Thuringowa – QLD 2020

ALP 4.1% vs ON

Incumbent MP
Aaron Harper, since 2015.

Far North Queensland. Thuringowa covers southern and western suburbs of Townsville, including Thuringowa Central, Condon, Rasmussen, Kelso and Kirwan.

The seat of Thuringowa has existed since 1986. The seat has been won by the ALP at all but two elections, with One Nation interrupting the Labor hold on the seat in 1998 and the LNP winning in 2012.

Thuringowa was won in 1986 by Labor MP Ken McElligott, who had been first elected in Townsville in 1983. He served as a minister in the Goss government from 1989 to 1991 and again from 1995 to 1996.

At the 1998 election, McElligott was defeated by One Nation’s Ken Turner. Turner, like every other One Nation MP elected at the 1998 election, soon left the party, becoming an independent in 1999.

Labor candidate Anita Phillips defeated Turner in 2001. She served one term before stepping down in 2004 to run for the federal seat of Herbert, unsuccessfully.

Craig Wallace retained the seat for Labor in 2004 and was re-elected in 2006 and 2009. Wallace served as a minister from 2006 to 2012.

In 2012, Wallace was defeated by LNP candidate Sam Cox. Labor suffered a 22% swing on primary votes, and dropped to third place behind Katter’s Australian Party.

Labor came back in 2015, with Labor candidate Aaron Harper defeating Cox with a 12% swing. Harper won a second term in 2017.


Thuringowa would be an attractive target for the LNP or One Nation.

2017 result

Aaron Harper Labor 9,39432.2-8.9
Nick Martinez Liberal National 6,19121.2-13.0
Mark ThorntonOne Nation5,87820.2+14.3
Terry FoxKatter’s Australian Party4,54615.6+15.6
Mike Rubenach Greens 1,6335.6+1.3
Stephen LaneIndependent1,5275.2+5.2

2017 two-candidate-preferred result

Aaron Harper Labor 15,79554.1-2.4
Mark ThorntonOne Nation13,37445.9+45.9

Booth breakdown

Booths in Thuringowa have been divided into three areas: central, north and south.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote against the LNP in all three areas, with 55% in the north and south and 58% in the centre.

One Nation came third on the primary vote, with a primary vote ranging from 17.8% in the north to 21.1% in the south.

Voter groupON primKAP primALP 2PPTotal votes% of votes
Other votes19.414.452.23,98913.7

Election results in Thuringowa at the 2017 QLD state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party.


  1. Labor apparently would have lost this seat to One Nation last election. But the controversy around the One Nation candidate, made the LNP decide during the campaign to preference Labor instead. It was the only seat that the LNP directed preferences to Labor over One Nation in the regions and it saved Labor the seat.

    Apparently Law and Order are big issues in this seat. One Nation have announced their candidate but I am suspecting this will be more likely a Labor vs LNP contest. I think the pandemic is going to cause problems with the minor parties vote with voters returning to the major parties.

    This seat will be one to keep an eye on.

  2. Yes IIRC Labor would have only held on by a tiny margin if it came down to Labor vs LNP (the on the night 2PP), and in most regional seats going to Labor vs PHON would have given PHON enough of a boost to win (but didn’t here due to LNP preferences). Labor probably would have also lost Mundingburra if PHON wasn’t excluded before LNP. (And thst possibility made the result only known at the last moment)

    Without a big announcement. and maybe even with one, Labor will start the election at -3 from Townsville alone.

  3. @John I’m with you that Labor really is feeling the swing in Townsville and quite rightly could loose all 3 seats (this one, Townsville, Mundingburra). KAP, ONP and to a lesser extend LNP have been hitting this seat hard. ALP had a couple of ministers come up in the past month to announce a couple of projects and visit the region, but it was really tokenism. Julianne (KAP) has been in the news a bit with Bob about their Kajabbi crime solution, which if you haven’t guessed already, crime is a huge talking point in Townsville and the main reason why ALP is seriously on the nose here. I genuinely had this one as a 4-way split between ALP/LNP/ONP/KAP but from what I’ve been hearing on the ground… I just can’t see ALP holding unless there is a seriously bad split between the LNP/ONP/KAP and those preferences flow to ALP above the others. I still think Mundingburra is KAP’s best bet with the MP retiring there, but Bob Katter has been very visible in Townsville the past 3 weeks.

    Prediction (August 2020): TOSS-UP (No idea/no lean)

  4. Every second Facebook post by Aaron Harper seems to be about law and order or a fervent condemnation of a crime in his electorate.

    I have family who live in this district. I only hope that if Labor must lose, then it’ll be the KAP who gains it and not One Nation.

