Whitsunday – QLD 2020

LNP 0.7%

Incumbent MP
Jason Costigan (NQF), since 2012.

North Queensland. The seat stretches along the Queensland coast from just north of Mackay to just south of Bowen. It covers parts of Mackay and Whitsunday local government areas, including Cannonvale, Airlie Beach, Proserpine, Calen and some outer northern and western suburbs of Mackay.

Whitsunday was created for the 1950 election and was a solid seat for the Country/National party for most of its history.

The seat was held by three MPs from the Country Party or National Party from 1950 until 1989.

In 1989, the ALP won government for the first time in decades under its leader Wayne Goss. In a shock result, Whitsunday was won by the ALP’s Lorraine Bird.

Bird held the seat throughout the Goss government. She was defeated in 1998 by One Nation’s Harry Black. Black left One Nation in 1999 and helped found the City Country Alliance that year.

In 2001, Black ran as the City Country Alliance candidate, but was defeated by the ALP’s Jan Jarrett. Jarrett was re-elected in 2004, 2006 and 2009, and was appointed as Minister for Tourism, Manufacturing and Small Business in February 2011.

In 2012, Labor MP Jan Jarrett was defeated by LNP candidate Jason Costigan. Costigan was narrowly re-elected in 2015 and 2017.

Costigan was suspended from the LNP in early 2019. He went on to sit in parliament as an independent, and formed the North Queensland First party later that year.


Whitsunday has been a very close seat in both 2015 and 2017. It is only likely to get more complex with Costigan now running for his own minor party. The seat is also a strong one for One Nation. All of this is a recipe for a fragmented primary vote and a complex preferential count. It could also mean that Labor is well placed with the conservative vote split between Costigan, One Nation and the LNP.

2017 result

Jason Costigan Liberal National 8,77432.2-9.5
Bronwyn Taha Labor 8,50331.2-4.7
Noel SkippenOne Nation5,47120.1+20.1
Jenny WhitneyKatter’s Australian Party2,4999.2+9.2
Imogen Lindenberg Greens 1,5625.7-0.9
Dan Van BlarcomIndependent4771.7+1.7

2017 two-party-preferred result

Jason Costigan Liberal National 13,82950.7+0.1
Bronwyn Taha Labor 13,45749.3-0.1

Booth breakdown

Booths in Whitsunday have been divided into three areas. Polling places on the outskirts of Mackay have been grouped, with the remainder split into centre and north.

The LNP won a sizeable 56.6% majority of the two-party-preferred vote in the centre of the seat, while Labor won in the north (51%) and in the Mackay area (53.7%). The LNP narrowly won the pre-poll vote, which made up about 40% of the total vote, and won the other votes by a larger margin.

One Nation came third, with a primary vote ranging from 18.5% in the north to 22.2% in the centre.

Voter groupON primLNP 2PPTotal votes% of votes
Other votes21.954.23,32712.2

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


  1. Amanda Camm (the LNP candidate) ran here for KAP in 2012 – came third with 22%. Just in case this seat wasn’t confusing enough already…

  2. Ah you beat me to first comment 😛 glad they’re open on this electorate.
    @BoP, I was unaware of that in what already is quite a fascinating seat.

    Biggest campaign news of the past month was that the ALP Candidate was pushed and replaced by a ‘Captains Pick.’ “https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-26/qld-premiers-captains-pick-sees-two-labor-branches-close/12597176” is the article for reference, with the former ALP Candidate now campaigning for the KAP Candidate. I had previously posted on Poll-bludger about my earlier prediction of NQF Retain, despite Costigans ‘sleaziness’, the locals seem to love him. However, with the above change for ALP and already with a swing on in the regions, their vote will plummet. Question now is who benefits and when the merry-go-round of musical chairs stops, who will be victorious out of LNP, NQF, ONP, KAP or even maybe PUP! This electorate, like Townsville, has the most confirmed candidates so far with 7. (As at 4/9/20)

    Prediction (August 2020): TOSS-UP – NQF Lean

  3. Labor will probably be in 3rd or 4th place here. But i highly doubt Costigan holds on. I see him as another Fraser Anning who will quickly fade away after the election, It’s like Terry Mills,Nick Xenophon and all. allot of people predicted them to win their seats even here, But they ended up losing. Minor parties seem to be overstated allot. I think the LNP will hold this one (From the last election so it would be considered an LNP recovery if anything) There is no way PUP does well. PUP vote will be down from the federal election. People don’t like Palmer at all. especially what hes been saying with the border closures lately. Palmer won’t affect the outcome of this seat or the election and nor will Mr.Costigans party. It will all come down the Green and One nation preferences in the southeast and Katters and One Nation in the regions.

  4. Camm. Also served as Mackay’s deputy mayor up until the council elections and stepped down to run here. So she should go well in the south of the seat which are the northern suburbs of Mackay and the outlying rural areas of that council.

    I’ve met her a few times too. Seems very impressive and ministerial material.

  5. Agree, she’s a very impressive candidate for the LNP and if they win, she would be looked at for some position I’d imagine.

  6. I doubt if Ron Camm would have still been in LNP. I would think he would have joined Katter or possibly the other way. Amanda Camm should be in KAP rather than in Libs.

  7. @ Daniel

    I don’t think Labor will finish third or fourth. Labor wouldn’t have gone to all that trouble to replace the candidate if they weren’t in the race. However, the fall out over the changing the candidate that doesn’t have branch members support definitely will harm their chances. LNP are definitely favorites to win the seat and Jason Costigan won’t be in the final two party preferred in my opinion. It will be a Labor vs LNP two party preferred contest.

    Also Politics Obsessed the ABC article states the former Labor candidate for Whitsundays Tracy Cameron has ‘endorsed’ the Katter Australia Party candidate. It doesn’t say that she will campaign for him.

  8. @Political Nightwatchman re: well I’ll go in-between, she’s definitely helping him, as in her words ‘he was the best choice for the community’ and didn’t want to support the ONP candidate as they were running because they wanted to be a career politician. That’s straight from the horses mouth. I should have made the distinction between the article and the local knowledge I had.

    I guess LNP are favourites to pick up their former seat, but it really isn’t that clear cut. I still see it as a 4-horse race between LNP/NQF/KAP/ONP. True there are more outs for the LNP to win (NQF and ONP out will give a high % of prefs to LNP) but there’s a chance with the ALP vote plummeting and their prefs more likely going KAP or maybe ONP, that one could snowball preferences across (a la KAP in Hinchinbrook 2017). That might even save Costigan. PUP hasn’t been campaigning as much in this seat, but their preferences will be a bonus to LNP, but can see them taking crucial votes off all of them [LNP/NQF/KAP/ONP]. I’m keeping a close eye on the campaigns, but it really is still early to call.

  9. This one and a few others are obvious KAP targets. Robbie Katter has grown into a mature leader and is looking to build a bigger team around him and this election is one which should give him that opportunity. ON might have a larger state based vote but KAP has the numbers where it needs them.

  10. Given the split in the vote on the right, inevitably Labor will come first on primary votes. The question then becomes who finishes second and whether the compulsory preference flows can push them into a winning position.

    Realistically the LNP candidate and then Costigan are far and away the most likely of all the candidates who could come second on primary vote. Given their toxic relationship it is difficult to see preferences flowing strongly from Costigan to the LNP or vice versa to deliver victory.

    Definitely a potential Labor gain.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here