Groom – Australia 2013

LNP 18.5%

Incumbent MP
Ian Macfarlane, since 1998.

Geography
Groom covers the city of Toowoomba and rural areas to the west of the city contained entirely within Toowoomba Region council area.

History
Groom was created as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives at the 1984 election. The seat has always been held by Coalition MPs.

Groom was first won in 1984 by the National Party’s Tom McVeigh. McVeigh had been Member for Darling Downs since the 1972 election, and was elected Member for Groom in 1984 when Darling Downs was abolished. Darling Downs had previously centred on Toowoomba, which became the centre of the new seat of Groom.

McVeigh retired in 1988, triggering a by-election. The Liberal Party contested the by-election, and their candidate Bill Taylor outpolled the Nationals by 4.5% on primary votes and won a substantial majority on Labor preferences.

Taylor held the seat for a decade, retiring in 1998. The Nationals again challenged for the seat, but fell into fourth place behind Labor and One Nation, with the Liberal Party’s Ian Macfarlane winning the seat.

Macfarlane was made a junior minister in January 2001, and joined the Howard cabinet after the 2001 election as Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, a role he held for the remainder of the Howard government. Macfarlane has been a senior member of the Coalition frontbench since the defeat of the Howard government in 2007.

Candidates

  • Robert Henry Thies (Citizens Electoral Council)
  • Troy Murray (Labor)
  • Chris Whitty (Katter’s Australian Party)
  • Ian Macfarlane (Liberal National)
  • Trevor Smith (Greens)
  • Rick Armitage (Rise Up Australia)
  • Ewen James Mathieson (Palmer United Party)
  • Alex J Todd (Family First)

Assessment
Groom is a very safe LNP seat.

2010 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Ian MacfarlaneLNP51,75761.25+8.54
Chris MeibuschALP19,15322.67-12.16
Frida ForsbergGRN6,1657.30+2.46
Rose KirkwoodFF4,6965.56+1.18
Rod JeanneretIND2,7303.23+2.63

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Ian MacfarlaneLNP57,91268.53+10.31
Chris MeibuschALP26,58931.47-10.31
Polling places in Groom at the 2010 federal election. North in orange, South in blue, Toowoomba North in green, Toowoomba South in yellow. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Groom at the 2010 federal election. North in orange, South in blue, Toowoomba North in green, Toowoomba South in yellow. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into four areas. A majority of the population lives in the Toowoomba, and these booths were split into two halves: north and south. The booths outside of the Toowoomba urban area have also been split into north and south.

The LNP won a majority in all four areas, ranging from 62.3% in Toowoomba North to 77.4% in the rural south of the seat.

Voter groupGRN %LNP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Toowoomba South7.5767.5223,75128.11
Toowoomba North8.5862.2623,04427.27
North5.7573.7011,95814.15
South4.8777.416,3437.51
Other votes7.1771.1419,40522.96
Two-party-preferred votes in Groom at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Groom at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Toowoomba at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Toowoomba at the 2010 federal election.

26 COMMENTS

  1. KAP oughta do well here. They actually have a state MP in this part of the world, thanks to Ray Hopper defecting to them after being elected for the LNP.

  2. Ben, I’m starting to think that you must rely on candidates to contact you to tell them that you are running. Maybe this explains it. But you’ve left out Bradley Tanks, who is the Australian Independents candidate for Groom. This fellow has received significant media attention too. He as on local TV the other day and in the local papers.

  3. Thanks for the candidate information, Mark, I’ll add them to their respective pages when I get a chance on the weekend.

    I have contacted the major parties and asked for lists of candidates – I don’t have the time to go through every local paper in the country and every tiny microparty like the Australian Independents (who as far as I can tell are not yet registered) to find out which candidates they are running.

    I don’t shy away from admitting that I’m more interested in finding out the names of the candidates for parties that run at every election and get a large number of votes – beyond that, people can post candidate names and I will add them to the list.

    I’ve had plenty of experience before with pro-Patricia Petersen trolls gumming up my comment section. Waging internet war against all and sundry isn’t going to do you any good.

