Capricornia – Australia 2013

ALP 3.7%

Incumbent MP
Kirsten Livermore, since 1998.

Geography
Central Queensland. Capricornia covers the Queensland coast from Rockhampton to just south of Mackay.

History
Capricornia is an original federation electorate. After changing between a number of parties in early decades, it has been held by the ALP for most of the last half-century, with the exception of two wins by the Country/National Party at particular low-points for the ALP.

The seat was first won in 1901 by independent candidate Alexander Paterson. Paterson didn’t run for re-election in 1903, and was succeeded by the ALP’s David Thompson.

Thomson lost in 1906 to the Anti-Socialist Party’s Edward Archer. Archer too was defeated after one term, losing in 1910 to the ALP’s William Higgs.

Higgs was a former Senator for Queensland, who held Capricornia for the next decade. He served as Treasurer in Billy Hughes’ government from 1915 to 1916, resigning over Hughes’ support for conscription. Ironically he later left the ALP in 1920 and ended up in Hughes’ Nationalist Party. He failed to win re-election as a Nationalist in 1922, losing to the ALP’s Frank Forde.

Forde was the state MP for Rockhampton, and rose quickly in the federal Labor ranks. He served as a junior minister in the Scullin government, being promoted to cabinet in the final days of the government in 1931. Forde became Deputy Leader of the ALP in 1932.

Forde contested the leadership of the party in 1935, losing by one vote to John Curtin, having lost support due to his support for Scullin’s economic policies. He served as Minister for the Army during the Second World War on the election of the Curtin government.

Forde became Prime Minister in July 1945 upon the death of John Curtin, and served eight days before losing a leadership ballot to Ben Chifley. He served as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence in the aftermath of the Second World War, until he lost Capricornia at the 1946 election, despite the ALP winning a comfortable victory.

Capricornia was won in 1946 by the Liberal Party’s Charles Davidson. Davidson moved to the new seat of Dawson in 1949, and went on to serve as a minister in the Menzies government before retiring in 1963.

Davidson was succeeded in Capricornia in 1949 by Henry Pearce, also from the Liberal Party. Pearce held Capricornia for twelve years, losing in 1961 to the ALP’s George Gray.

Gray held the seat until his death in 1967, and the ensuing by-election was won by Doug Everingham. He served as Minister for Health in the Whitlam government, but lost Capricornia in 1975 to Colin Carige of the National Country Party, winning it back in 1977. Everingham then managed to hold the seat until his retirement in 1984.

He was succeeded in 1984 by Keith Wright, who had been the Labor leader in the Queensland parliament since 1982 and member for Rockhampton since 1969. Wright held Capricornia until 1993, when he was charged with rape, leading to him losing his ALP endorsement. He contested Capricornia as an independent, but lost to ALP candidate Marjorie Henzell.

Henzell held the seat for one term, losing to National candidate Paul Marek in 1996. Marek also held the seat for one term, losing to the ALP’s Kirsten Livermore in 1998. Livermore has held the seat ever since.

Candidates
Sitting Labor MP Kirsten Livermore is not running for re-election.

Assessment
Labor has been performing very poorly in Queensland over the last few years, and Capricornia is Labor’s fourth-most marginal seat in the state and the only Labor state outside of the south-eastern corner of the state. The loss of Kirsten Livermore’s personal vote will hit Labor hard, and it’s hard to see them retaining Capricornia without her vote in current circumstances.

2010 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Kirsten LivermoreALP36,79345.77-9.57
Michelle LandryLNP32,48940.42+3.44
Paul BambrickGRN4,4355.52+2.52
Sandra CorneloupFF2,8023.49+1.70
Shane GuleyIND2,0452.54+2.54
Bevan MowenIND1,4021.74+1.74
Steve JefferySEC4140.52+0.52

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Kirsten LivermoreALP43,15053.68-8.40
Michelle LandryLNP37,23046.32+8.40
Polling booths in Capricornia at the 2010 federal election. Rockhampton City in red, Rockhampton Rural in green, Isaac in blue, North in orange. Click to enlarge.
Polling booths in Capricornia at the 2010 federal election. Rockhampton City in red, Rockhampton Rural in green, Isaac in blue, North in orange. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into four areas. Booths in the Isaac Regional Council area have been grouped together. This area has the smallest population but covers the largest areas. A majority of voters live in the Rockhampton council area. Booths in this area have been split between those in the Rockhampton urban areas itself and those outside of it. Booths in the Mackay and Whitsunday areas have been grouped as “North”.

