliamentary trips at taxpayer expense, prompting him to step down as chair of the parliamentary ethics committee. Dowling survived the preselection vetting process of the LNP’s state executive in October 2014, reportedly by one vote, but a similar vote by his local branch membership was lost by 55 votes to 38.

The seat will now be contested for the LNP by Matt McEachan, an adviser in Campbell Newman’s office and former staffer to Andrew Laming, member for the corresponding federal electorate of Bowman. It was reported locally that McEachan won the preselection ballot by 69 votes to 35 ahead of Lance Hewlett, Redland City councillor and husband of Sheena Hewlett, who is Peter Dowling’s sister. The preselection process prompted both the Hewletts to quit the LNP, and Sheena Hewlett to announce she would run against McEachan as an independent. Other nominees for the preselection were Fiona Ward, electorate officer to Mermaid Beach MP Ray Stevens, and now the candidate for South Brisbane; Paul O’Keefe, an accountant; and Josh Hanbridge, a business manager.

Labor’s candidate is Deb Kellie, a barrister who lives in Cornubia.

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

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