  4. Also, on your prompting I have just found this page. It’s a bit rich for you to get cranky at me for not posting the names of candidates who aren’t even on your party’s website!

  5. Also while we’re on the topic of Petersen’s “party” – the political party registration guide says:

    Section 129 of the Electoral Act provides that an application will be refused if the party name or its abbreviation:

    -is more than six words long
    -is obscene
    -is the same as, or is likely to be confused with, or mistaken for, the name of a ‘recognised political party’, unless that other party is a ‘related party’
    -suggests a relationship or connection with a registered political party if that connection or relationship does not in fact exist
    uses the words ‘Independent Party,’ or the word ‘Independent’ with the name of a recognised political party, or in a way that is likely to be confused with the name of a recognised political party.

    So I don’t see how this “party” can get registered with that name – so I’m sorry if you’re offended that in the process of combing through the close to 50 parties that have been registered or are getting registered to find candidates, I haven’t gotten to one that is yet to get its application posted for objections on the AEC website.

  6. Ben, for your interest, I had a look at the spelling of the Australian Independents party on the AEC website. It actually says “Australian Independents”. I’ve just read the restrictions on names which you’ve correctly copied and pasted from the AEC website. I’m not sure that I see a problem to be honest. The AEC obviously doesn’t have an issue with it either otherwise they wouldn’t be at the “advertisement” stage.

    1. It is not more than six words long
    2. It is not obscene
    3. It is not the same as, or is likely to be confused with, or mistaken for, the name of a ‘recognised political party’, unless that other party is a ‘related party’
    4. It does not suggests a relationship or connection with a registered political party if that connection or relationship does not in fact exist
    5. It does not use the words ‘Independent Party,’ or the word ‘Independent’ with the name of a recognised political party, or in a way that is likely to be confused with the name of a recognised political party.

    Is there something that I’m missing? If so, please explain. Thank you.
    By the way, I wouldn’t expect you to know every candidate from every party. Apparently there will be about 40 parties registered by the time the election comes around. I didn’t mean to cause offence with what I said earlier. Mark.

  7. Hi Mark,

    No worries, please continue to post candidate names when you find them.

    I think Petersen’s party name breaches #5. It doesn’t say “Independent Party”, but it uses another phrase that effectively claims all “independents” as hers.

    I’m sure you’re going to see objections on those grounds – it’s possible the AEC will consider the name after receiving objections.

  8. You’ve written “I think Petersen’s party name breaches #5. [because it says Independent Party?] but then you say “It doesn’t say “Independent Party”, then you go on to say “it uses another phrase that effectively claims all “independents” as hers.”
    I honestly don’t think that the AEC will have any problems with the name if this is the objection – because it doesn’t really make sense sorry Ben. Not meaning to be offensive, but your objection doesn’t make sense. Maybe have a think about it a bit more clearly? You are probably busy and haven’t had a chance to make sense of it yet. Understandable given you are running this site and it seems to be quite hectic on here.

  9. “Independent” is a word in Australian politics that applies to all candidates who don’t have an affiliation with a political party.

    To call yourself “Independent Party” or another generic party name that says “Independent” suggests that your members are independents, which is a contradiction with the fact you are a political party.

    I think the name “Australian Independents” has the same problem that would be caused by the words “Independent Party”. I don’t think the fact that the party is not using the word “Party” in its name changes that.

  10. There have been previously registered parties that have used the words ‘Independent’ or ‘Independents’, eg ‘Independent EFF’, but the only one registered since the new restrictions on party names came into force was the ‘Peter Andren Independent Group’ (which never made it on to a ballot paper). I would think that name is a different situation since it was being used in connection with a specific person’s name. I would imagine this name will generate objections as it definitely could be confusing to voters.

  11. Ben, what you said:
    ““Independent” is a word in Australian politics that applies to all candidates who don’t have an affiliation with a political party.

    To call yourself “Independent Party” or another generic party name that says “Independent” suggests that your members are independents, which is a contradiction with the fact you are a political party.

    I think the name “Australian Independents” has the same problem that would be caused by the words “Independent Party”. I don’t think the fact that the party is not using the word “Party” in its name changes that.”