The ALP won a majority in three areas, varying from 51.9% in the north to 62% in Isaac. The ALP won 56.7% in Rockhampton’s urban area, which is the dominant part of the electorate. The LNP won over 52% of the vote in the rural parts of Rockhampton council.

Voter groupGRN %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Rockhampton City5.7756.7428,58335.56
North4.1251.9012,78715.91
Rockhampton Rural7.7547.9611,22013.96
Isaac3.3562.265,7347.13
Other votes5.4351.4422,05627.44
Two-party-preferred votes in Capricornia at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Capricornia at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in the Rockhampton urban area in Capricornia at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in the Rockhampton urban area in Capricornia at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes along the coast near the Keppel Islands area in Capricornia at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes along the coast near the Keppel Islands area in Capricornia at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Capricornia near Mackay at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Capricornia near Mackay at the 2010 federal election.

49 COMMENTS

  1. Based on current political climate in Queensland and the retirement of local member Kirsten Livermore this seat will be lost by Labor at the forthcoming federal election. The conventional wisdom is that a retirement of a local member is worth a couple of percentile points to the political party.

    Latest Sports Bet odds in Capricornia shows that Labor has drifted from $1.90 to $2.20 whilst the Coalition has firmed from $1.90 to $1.62.

  2. Bear in mind, after the disaster of 2012, Qld Labor still held the state seats of Rockhampton and Mackay – if that doesn’t say “impregnable”, I’m not sure what does. Labor could lose a fair bit of vote, but I wouldn’t be surprised if most of that went to Katter’s party, not the Libs. Here’s the 2012 KAP vote in the seats in this part of the world:

    Whitsunday 22.3%
    Mirani 19.1%
    Mackay 18.9%
    Keppel 15.9%
    Rockhampton 12.6%

    If they do well again, who knows. There’s little sensible polling info, especially considering Newspoll tend to get KAP’s vote unrealistically low. When that gets fixed it might become clear.

  3. Latest Sports Bet odds in this seat show that the Coalition has firmed from $1.62 to $1.50 whilst Labor has drifted from $2.20 to $2.25.

    The unpopularity of the Prime Minister, the Labor brand and the retirement of the local member makes it highly unlikely that the government will retain this seat.

  4. More bad news for Labor candidate Peter Freeleagus with the momentum in Capricornia continuing for the Coalition..

    Sports Bet odds today in Capricornia has the LNP steady at $1.52 and Labor drifting from $2.25 to $2.35.

  5. Labor’s primary vote in Capricornia will fall quite dramatically with the retirement of popular MP Livermore and with the addition of a Katter candidate. Their preferences will likely determine the outcome. The LNP are favourites to win no doubt.

  6. Continuation of bad news for Labor candidate, Peter Freeleagus.

    Sports Bet odds in Capricornia show the LNP has firmed from $1.52 to $1.45 whilst Labor has drifted from $2.35 to $2.55.

  7. Momentum still continues for the LNP.

    Centrebet odds in Capricornia this morning show that the gap widens between the major parties, with the price for Labor drifting from $2.35 to $2.50 whilst the price for LNP firming from $1.50 to $1.45.

  8. B of P
    Just wondering what would it take in terms of KAP primary vote for them to win this.
    ie: say a primary of 22 -25% + minor party preferences. Is this such a high bar. Seems only a little higher than the one Wilkie got over last time

  9. I dare say you’d need more than that Winediamond. Denison was different because it was a four-cornered contest. In a three-cornered contest, you need more like 38-40%.

  10. Macca – BNE
    Thought i took that into account…. In the end you need that, but that end figure includes the preferences picked up.(through the distribution)

  11. I doubt this is where the KAP will get mid 20s, they should decide the seat but i recon with Rudd as leader they may be lenient towards preferencing labor or an open ticket which would be devistating to the LNPs chances here. Gotta remember Capricornia was I think the highest swing to labor in a labor held seat, will be tough to hold but Labor might sneak home but only if they are first on the primary

  12. Winediamond – Wilkie won off 21%, but there was a 20% green + other vote.
    If you had four candidates who could all get almost 20% each, then you could win off 21-25%.

    Let’s take a hypothetical three-cornered contest with no others. Assuming you could get 100% of all preferences, the absolute minimum you could win off is 25.1%. Obviously, this is TOTALLY unrealistic, as it assumes the runnerup gets 49.9% of primary votes and then loses. So unless you’ve got at least 30-35% of the primary vote, you would be highly unlikely to win, as you would need almost all the preferences to go your way.

