Toowoomba North – QLD 2020

LNP 5.7%

Incumbent MP
Trevor Watts, since 2012.

Geography
Northern parts of Toowoomba, including central Toowoomba as well as Wilsonton, Rockville, Mount Lofty, North Toowoomba, East Toowoomba, Harlaxton and parts of Newtown.

History
The seat of Toowoomba North was first contested at the 1972 election. While the seat has been held by conservative parties for a majority of its existence, it has often been won by the ALP.

The seat was first won in 1972 by the ALP’s Ray Bousen, but he lost in a landslide victory for the Bjelke-Petersen government in 1974. John Lockwood of the Liberal Party won the seat in 1974.

Lockwood held the seat until the 1983 election, when he was defeated by Sandy McPhie of the National Party. At the 1983 election, the coalition between the National Party and the Liberal Party was dissolved, and a majority of Liberal MPs were defeated for re-election, including Lockwood.

McPhie held the seat until 1989, when he was defeated by the ALP’s John Flynn as part of the ALP’s return to power under Wayne Goss. Flynn lost in 1992 to the National Party’s Graham Healy.

Healy was re-elected in 1995 and served as a parliamentary secretary in the Borbidge government in 1998. He then served as a shadow minister after the ALP won the 1998 election.

In 2001, Peter Beattie’s ALP won a second term in a landslide, and the ALP’s Kerry Shine defeated Healy in Toowoomba North. Shine served as Attorney-General in the Beattie and Bligh governments from 2006 to 2009, and held the seat until 2012.

In 2012, Shine was defeated by LNP candidate Trevor Watts. Watts was re-elected in 2015 and 2017.

Candidates

  • Megan O’Hara Sullivan (Labor)
  • Trevor Watts (Liberal National)
  • Assessment
    Toowoomba North will likely stay with the LNP.

    2017 result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Trevor Watts Liberal National 13,12842.2-2.2
    Kerry Shine Labor 10,27433.0-5.8
    Paul WilsonOne Nation4,56114.7+14.7
    Emmeline Chidley Greens 2,0336.5+2.0
    Josie TownsendIndependent1,1183.6+3.6
    Informal1,1663.6

    2017 two-party-preferred result

    CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
    Trevor Watts Liberal National 17,33755.7+4.1
    Kerry Shine Labor 13,77744.3-4.1

    Booth breakdown

    Booths in Toowoomba North have been divided into three areas: east, north and south.

    The LNP won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in the east (55%) and north (55.7%), while Labor won 53.5% in the south.

    One Nation came third, with a primary vote ranging from 11.1% in the east to 16% in the north.

    Voter groupON primLNP 2PPTotal votes% of votes
    North16.055.78,98528.9
    East11.155.06,02519.4
    South15.846.54,28213.8
    Pre-poll15.058.05,89018.9
    Other votes15.061.05,93219.1

    Election results in Toowoomba North at the 2017 QLD state election
    Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and One Nation primary votes.

    8 COMMENTS

    1. Toowoomba seems to be the largest city in Australia that votes like a country town, and it seems to have only gotten more conservative over time. I don’t think this seat is ever going back to Labor.

    2. @John

      Toowoomba North ‘never going back to Labor’ is a bit misleading. In 2015 it almost did, and there were some on the ground on polling day for the LNP who were convinced the seat was lost. But Labor’s vote in semi-rural affluent Highfields was so abysmal and it didn’t match the swing of the rest of the electorate that it literally saved the LNP the seat on a margin of 1.6%.

      In 2017, the Labor strongholds of Harlaxton, Newtown, and Wilsonton voted in strong numbers for One Nation and the preferences flowed back to the LNP.

      This seat will be an interesting one. MP Trevor Watts has found himself in hot water recently by breaching the Coronavirus restrictions. He resigned from the ministry. Despite this I still think the LNP are the favorites here.

      Labor have chosen a strong candidate in Toowoomba Regional Councilor Megan O’Hara Sullivan.

    3. *He resigned from the shadow ministry

      I reckon the Toowoomba seats should be east/west rather than north/south.

    4. Political Nightwatchman
      A few years back State Electoral Commission put up a proposal to divide Toowoomba East West. They backed down after 219 of the 313 Public Comments came from Toowoomba the majority of which were complaints about Highfields being taken out of Toowoomba North.Some of these were just regurgitated But a lot were well written. BJA suggestion that Toowoomba should be divided East West was proposed by ECQ in2017 and they backed down after listening to Toowoomba residents. The big problem is not Highfields but a Toowoomba West seat would cut a long way into Condamine and would make the seats geographically country but demographically city. Toowoomba is a very easy city to drive around in. Just about every street runs from Northern boundary of Toowoomba North to Southern end of Toowoomba South or from Western boundary of both seats to Eastern Boundary of both seats. The one exception to this is Highfields which is a protrusion out of North of Toowoomba North. Highfields is not just the Range but the area behind the range where wealth is less evident. In fact it looks decidedly rural in West. I agree with John unlikely to vote Labor either on millionaires range or in backblocks of suburb.
      Toowoomba is now one of very few provincial cities with its own daily newspaper.
      I have a week planned in city for Carnival of Flowers and should have more info after that. I know from talking to another Tallyroom contributor that rural towns behind Toowoomba have suffered tremendously from COVID 19 lockdown and expect LNP to do relatively well West of city but I doubt if Toowoomba itself has had a huge decline.
      Political Nightwatchman in 2015 Labor did not nearly win Queensland was dumping Newman. Satan himself would have won some seats so the Toowoomba North results indicate how unlikely ALP are to win seat. The fact that there were a lot of candidates would have depressed the LNP vote.Three of the five minor party candidates were conservative. PUP, KAP and FF. (Total vote for them 11.16 meant LNP vote depressed) My prediction LNP will retain both Toowoomba seats with increased majority over both 2015 and 2017 results. Note this is not bum general prediction for State only Toowoomba.

    5. I used to frequent here in my younger days but haven’t been back for a few years now. I more thought T’ba as a North vs South divide, even though I can see why you’d consider East v West, just going along the growth corridors, N v S is a better divide. Choosing a councillor is a smart job and gets some profile. Although, if they couldn’t get T’ba Nth to Shine for the ALP, I doubt they’ll get it this time. Definitely more chance in getting back this seat as opposed to T’ba Sth anytime in the future.

      Prediction (August 2020): LNP Retain

    6. Am currently in Toowoomba for Carnival of Flowers and some evidence of campaigning. ads in Chronicle. Trucks and vehicles with LNP and Hansonite propaganda. In way up through Esk a very old shipping container dumped in a field with very old Pauline Hanson advertising.
      Somerset Council were very aggressive a few years ago over corflutes signage. Is a dumped shipping container council jurisdiction? However shipping containers are far more unsightly than corflutes.

    7. You can see why the LNP fought so hard to keep Highfields in the seat at the last redistribution.

      Kerry Shine was the Labor candidate at every election from 1998 to 2017. His personal vote was no doubt significant, and that will be reflected in the swing. Probably looking at 60+% 2PP.

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