Fairfax – Australia 2019

LNP 10.9%

Incumbent MP
Ted O’Brien, since 2016.

Geography
Sunshine Coast of Queensland. Fairfax covers the central part of Sunshine Coast Regional Council. It covers the towns of Buderim, Maroochydore and Nambour, as well as following the coast from Maroochydore to Coolum Beach.

Redistribution
Fairfax lost a small area on its southern boundary, including Palmwoods, to Fisher. This change had no impact on the seat’s margin.

History
Fairfax was first created in 1984 when the House of Representatives was expanded, and has always been held by conservative parties. The seat was first won by Evan Adermann of the National Party, who had previously held Fisher since the 1972 election and served as a minister in the Fraser government.

Adermann retired at the 1990 election, and the seat was fought as a three-cornered contest in 1990. The ALP came first on primaries, with the Nationals leading the Liberals by 0.7% on primary votes. A high Democrats vote pushed the Liberals ahead of Nationals candidate John Stone, who had resigned from the Senate to contest the seat, and Liberal candidate Alex Somlyay won the seat on National preferences.

Somlyay held the seat by varying margins, most recently having a margin of over 62% following the redistribution before the 2007 election. A 9.4% swing to the ALP made Fairfax a marginal seat following the 2007 election. A 4% swing back to the LNP strengthened Somlyay’s position in 2010.

In 2013, Alex Somlyay retired, and the seat was won by Clive Palmer, running for his newly founded Palmer United Party. The race was extremely close, only being decided after weeks of counting. Palmer won by only 57 votes.

Candidates

  • Michelle Dracoulis (Labor)
  • Assessment
    In the absence of a big-spending candidate like Clive Palmer, this seat is reasonably safe for the LNP.

    2016 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
    Ted O’Brien Liberal National 44,78748.4+7.148.5
    Scott Anderson Labor 19,05420.6+2.420.6
    Susan Etheridge Greens 11,67212.6+4.312.7
    Robert PasqualiOne Nation9,0069.7+8.99.7
    Keith Alexander CampbellIndependent2,8863.1+3.13.1
    David ReesFamily First2,4492.6+1.02.6
    Robert DicksonIndependent1,9852.1+2.22.1
    Kris BullenOnline Direct Democracy6240.7+0.70.7
    Informal6,1466.2

    2016 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%SwingRedist
    Ted O’Brien Liberal National 56,29960.9-0.860.9
    Scott Anderson Labor 36,16439.1+0.839.1

    Booth breakdown

    Booths have been divided into four areas. Those booths near the coast have been split into “North-East” and “South-East”. The south-east is the most populous part of the seat, including Maroochydore and Buderim. The north-east includes seats close to the coast.

    Booths away from the coast have been split into those near the town of Nambour, and the other booths grouped as “West”.

    The LNP won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, with just under 57% in three of the four areas, and almost 61% in the south-east.

    The Greens primary vote ranged from 12% in Nambour to 17.6% in the west.

    Voter groupGRN prim %LNP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
    South-East12.760.816,08618.1
    Nambour12.056.910,26211.6
    North-East15.356.610,28811.6
    West17.656.65,9196.7
    Other votes13.261.612,43514.0
    Pre-poll10.963.933,76738.0

    Election results in Fairfax at the 2016 federal election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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    6 COMMENTS

    1. There’s rumor that Palmer might run again (But most likely senate if anything) Hes considering contesting his party in federal elections again. And if so. the only reason he will win here if he runs if from Labor pref’s I think he could win due to the fact that theres going to be a swing against the government and most likely, Change of government. It will be close if he runs, other than that Labor would have to win big if they have a shot at this one

    2. The Greens could do well in both the Sunshine Coast seats if they bothered to spend the resources to develop the party in the area; this seems like the sort of area where they’d be able to win over people who usually vote Liberal, and wouldn’t need a substantial primary vote to overtake Labor.

      Unfortunately they are too Brisbane focused. The sheer difficulty of breaking into politics in Queensland, even at the local government level, wouldn’t be lost on the Greens.

    3. How many resources do you think the Greens have John? Their cashflow is tiny compared to the major parties, most of the campaigning is volunteer driven and the volunteers happen to live mostly in the capital city… The resources they can share across large distances still make sense being concentrated into winning the Liberal seats of Brisbane and Ryan before it would make sense to go after Fairfax, if lower house wins were the goal.

      However I would expect the QLD Greens would be casting a wider net than they did in the state election just gone due to the senate seat on the line.

    4. Palmer will be slaughtered no matter where he stands. He relies on money with no branch structure.This problem is a major retardant with all minor parties. I doubt if PUP has a functioning branch anywhere.PUP candidates wewre mainly re-cycled candidates from other parties who dissaeared once the election was over.
      The one advantage had over other parties was money. Money does not get a party experienced skilled volunteers. Therefore both Beene and John are correct.Greens are more likely to have resources to function outside of city with existing front organisations conservation committees and the like able to rebadge themselves as green branches or Green branches.
      Andrew Jackso
      apjackson2@bigpond.com

    5. There seem to be lots of areas in Queensland that resemble Green voting areas in other states where they don’t seem to have gotten off the ground.

      Inner city Brisbane has a chance of going the way of inner city Melbourne, but the Sunshine Coast hippie towns and ecotourism areas aren’t getting anywhere near the votes of similar towns in northern NSW.

      The Greens have some strong booths in Fairfax (and Fisher and Wide Bay), but they should be winning those booths in a landslide and that could form the basis of a genuine attempt to win the seat, the same way they leveraged Byron, Mullumbimby etc. to end up winning Ballina. I think they missed a trick in Noosa last state election, which was won by a Green-like independent.

      In my experience however you’re right Bennee; Green volunteers aren’t particularly mobile. Even going from the Inner West of Sydney to other parts of Sydney where byelections are on doesn’t seem to happen much. Greens do actually have a good “local group” structure and don’t have the minor party disease Andrew Jackson talks about, but they don’t respond well to centrally coordinated action.

      The major parties seem to have busloads of volunteers and paid staffers ready to go to where they’re needed. Volunteer at a byelection and you’ll meet interesting people from all over Australia.

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