    In the end you need over 50% to win after preferences.

  13. Capricornia isn’t in play as the ALP and LNP vote will be high enough to ward off the KAP vote with Palmer’s preferences. Katter plus Palmer won’t exceed the 25% to 30% range in Capricornia while I expect the ALP vote to hold at least 35% first preference. LNP will be around the same margin on how well the ALP now hold on.

    Pre Rudd the LNP vote would have been closer to 45% while the ALP vote 30%. The LNP would have won.

    Now I think if Katter preferences the ALP it is over while if the ticket is split it will be very close..

  14. Queensland Observer
    Your first sentence is a prediction, it may well be entirely accurate. On balance the odds are with you. However what if Katter can inspire a greater volatility, & reduce the core vote of at least one of the major parties??. I just have this sense that Queensland parochialism is being under-estimated.

  15. if I underestimated Katter I would not be attributing 25% plus of the vote to him. if I underestimated I would be stating 10% or less.

  16. Surge in support for Rudd Labor with the government now slight favourites to retain this seat.

    According to Sports Bet odds in Capricornia today, support for Labor tightens from $2.55 to $1.60 whilst support for the LNP drifts from $1.45 to $2.30.

  17. Support for Rudd Labor is also confirmed in the latest Centrebet odds.

    This morning Centrebet odds in Capricornia show that support for Labor has firmed from $2.50 to $1.40 whilst support for the LNP has eased from $1.45 to $2.50.

  18. Unlike Bundaberg Rockhampton isn’t showing a long-term drift away from Labor, this is sort of seat that Labor should hold baring an absolute Qld wipeout on 1975 & 1996 lines.

  19. Further support for Rudd Labor in this electorate.

    This afternoon Sports Bet odds in Capricornia show support for Labor tightens from $1.60 to $1.50 whilst support for the LNP eases from $2.30 to $2.50.

  20. More support for Rudd Labor in this electorate.

    This afternoon, Sports Bet odds in Capricornia show that support for Labor firms from $1.50 to $1.33 whilst support for the LNP drifts from $2.50 to $3.00. This momentum is also reflected in the latest Centrebet odds in this seat with support for Labor strengthening from $1.45 to $1.35 whilst support for the LNP easing from $2.50 to $2.90.

  21. Continued support for Rudd Labor in this seat.

    This afternoon, Sports Bet odds in Capricornia show that support for Labor tightens from $1.33 to $1.30 whilst support for the LNP dwindles from $3.00 to $3.25.

  22. Support for the Coalition according to Centrebet.

    This afternoon, Centrebet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor drifts from $1.35 to $1.40 whilst support for the LNP firms from $2.90 to $2.70.

  23. Support for Rudd Labor according to the betting sites.

    This morning, Centrebet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor firms from $1.40 to $1.25 whilst support for the LNP drifts from $2.70 to $3.80. Currently, Sports Bet odds in this seat shows support for Labor tightens from $1.30 to $1.25 whilst support for the LNP eases from $3.25 to $3.75.

  24. Momentum for the Coalition according to the betting sites.

    This evening, Sports Bet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor eases from $1.25 to $1.50 whilst support for the LNP firms from $3.75 to $2.50. Currently, Centrebet odds in this electorate shows support for Labor drifts from $1.25 to $1.40 whilst support for the LNP tightens from $3.80 to $2.70.

  25. Gap continues to close between the major parties according to Centrebet.

    Currently, Centrebet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor eases from $1.40 to $1.51 whilst support for the LNP firms from $2.70 to 2.35.

  26. A big chance this could go to the Coalition if KAP polls well. My info is that KAP will not preference Labor here and probably goes somewhat to the stronger betting for the LNP. One of those seats which are just too hard to call, however, one would expect under a split ticket the majority of PUP and KAP preferences would flow to the Coalition.

  27. Gap is also closing between the major parties according to Sports Bet.

    Currently, Sports Bet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor drifts from $1.50 to $1.53 whilst support for the LNP tightens from $2.50 to $2.40.