    That’s all your personal opinion.
    The rules surrounding non-acceptance of registration of parties is VERY specific. You haven’t successfully argued a case against the name.

    You obviously don’t like this party for some reason. Maybe you are in the Liberal party and there are ideological differences between you and them, I’m not sure, but the AEC would not accept anything you have written.

    It’s VERY specific:

    1. It is not more than six words long
    2. It is not obscene
    3. It is not the same as, or is likely to be confused with, or mistaken for, the name of a ‘recognised political party’, unless that other party is a ‘related party’
    4. It does not suggests a relationship or connection with a registered political party if that connection or relationship does not in fact exist
    5. It does not use the words ‘Independent Party,’ or the word ‘Independent’ with the name of a recognised political party, or in a way that is likely to be confused with the name of a recognised political party.

    You haven’t successfully argued against ANY of these.
    If you are really wanting this party not to register, I suggest you hire a lawyer and give them a shot at it. But what you’ve written just doesn’t cut it.

    By the way, I mean no offence by anything I’ve written.

  12. Mark, Ben is not targeting you, or your party specifically. He’s one of the most tolerant and accepting of other people’s views on this site out of everyone.

    Ben’s stating his interpretation of the rules relating to the registration of party names, as are you. The fact that you came to different conclusions is beside the point.

    How about we drop the issue until a decision is made by the AEC (who should be making the decision)?

  13. For the record, I agree with Ben that the idea of having a party of independents is a contradiction in terms…

    … and Ben’s a Green.

  14. Macca has a point, I’m sure the AEC will make it’s call. Maybe this name will get through.

    I have had experience with Patricia Petersen and her supporters using this blog before to wage cyber-war on their campaign opponents, so maybe that’s coloured my opinion.

    I’m certainly not a Liberal – I make my political affiliations pretty clear on this blog.

    I find it incredibly arrogant to call your party “Australian Independents” – effectively claiming the title for all the other independents who have nothing to do with your party. I hope the AEC does strike the name down – I guess we’ll have to see.

  15. I suspect it will come a cropper on #5, even if you could argue the case.

    5. It does not use the words ‘Independent Party,’ or the word ‘Independent’ with the name of a recognised political party, or in a way that is likely to be confused with the name of a recognised political party.

    I’ve always thought the obvious area to go for if you wanted easy votes was the “Informal Vote”. “Vote for us if you don’t want to be represented!”

  16. This is actually an interesting debate. If the Independent party would have gone with independence party you would probably have made since globally multiple Independence parties exist such as UKIP in the UK and the junior coalition party in Iceland. The closest thing however to Independents party name wise is the American Independent party which was a segregationist political party in the south. But even it put American in front of their name and left off the s.

  17. Okay I’m off. I’m not even part of the party the Australian Independents. I cop enough shit at my work to be at the receiving end of shit by you Ben. If you have a problem with Patricia Petersen take it up with her. I’m never even met the woman.
    I don’t think that if you are in the Greens that you are doing them any favours. I was planning on voting Greens at the next election but if this is the way you Greens people carry on, forget it. The Sex Party will do for me.

  18. I’m sorry you feel that way Mark. I don’t know what you took personal offence at from my last comment – none of it was directed at you.

  19. I agree with the suggestion that an “Independent Party” is a contradiction in terms.
    Still, candidates with substance can and do get elected, regardless of whether they call themselves Independent or are part of some Independent Alliance.
    Somebody once said that Bob Katter could call himself a candidate for a party of some really ridiculous name (eg. the Rotten Hippie Fruit-fly Party), and the people of Kennedy would still elect him easily.
    Katter’s mob didn’t do well in suburban Toowoomba, where most of this seat’s booths and voters are, despite a good showing in non-urban areas.
    Unless there’s an Independent or a minor party candidate of substance that Toowoombans in particular feel willing to support, I expect Ian Macfarlane to romp it in.

  20. This is the old Darling Downs renamed. In 1901 it was won by the only transported convict to serve in federal parliament.

  21. Geoffrey Robinson is an historical database! Thanks for all the interesting tidbits you add.

Comments are closed.