  5. Seat polls, via Poll Bludger:

    Ipswich: Labor 44 (-4), LNP 29 (+16), ONP 5 (-22), GRN 12 (+3).
    Keppel: Labor 34 (-9), LNP 40 (+15), ONP 10 (-16), GRN 7 (+1).
    Mackay: Labor 36 (-7), LNP 37 (+12), ONP 7 (-16), GRN 6 (+1).
    Thuringowa: Labor 33 (+1), LNP 40 (+19), ONP 4 (-16), GRN 7 (+1), KAP 7 (-9).

    If that’s true, the bottom’s fallen out of One Nation, and the LNP would probably win Thuringowa and Keppel.

    Polls were commissioned by a coal mining company and reported in the Australian, so make of that what you will.

  6. @Bird of Paradox – copious grains of salt as always with seat polls but at least it’s something to start with, as polls have been a bit lacking recently. I find it more interesting for the trends, ALP down in regions but maybe not as much as thought, but echoes comments on other seat profiles about a pandemic affecting minor votes (ONP,KAP) and benefiting major parties (this case LNP). I also think this was done after recent qld parliament vote [Edit: ‘Environmental Protection and Other Legislation Bill’] and discussion on coal, especially around Colinsville Power Plant. I think that KAP vote should hold in Thuringowa as they’ve been quite visible, but can definitely see the ONP vote going to LNP, by how much, I don’t know.

  7. That poll lines up with my prediction. PHON are no longer a force (though I think they’ll hold Mirani) but those voters who left Labor for PHON aren’t coming back. On the plus side that firms up seats like Rockhampton for Labor, but it also means their seats in danger like this one will go straight to the LNP column.

    Of course seat polls are notoriously unreliable but I am predicting an LNP gain in all 3 ALP held Townsville seats.

  8. Wrong, LNP won’t win all 3. One Nation has a better shot at this one. And it us silly to assume PHON will lose votes thus time around. They will only strengthen their vote in the regions. I reckon if the ALP don’t win this seat. PHON will. And a hung parliament is likely

  9. Pauline Hanson is nothing but a loud mouthed Liberal in a wooly coat. She votes with Liberals on every important issue. She takes policy from anyone but her own members who are mainly so retarded that policy is beyond them.
    The only times she voted differently to libs is when she framed motion or she is supporting a motion by another minor party.

  10. Daniel – you seem very sure. At 8.,15pm on the night of the Brisbane Council election you were predicting a change in town hall. In the end the LNP did not lose a single seat. So lots of grains of salt here….

  11. Moderate, I suggest you check out the comments policy, specifically the clause asking that you “Play the ball, not the man”.

    Repeatedly bringing up someone else’s previous predictions as something to discredit their arguments is verging on breaching this point. I suggest finding something else to use to make your point.

  12. @ Daniel, a poll released in The Australian the other day on Thuringowa had the PHON primary down almost 16 percent and LNP up almost 20, KAP was down too.

  13. FTB
    Mate you have put me in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with Daniel !!.

    No one ought to believe the PHON vote is going any where but North. Heard of the “shy Tory factor”. Most ON voters don’t promote the fact. Most of my Labor/ Green voting friends IMMEDIATELY dismiss ON voters as racists, rednecks, morons, etc, etc,. Unless you are someone ( like me for instance), why would you want the argument, projection, condemnation ??
    cheers WD

  14. Ben
    You are so right. Moderate is so wrong to restrict himself in such a way. Daniel provides such rich, & varied opportunities for comment !!. His predictions have been very entertaining, but the subject of predictions can become a little tedious.
    After all we are about to have one of the most fascinating state elections for decades.
    cheers WD

  15. Ok sure Ben. Bit of a stretch having looked at the policy but its your blog, you run it the way you want.
    I was just pointing out that Daniel has a fair bit of form…

  16. With Troy Thompson having pulled out of the race, this changes the balance here. Pauline has mentioned ONP will replace him with another candidate, but that really has hurt their chances here. (Townsville Bulletin by the way – pay-walled so haven’t linked here.)

    Deb Frecklington (LNP) visiting recently and the announcement about supporting Glencore Copper Smelter and Refinery (ALP) which affects the Townsville 3 seats and Mount Isa. Interesting play there from ALP, but KAP is claiming credit as they have been pushing for this issue. It does reek a little of desperation from the ALP. Based on the campaign materials out [yes that eyesore of a Palmer billboard in the CBD] and from talking with others I’m going with…

    Prediction (September 2020): TOSS-UP (LNP or KAP Gain)

    I know that’s my strongest prediction of all the seats (bar Pumicestone and Maiwar) but I really can’t see ALP holding on, even with a flurry of recent announcements.


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