Herbert – Australia 2019

ALP 0.02%

Incumbent MP
Cathy O’Toole, since 2016.

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.

No change.

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.


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

2016 result

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

2016 two-party-preferred result

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
Other votes13.945.212,31813.9

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

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  1. Nanette Radeck KAP Candidate In Herbert is shown on KAP website holding meeetings in Stockland shopping centre. This means they are much better organised than has previously been the case. You can not just rock up to a commercial mall and start sprooking.
    As I said earlier KAP Will probably out Poll Palmer and Ashby-Hanson and Nanette Radek may become part of a block of KAP MPs.State MPs have
    Done a good job looking after the interests of their respective electorates. Consequently I can see KAP building a solid base in 2019 to relaunch a true rural party replacing ineffective NTionals in 2022.

  2. Palmer’s advertisments appear to be coming intrusive. At a non political function I was talking to an ALP leaning friend and a couple of non political members started to winge about Palmer’s Ads. I have not heard this level of complaint about political campaigning since Campbell Newman’s initial Ashgrove campaign. If Outer Suburban bribanites are sick of his advertising. How much more will be the case in Townsville.
    Can anyone in Herbert fill us in on how intrusive Palmer’s campaign has become.
    I am beginning to think that Herbert will be a very interesting seat to watch with no result for about a week.
    Andrew Jackson

  3. NSW election makes my comment of March 9 all the more valid. If NSW has a problem with an independent National Party and the election showed up a big problem. Queensland’s equivalent will be much greater. Country Queensland is suffering as much as Country NSW and in NSW rural voters could mistakenly park their vote with Nat’s but only the most delusional country voter can think that the party of Campbell Newman is anything other than the Parliamentary Arm of Brisbane City Council. Even those of us who Townsville voters think live in Brisbane but who in reality live on Brisbane’s outskirts are aware that the current ALP Government and LNP alternative view inner city residents who want to live adjacent to brothels, strip clubs, bridges, are the dominant influence on major parties. We know that these King’s in reinforced concrete are in charge.

    A recognition that this is the case could result in a serious increase in Radeck’s vote.

    There is great similarity between Bob Katter’s policies and Shooters Farmers and Fishers and neither of them can be regarded as Right Wing by anyone other than a Left Wing extremist. On most things they stand between the socialism of ALP and market worship of the Liberals. At the same time they support a responsible environmental policy putting mankind ahead of nature worship. They reject the hatred espoused by fascist leaning groups.


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