Cook – QLD 2017

ALP 6.7%

Incumbent MP
Billy Gordon (IND), since 2015.

Far North Queensland. Cook covers all of Cape York and extends to the northern fringe of Cairns. It includes the towns of Port Douglas, Mossman and Cooktown, as well as all of Cape York and the Torres Strait Islands.

Cook gained a small area from the neighbouring seats of Barron River and Dalrymple, but these changes did not shift any voters between electorates.

A seat by the name of Cook has existed since 1876, except for one term in the 1950s. The seat was held by the ALP for most of the twentieth century.

The seat was first won by the ALP in 1915, when Henry Ryan won the seat. The Country Party’s James Kenny won the seat in 1929 and held it until 1935. The ALP’s Harold Collins won the seat in 1935. He held it until Cook was abolished at the 1950 election. He moved to the seat of Tablelands, which he held until 1957.

Cook was restored at the 1953 election, when it was won by the ALP’s Bunny Adair. He left the ALP to join the anti-communist Queensland Labor Partyin 1957. He then became an independent in 1963, and held the seat until 1969.

The ALP’s Bill Wood held the seat from 1969 to 1972, followed by Edwin Wallis-Smith, also from the ALP, from 1972 to 1974.

The Country Party’s Eric Deeral won the seat in 1974 and lost it in 1977.

Bob Scott won the seat back for the ALP in 1977 and held it until 1989. Steve Bredhauer held the seat from 1989 to 2004, serving as Minister for Transport from 1998 to 2004. Bredhauer was succeeded in 2004 by his electorate officer Jason O’Brien.

Jason O’Brien was re-elected in 2006 and 2009. In 2012, O’Brien was defeated by LNP candidate David Kempton.

Kempton lost in 2015 to Labor candidate Billy Gordon. After he was elected, accusations surfaced against Gordon about previous criminal offences committed in the 1980s, as well as accusations of domestic violence. These offences had not been disclosed to his party, and Gordon was expelled from the Labor caucus over the issue. Gordon has sat on the crossbench as an independent for the remainder of his term.


Cook could go any number of ways. It is certainly possible Gordon could retain his seat. In normal circumstances you’d expect an incumbent Labor MP to hold on to the seat, but it is possible that Gordon and the Labor candidate could split that vote and allow the Liberal National candidate to win.

2015 election result

Billy Gordon Labor 10,11940.4+8.0
David Kempton Liberal National 8,42433.6-3.9
Lee MarriottKatter’s Australian Party3,13412.5-9.8
Jason BoothPalmer United Party1,6786.7+6.7
Daryl Desjardin Greens 1,3535.4-0.1
Michaelangelo NewieIndependent3321.3+1.3

2015 two-party-preferred result

Billy Gordon Labor 12,52756.8+10.2
David Kempton Liberal National 9,54043.2-10.2

Booth breakdown

Booths in Cook have been divided into three areas. Polling places in Port Douglas have been grouped together, and the remaining booths have been split into north and south.

There is a wide variation in the two-party-preferred vote across the seat. Labor won over 70% in the north, and barely won 51% in Port Douglas. The LNP won 53.3% in the south.

Katter’s Australian Party came third, with a vote of 8-9% in the north and Port Douglas, and 23.4% in the south.


Voter groupKAP prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Port Douglas9.351.13,47413.9
Other votes11.554.610,97243.8

Election results in Cook at the 2015 QLD state election
Click on the ‘visible layers’ box to toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Katter’s Australian Party primary votes.

About the Author

Ben Raue is the founder and author of the Tally Room.If you like this post, please consider donating to support the Tally Room.