Stafford by-election, 2014

July 19, 2014

Cause of by-election
Sitting member Chris Davis won the seat for the Liberal National Party at the 2012 election. Davis was appointed as Assistant Minister for Health following the election. In 2014, he came into conflict with the leadership of the Newman LNP government over health reforms and changes to the Crime and Misconduct Commission. On 13 May 2014, Davis was sacked as a minister after speaking out against the government’s policies on those issues.

After moving to the backbench, Davis voted with opposition members against Newman government laws reducing public funding and weakening restrictions on private donations to parties and candidates.

On 23 May 2014, Davis resigned from Parliament, in protest at his sacking from the ministry and the Newman government’s changes to electoral finance laws.

MarginLNP 7.1%

Geography
Brisbane. Stafford covers the northern Brisbane suburbs of Gordon Park, Stafford, Stafford Heights, Grange and parts of Wilston, Alderley, Lutwyche, Kedron and Chermside.

History
The seat of Stafford was first created in 1972. It was abolished in 1992 before being restored in 2001. The seat was a marginal seat throughout the 1970s and 1980s, but has been held by the ALP since its restoration.

The seat was first won in 1972 by William Harvey. He was defeated by the Liberal Party’s Terry Gygar in the 1974 landslide election.

Gygar held the seat at the 1977 and 1980 elections before losing in 1983 to the ALP’s Denis Murphy. Murphy was diagnosed with cancer and died in 1984 without ever speaking in Parliament.

Gygar regained his seat at the 1984 by-election, and held it until 1989.

Rod Welford won the seat for the Labor Party in 1989. When Stafford was abolished in 1992 he moved to the neighbouring seat of Everton. He held Everton until his retirement in 2009. He also served as a minister in the Beattie and Bligh governments from 1998 to 2009.

The ALP’s Terry Sullivan won the newly restored seat of Stafford in 2001. Sullivan had first been elected at the 1991 Nundah by-election. Nundah was abolished in 1992, and Sullivan moved to the new seat of Chermside. This seat was also abolished in 2001, and Sullivan moved to Stafford. He retired in 2006.

Stirling Hinchliffe, also of the ALP, won the seat in 2006, and retained it in 2009.

At the 2012 election, Hinchliffe lost the seat to LNP candidate Dr Chris Davis after a swing of over 14%.

Candidates

  • Bob Anderson (Liberal National)
  • Sally-Anne Vincent (Family First)
  • Anne Boccabella (Greens)
  • Anthony Lynham (Labor)

Assessment
The LNP government’s popularity has fallen significantly since the 2012 election, and the February 2014 by-election in Redcliffe saw a large swing to Labor, more than sufficient to see Labor gain the seat. The circumstances of Dr Davis’ resignation from the seat will damage the LNP further within Stafford. With a high-profile Labor candidate, and a new LNP candidate, a 7% margin will be very difficult for the government to defend.

2012 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Chris Davis LNP 13,423 50.23 +12.35
Stirling Hinchliffe ALP 8,972 33.58 -14.87
Peter Jeremijenko GRN 3,020 11.30 -0.49
Karin Hunter KAP 1,307 4.89 +4.89

2012 two-candidate-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Chris Davis LNP 14,302 57.06 +14.35
Stirling Hinchliffe ALP 10,763 42.94 -14.35
Polling places in Stafford at the 2012 state election. Central in green, North in blue, South in orange. Click to enlarge.

Polling places in Stafford at the 2012 state election. Central in green, North in blue, South in orange. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths in Stafford have been divided into three areas: north, south and central. The ‘Central’ area is dominated by the suburb of Stafford, while the ‘North’ is dominated by the suburb of Chermside.

The Liberal National Party topped the poll in all three parts of the seat, with a slightly higher vote in the south and north than in the centre. The estimated two-party-preferred vote for the LNP was just under 59% in the north and south, and 55.8% in the centre. The LNP polled a majority in the north and south and not in the centre.

The ALP’s vote peaked at 35.6% in the centre, ranging down to 30.7% in the south.

The Greens came third, with the vote ranging from 8.2% in the north to 13.7% in the south.

The Electoral Commission did not release booth-level two-party-preferred results at the 2012 state election, so two-party-preferred figures are estimates based on primary votes and the seatwide distribution of preferences.

Voter group LNP % ALP % GRN % LNP 2PP Total votes % of votes
Central 49.40 35.56 9.67 55.84 8,701 32.56
South 51.79 30.74 13.74 58.97 7,164 26.81
North 52.72 33.92 8.23 58.66 3,452 12.92
Other votes 48.55 33.83 12.30 55.90 7,405 27.71
Liberal National primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.

Liberal National primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.

Labor primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.

Labor primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.

Greens primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.

Greens primary votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.

Estimated two-party-preferred votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.

Estimated two-party-preferred votes in Stafford at the 2012 state election.

 

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.