Queensland election 2015


Margin: Liberal National 4.8%
Region: Regional City
Federal: Herbert

Candidates in ballot paper order



Palmer United Party

Liberal National (top)

One Nation


Family First

Labor (bottom)




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

The electorate of Townsville covers the northern part of the city bearing its name, the remainder of which is divided between Mundingburra and Thuringowa. It also encompasses Magnetic Island and Palm Island to the north. The conservative vote is strongest in and around the city centre, with Labor being stronger in the surrounding suburbs. The seat was won for the Liberal National Party in 2012 by John Hathaway, after what by the standards of the election was a modest two-party swing of 8.8%. The slack from a 15.1% drop in the Labor primary vote was accounted for by a strong 21.8% for Katter’s Australian Party, who nonetheless finished some distance behind Labor in third place.

Townsville was first created as an electorate in 1878 and has remained one outside of the period from 1960 to 1972, when it was divided into Townsville North and Townsville South. Labor was dominant in the city until the early 1970s, when Liberal won the Townsville electorate on its recreation in 1972. Labor was able to win the seat amid an otherwise poor result in 1983 because the collapse in the Liberal vote caused them to finish third behind the Nationals, and Liberal preferences proved more favourable to them than Nationals preferences had been. The redistribution that gave effect to Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s final malapportionment regime at the 1986 election made the seat notionally National, and Labor member Ken McElligott moved to the new seat of Thuringowa. Nationals candidate Tony Burreket gained a further 3.9% swing in winning the seat, but it fell to Labor’s Ken Davies with the election of Wayne Goss’s government in 1989.

Townsville would not return to the conservative fold until 2012, being progressively held for Labor by Davies until 1992, when he moved to the new seat of Mundingburra; Geoff Smith until 1998, after representing Townsville West from 1980 to 1986 and Townsville East from 1986 to 1992; Mike Reynolds until 2009; and Mandy Johnstone during Labor’s final term in office. The successful LNP candidate in 2012 was John Hathaway, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Army who had previously worked as a redevelopment officer at Lavarack Barracks. Hathaway will be opposed at the coming election by Townsville State High School principal Scott Stewart, who won preselection ahead of Mark Enders, an occupational health and safety consultant.

cuIn the second week of the campaign, a Galaxy automated phone poll of 611 respondents in the electorate had Labor with a two-party lead of 58-42, from primary votes of 46% for Labor, 33% for the LNP, 10% for the Greens and 6% 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 Townsville had Labor’s lead in Mundingburra at 51-49.

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

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