Dawson – Australia 2019

LNP 3.4%

Incumbent MP
George Christensen, since 2010.

Geography
Central and North Queensland coast. Dawson covers the Queensland coast from Mackay in the south to the outskirts of Townsville in the north. The seat covers the coastal areas, but not the inland areas, of Burdekin and Whitsunday local government areas, as well as parts of Townsville and Mackay LGAs.

Redistribution
Dawson lost a small area to the south of Mackay to the seat of Capricornia. This area covers McEwans Beach, Chelona and Rosella. These changes slightly increased the LNP margin from 3.3% to 3.4%.

History
Dawson was created in 1949 when the House of Representatives was expanded. The seat was first won by the Country Party’s Charles Davidson. Davidson had previously won the neighbouring seat of Capricornia in 1946 for the Liberal Party, defeating Frank Forde, who had served as the ALP’s Minister for the Army since 1941, serving as Prime Minister for one week in 1945 following the death of John Curtin.

Davidson served as a federal minister from 1956 until his retirement at the 1963 election. George Shaw succeeded Davidson as Country Party member in 1963, but died in early 1966 without ever facing re-election.

Rex Patterson (ALP) won the seat at the 1966 by-election. Patterson served as a minister in the Whitlam government from 1972 to 1975, and Patterson lost his seat at the election following the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975.

The seat was won in 1975 by Ray Braithwaite of the National Country Party. Braithwaite served as a backbencher for 21 years, retiring at the 1996 election.

Braithwaite was succeeded by De-Anne Kelly, also a National. Kelly was made a Parliamentary Secretary in October 2003, and was promoted to the junior ministry following the 2004 election. She was demoted back to a Parliamentary Secretary position in January 2006.

Kelly lost the seat at the 2007 election in a shock upset when a 13% swing to the ALP overturned Kelly’s 10% margin and gave the seat to Mackay City Councillor James Bidgood. Bidgood didn’t run for re-election in 2010, and a 5% swing back to the Liberal National Party saw George Christensen win the seat. Christensen was re-elected in 2013 and 2016.

Candidates

Assessment
Dawson is a marginal seat and could certainly be vulnerable to a strong Labor campaign, but Christensen is a prominent MP and will receive a lot of support.

2016 result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
George Christensen Liberal National 38,47442.6-3.642.6
Frank Gilbert Labor 29,60832.8+3.132.8
Ash DoddKatter’s Australian Party5,9046.5-0.26.5
Jonathon Dykyj Greens 4,6525.2+0.15.2
Steven LargeIndependent4,1844.6+4.64.6
Michael HallGlenn Lazarus Team4,0754.5+4.54.5
Amanda NicksonFamily First3,4033.8+1.93.8
Informal4,3094.6

2016 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
George Christensen Liberal National 48,16753.3-4.253.4
Frank Gilbert Labor 42,13346.7+4.246.6

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into five areas. Dawson covers parts of four local government areas. Polling places in Townsville, Burdekin and Whitsunday have been grouped according to council area. About half of voters live in Mackay Regional Council area. These booths are split between those in the Mackay urban area and those in the remainder of the region.

The LNP won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in four out of five areas, ranging from 52% in rural parts of the Mackay region to 62.4% in Burdekin. Labor won 53.4% in the Mackay urban area.

Voter groupLNP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Mackay Urban46.616,86318.9
Townsville53.98,6069.6
Mackay Rural52.07,6668.6
Whitsunday53.17,4058.3
Burdekin62.46,4987.3
Other votes56.211,09112.4
Pre-poll54.431,25835.0

Two-party-preferred votes in Dawson at the 2016 federal election

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11 COMMENTS

  1. I dare say that Christensen has quite a personal vote here and could well nullify the threat of One Nation taking it to preferences, that being said this will very much be in play come election time due to the fact that Turnbull isn’t particularly popular in the country.
    My prediction at the moment would be Christensen by a whisker 50.5 to 49.5

  2. As much as I’d love to see Christensen lose the seat, I doubt it will happen. I suspect Christensen will get support for being a ‘rebel MP who speaks his mind who is hard done by political correctness’ which will be enough for him to hold on. Turnbull’s unpopularity in rural Queensland, therefore, probably won’t factor very much in this seat.

  3. Matt
    I’M with you on Christensen. I too would love to see him turfed out, flushed if possible ! that is a clue to how i truly see him.
    I can’t bear big talkers, who won’t act. Has this bloke ever crossed the floor ? You are right, it will be interesting to see what his personal vote really counts for. I’ll wager it is more than he deserves.
    Do you think that Turnbull’s unpopularity outweighs Shorten’s ?. I doubt it

  4. L96
    I don’t think it will be close at all. More is the pity. Shorten has made sure that Turnbull’s unpopularity in rural QLD won’t be a factor

  5. George Christensen plays the role of an anti-establishment, independent character that seems to be sought in this electorate. Whether or not it contains actual substance, I think it will have enough of an impression that he should hold this seat, certainly a better chance than most LNP MP’s on this margin.

  6. I tend to think this seat is in to play for Labor now. Paul Williams wrote an article a week ago that the LNP on polling would have lost all their marginals under 4% in Queensland if Turnbull stayed on as PM. Dawson falls in that bracket. The fact the ugly leaderships spill has put their numbers further behind and the LNP missed out on Queenslander Peter Dutton being PM tends to point that its worked out worse for their prospects in Queensland.

    The fact Labor announced its candidate so early suggests they think this seat is winnable as well.

  7. Daniel… I agree.. George has a huge problem though that if one of the conservative minors launched a strong candidate against him He may very well be gone. George has threatened heaps but failed to do anything. A good Katter or one nation might see him on his way.

  8. The kinds of plays ScoMo is making are absolutely targeted at seats like Dawson. It’s possible with the Victorian results that internal expectations have shifted to saving the Queensland furniture now, too.

  9. Tony Zegenhagen has hit it on the nail. George Christiansen has said himself that he is in the wrong party but he remains in LNP. He should in fact be a Katter or DLP candidate. At times he comes close to PHON . We can thank GC for being the straw that broke the camal’s back of the Coalition’s opposition to the Banking Royal Commission but his voting record has supported neo liberalism policies. His electorate would be better served if he were to jump to cross bench just before the election and stand for Katter or Palmer. George Christiansen you know what is right and what is wrong. Australia needs you to not just talk but also jump.

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