Herbert – Australia 2019

ALP 0.02%

Incumbent MP
Cathy O’Toole, since 2016.

Geography
Herbert covers the vast majority of the urban area in Townsville. It also covers rural areas to the west of Townsville which are contained in Townsville LGAs.

Redistribution
No change.

History
Herbert is an original federation seat. The seat originally covered most of North Queensland, from Mackay to the Torres Strait, but now is almost entirely based in Townsville. The seat has long been a marginal seat, and only three former MPs have managed to retire on their own terms.

The seat was first held by Fred Bamford, who held the seat for a quarter of a century. He was first elected as a Labor member and was expelled from the ALP over conscription in 1916. He served briefly as a minister under Billy Hughes and represented the Nationalists under his retirement in 1925.

At the 1925 election, Premier of Queensland Ted Theodore resigned from office in order to run for Herbert, but was surprisingly defeated by Lewis Nott of the Nationalists, who held the seat for one term. Nott later emerged as the first member for the Australian Capital Territory as an independent from 1949 to 1951.

George Martens won the seat for the ALP in 1928 and held it until his retirement in 1946. The seat was then held by Labor’s William Edmonds until 1958.

Edmonds was defeated that year by John Murray of the Liberal Party, who was defeated himself by the ALP’s  Ted Harding in 1961. Harding was defeated in 1966 by Robert Bonnett. The seat was then held solidly by the Liberal Party for a long period. Bonnett retired in 1977 and Arthur Dean held on to the seat for the Liberals from 1977 to 1983.

In 1983, Dean was defeated by the ALP’s Ted Lindsay, as part of Bob Hawke’s election win over Malcolm Fraser. Lindsay held the seat for the entirety of the Hawke/Keating government before being defeated in 1996 by Liberal candidate Peter Lindsay (no relation). Lindsay was re-elected four times, and retired in 2010.

The Liberal National Party’s Ewen Jones won the seat in 2010. The redistribution had made Herbert a notional Labor seat, but a swing of 2.2% saw Jones retain the seat for the LNP. He was re-elected in 2013.

Jones lost in 2016 to Labor candidate Cathy O’Toole in an extremely close race. Recounting eventually gave O’Toole the seat with a 37-vote margin.

Candidates
No information.

Assessment
Herbert is the most marginal seat in the country and will be a key contest.

2016 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Ewen Jones Liberal National 31,36135.5-7.8
Cathy O’Toole Labor 26,90030.5+1.1
Geoff VirgoOne Nation11,95013.5+12.7
Colin DwyerKatter’s Australian Party6,0706.9-1.2
Wendy Tubman Greens 5,5336.3+1.0
Michael PunshonFamily First3,1753.6+2.3
Aaron RaffinGlenn Lazarus Team1,9372.2+2.2
David HarrisLiberal Democrats1,0961.2+1.2
Martin BrewsterPalmer United Party3150.4-8.5
Informal6,5256.9

2016 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Cathy O’Toole Labor 44,18750.0+6.2
Ewen Jones Liberal National 44,15050.0-6.2

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into five areas. Most of the seat’s population lies in the Townsville urban area, and these booths are divided into three areas: Townsville, Mundingburra and Thuringowa-Douglas. The remaining booths are divided between those in the rural hinterland to the west of Townsville, and those on islands off the coast.

Despite the result being a virtual tie, the ALP managed to win a majority of election-day ordinary votes in four out five areas, ranging from 50.3% in Townsville to 60.1% on the islands. The LNP won 50.2% in rural mainland parts of Herbert. The LNP performed most strongly in the pre-poll and other votes, achieving almost 54% of the pre-poll vote and almost 55% of other votes.

Labor won 2902 more election-day votes than the LNP, while the LNP outpolled Labor by 2865 votes in the special vote.

Voter groupON prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Thuringowa-Douglas14.953.417,81520.2
Mundingburra12.553.817,76820.1
Rural20.749.89,07710.3
Townsville8.650.38,0009.1
Islands7.060.11,7262.0
Other votes13.945.212,31813.9
Pre-poll12.346.121,63324.5

Election results in Herbert at the 2016 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and One Nation primary votes.


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