I’ve decided to start a series going in-depth into particular key electorates in this electorate. Most of these are races between the ALP and LNP, although I will include two independent seats as well as Indooroopilly, and today’s seat.
Pauline Hanson has announced that she will run for the South-East Queensland seat of Beaudesert at the upcoming Queensland election. Beaudesert covers the rural areas to the south of Ipswich and Brisbane, largely covering the Scenic Rim LGA, along with the southern suburbs of the City of Logan. The seat is bordered by Southern Downs on the west, Lockyer to the northwest, Logan to the northeast, and the Gold Coast seats of Albert, Gaven and Mudgeeraba on its eastern border. To the south lies New South Wales.
The recent redistribution saw little change in the electorate, with small parts of the electorate’s northeast, near Logan, being moved out of the electorate. This saw the seat become 1.4% safer for the National Party, moving from a 4.5% margin to a 5.9% margin.
In spite of the size of the electorate, the vast bulk of the voters live in the northeast corner of the electorate near Logan, which also covers those areas which are more Labor-voting, compared with the more-conservative and more sparesely-populated areas in the rural parts of the electorate.
The following map shows the 2006 election results. Booths are coloured according to a calculated two-party-preferred vote, based on 32% of Greens preferences going to the ALP and 21% going to the National Party. The yellow line is the 2009 boundary for the electorate, and booths are sized in proportion to the number of voters who cast ballots at that booth.
As you can see, the Labor-voting suburbs in the north-eastern corner, which are part of the City of Logan, are balanced by the marginal National suburbs to the immediate south of that area, with far more conservative areas in the west of the electorate.
The following map attempts to measure relative levels of support for the One Nation/Pauline Hanson agenda. Polling booth results are only available on the AEC website dating back to 1998, so I have used booth results from the 1998 federal election. Booths are white where One Nation polled under 20%, grey where they polled 20-40% and black where they polled over 40%.
The three very small booths in the northwest of Beaudesert where One Nation polled over 40% were the only three that were inside the federal electorate of Blair in 1998 when Pauline Hanson contested it, with most of the electorate lying to the north of the current Beaudesert. However, it’s possible that more suburbs in the current electorate were part of the Oxley electorate that elected Hanson in 1996.
In a lot of ways, this electorate reminds me of the state electorate of Wollondilly in Sydney, with a deceptively-large and deceptively-rural electorate divided between conservative rural towns and Labor-voting urban fringe.
It seems like a reasonably smart move for Hanson to pick this electorate. It is one of the seats that lies in the 1990s One Nation heartland, even if it wasn’t right at the centre of Hanson’s old stomping ground. However the suburbs of Logan don’t seem particularly friendly to her agenda. It seems most likely that the result remains a likely win for the LNP. However the shake-up of the field caused by Hanson’s entry into the race, combined with the newness of the LNP candidate, could produce an ALP win, even if the statewide vote goes againt Labor.