  28. Word today is that the KAP will preference Labor here. That will end whatever chance the LNP had. These KAP preferences could be a sleeper. It was reported in the Australian they may also be preferencing the ALP in some western Sydney seats. Because of the number of candidates on the ballot paper they will go through other minors like FF etc first and LNP voters won’t realise they have put the ALP ahead of the Libs until they have already have nearly filled out their ballot paper. Most probably wont be bothered to ask for a new one. Of course the ALP will make sure there are plenty of ‘KAP’ poll workers in such seats. Wouldn’t be suprised if this happens in seats such as Longman also. LNP needs to wake up to this quick smart.

  29. I think you both underestimate voters and overestimate them. The ones that will follow the HTV card rather than making their own choice aren’t going to care about which major party is listed first. The ones that do care about which major party is listed first aren’t going to follow the HTV card – at least, not without first reading it through and making their own changes.

  30. In the State Election last year Labor remained in the state seat of rockhampton against the odds – however the seat of Keppel (also in Capricornia) fell to LNP. The seat of Mirani (covers some similar area) is also held by LNP and the other electoral areas in Capricronia are also LNP. The Katter vote in the state seat of Rockahmpton was 11.5% on top of a 8% swing to the LNP. So overall the vote away from Labor was 19.5% and yet Labor still held on…. just. They did so (I believe) because they had a fresh candidate after many years of the same old Robert Schwarten. They have done the same removing Kirsten Livermore (who is only 45) to (as she put it) to make way for someone younger. Labor are clever and trying to keep themselves in.

    In addition there is a Palmer Candidate now where there was none previously, there is also a Family First Candidate who has campaigned hard for over 12 months and has become very well known. When the morning bulletin did a poll of who would people would vote for, the Family First candidate (Hazel Alley) took 30% of the vote. It’s unscientific but shows that interesting different things are happening here.

    My take is that this electorate although historically labor is anybody’s guess.

  31. Gap continues to close according to Sports Bet.

    Currently, Sports Bet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor eases from $1.53 to $1.57 whilsts support for the LNP firms from $2.40 to $2.30.

  32. Improvement for Labor according to Centrebet.

    Currently, Centrebet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor tightens from $1.50 to $1.40 whilst support for the LNP drifts from $2.45 to $2.75.

  33. Setback for Labor according to Sports Bet.

    Currently, Sports Bet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor slips from $1.57 to $1.62 whilst support for the LNP firms from $2.30 to $2.20.

  34. Does anyone know if KAP is preferencing the ALP here. There was some discussion that it might happen, however, the KAP candidate chucked a wobbly at the thought and said they should be preferencing the LNP.

  35. Another setback for Labor according to Centrebet.

    Currently, Centrebet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor eases from $1.40 to $1.45 whilst support for the LNP tightens from $2.75 to $2.55.

  36. Momentum for the Coalition according to Sports Bet.

    Currently, Sports Bet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor drifts from $1.62 to $1.67 whilst support for the LNP firms from $2.20 to $2.10.

  37. More momentum for the Coalition according to Centrebet.

    This morning, Centrebet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor slips from $1.45 to $1.50 whilst support for the LNP tightens from $2.55 to $2.45.

  38. Momentum continues for the Coalition according to Centrebet.

    This afternoon, Centrebet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor eases from $1.50 to $1.55 whilst support for the LNP firms from $2.45 to $2.30.

  39. I would still say this is probably Labor’s best chance of retaining – probably across all of their seats in Queensland due to receiving KAP preferences and the strength of the union movement in this seat.

  40. More support for the Coalition according to Centrebet.

    This afternoon, Centrebet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor drifts from $1.55 to $1.65 whilst support for the LNP tightens from $2.30 to $2.10.

  41. Dead heat between the major parties according to Sports Bet.

    ThIs afternoon, Sports Bet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor slips from $1.67 to $1.85 whilst support for the LNP firms from $2.10 to $1.85.

    Momentum for the Coalition is also reflected in the latest Centrebet odds for this electorate. The support for Labor drifts from $1.65 to $1.75 whilst support for the LNP tightens from $2.10 to $2.00.

  42. I still see this as an LNP gain. I’m sceptical KAP will be able to man all the booths as well as LNP and ALP well. Unless you see a lot of ALP people donning KAP shirts to get the preferences in.

  43. Coalition are now the favourites according to Sports Bet.

    This afternoon, Sports Bet odds in Capricornia shows support for Labor eases from $1.85 to $1.90 whilst support for the LNP firms from $1.85 to $1.80.

    Support for the Coalition is also reflected in the latest Centrebet odds in this seat. Currently support for Labor slips from $1.75 to $1.80 whilst support for the LNP tightens from $2.00 to $1.90.

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