Federal 2019 – the race in regional Queensland


There are ten seats in Queensland outside of the south-eastern corner, including central and northern Queensland plus a handful of seats further inland. The Liberal National Party holds eight of these seats, along with one Labor and one seat held by Katter’s Australian Party, but a number of these LNP seats are in play at this election.

There are five marginal seats I’m paying attention to in this post.

Each of these five seats is predominantly made up of one of the main cities of central and north Queensland (Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns) while also covering nearby rural areas.

Liberal National MP Ken O’Dowd holds Flynn by 1%. This seat covers Gladstone and rural areas between Gladstone and Rockhampton.

The LNP’s Michelle Landry holds Capricornia by a 0.6% margin. The electorate sits immediately to the north of Flynn, covering the city of Rockhampton and rural areas between Rockhampton and Mackay.

The seat of Dawson covers Mackay and rural areas between Mackay and Townsville, and is held by the LNP’s George Christensen by a 3.4% margin.

Labor holds the Townsville-area seat of Herbert by the slimmest of margins. Labor’s Cathy O’Toole won in 2016 by just 37 votes, and her re-election bid is far from guaranteed. It’s entirely possible that this could be one of the only Labor seats to fall while Labor makes gains elsewhere.

The Liberal National Party’s Warren Entsch holds Leichhardt in far north Queensland by a 3.9% margin. Entsch has won Leichhardt at all but one election since 1996 (barring 2007, when he did not run). The seat’s main population centre is Cairns, but it also covers the Cape York Peninsula.

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  1. I think Leichardt might buck the trend of the other 4 seats in this list, Shorten has been there 4 times this election so their polling must have then competitive, and I think climate change as an issue will be really important up there with the reef dying.

    As for the other 4, god knows what’ll happen. I remember reading Nats apparently saying Dawson was as good as lost a week or so ago, but haven’t heard anything since.

  2. Herbert was already gone for the ALP way before the non-announcement about Adani. Given the margin, Cathy O’Toole has been an uninspiring Member. Labor’s fence-sitting on mining has played into perceptions that North Queensland doesn’t matter to politicians from Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne; and while it has strengthener their green credentials in seats like Dawson and Capricornia those voters had never voted for the LNP. What has happened is that a lot of rusted-on traditional working ALP voters are moving to the ABALP (Anyone But ALP) side. Seats such as Flynn and Capricornia should have been pick-ups this time for Labor, but you’ll see a swing to the LNP instead.

    Leichardt is an odd seat – like Kennedy it’s help solely on personality. If Entsch retires (again) or the boundaries change significantly the seat will almost certainly go to the ALP. The differential between the State vote and Entsch’s vote once you get out of Cairns, is up to 20 percent particularly in the more remote indigenous communities. As boatswain1025 noted, Shorten has been to Cairns multiple times – but Leichardt isn’t just Cairns.

  3. I’m surprised how everyone has down talked Labor’s chances in Herbert, I read that apparently the Palmer deal has not gone down well at all in that seat. With a sophomore effect expected and anger at a LNP deal with Palmer, on the backdrop of a general swing to the ALP in the state, I think the ALP still could hold it.

    I’d still expect labor to hold at least 1 or 2 of the above 5 seats after the election.

  4. This is one place where NOTHING unpredictable will happen.
    Geez Boaty the bloody reef has been dying of something since i started breathing !!. Look at what the reef has adapted to since the Younger Dryas (12000 yrs ago). THAT was climate change !!.

  5. Leichhardt is Cairns plus 2 other areas which balance each other out on 2016 votes…..so it is Cairns effectively
    People assume Herbert which is only Townsville will shift back to libs but I don’t know
    Dawson, Flynn, Capricornia………. each is a special case I cannot pick but I guess Labor would be very unlucky not to pick up at least one probably more

  6. Flynn looks likely as Labor’s best chance .. young, energetic, articulate candidate v old, poorly-presented, semi-articulate incumbent. Christensen should be ousted in Dawson purely in consideration of his poor representation of the Electorate by being in the Phillipines more than at home… I suspect he will still win. Russell Robinson in Capricornia is also a big chance given he is a third generation miner – surely he is not the type of candidate who could lose votes over Adani?

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