Dawson – Australia 2013

LNP 2.4%

Incumbent MP
George Christensen, since 2010.

Geography
Central and North Queensland coast. Dawson covers the Queensland coast from Mackay in the south to the outskirts of Townsville in the north. The seat covers the coastal areas, but not the inland areas, of Burdekin and Whitsunday local government areas, as well as parts of Townsville and Mackay LGAs.

History
Dawson was created in 1949 when the House of Representatives was expanded. The seat was first won by the Country Party’s Charles Davidson. Davidson had previously won the neighbouring seat of Capricornia in 1946 for the Liberal Party, defeating Frank Forde, who had served as the ALP’s Minister for the Army since 1941, serving as Prime Minister for one week in 1945 following the death of John Curtin.

Davidson served as a federal minister from 1956 until his retirement at the 1963 election. George Shaw succeeded Davidson as Country Party member in 1963, but died in early 1966 without ever facing re-election.

Rex Patterson (ALP) won the seat at the 1966 by-election. Patterson served as a minister in the Whitlam government from 1972 to 1975, and Patterson lost his seat at the election following the dismissal of the Whitlam government in 1975.

The seat was won in 1975 by Ray Braithwaite of the National Country Party. Braithwaite served as a backbencher for 21 years, retiring at the 1996 election.

Braithwaite was succeeded by De-Anne Kelly, also a National. Kelly was made a Parliamentary Secretary in October 2003, and was promoted to the junior ministry following the 2004 election. She was demoted back to a Parliamentary Secretary position in January 2006.

Kelly lost the seat at the 2007 election in a shock upset when a 13% swing to the ALP overturned Kelly’s 10% margin and gave the seat to Mackay City Councillor James Bidgood. Bidgood didn’t run for re-election in 2010, a 5% swing back to the Liberal National Party saw George Christensen win the seat.

Candidates

  • Jonathon Dykyj (Greens)
  • George Christensen (Liberal National)
  • Lindsay Temple (Family First)
  • Ian Ferguson (Palmer United Party)
  • Andrew Harris (Citizens Electoral Council)
  • Bronwyn Taha (Labor)
  • Justin Englert (Katter’s Australian Party)

Assessment
Dawson is a very marginal seat, but with a new MP running for a second term and Labor’s popularity low in Queensland, Christensen should comfortably win re-election.

2010 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
George ChristensenLNP37,94045.74+2.62
Mike BrunkerALP33,21640.04-7.35
Jonathon DykyjGRN6,4067.72+3.29
Damian HerringtonFF4,1004.94+2.09
Bill IngreyCEC1,2871.55+1.07

2010 two-candidate-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
George ChristensenLNP43,49452.43+5.02
Mike BrunkerALP39,45547.57-5.02
Polling places in Dawson at the 2010 federal election. Burdekin in green, Mackay Rural in red, Mackay Urban in blue, Townsville in orange, Whitsunday in yellow. Click to enlarge.
Polling places in Dawson at the 2010 federal election. Burdekin in green, Mackay Rural in red, Mackay Urban in blue, Townsville in orange, Whitsunday in yellow. Click to enlarge.

Booth breakdown
Booths have been divided into five areas. Dawson covers parts of four local government areas. Polling places in Townsville, Burdekin and Whitsunday have been grouped according to council area. About half of voters live in Mackay Regional Council area. These booths are split between those in the Mackay urban area and those in the remainder of the region.

The LNP won four out of five areas, with the majority varying from 54.5% in Townsville and the rural parts of Mackay, up to 61% in Burdekin. The ALP won a 53.4% in the Mackay urban area.

Voter groupGRN %LNP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Mackay Urban9.0646.5824,81727.20
Whitsunday9.7955.1310,56411.58
Townsville7.2754.509,67310.60
Mackay Rural8.4754.478,7179.55
Burdekin2.3560.998,3009.10
Other votes7.1352.8220,87825.17
Two-party-preferred votes in Dawson at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Dawson at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Mackay at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Mackay at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in the Townsville part of Dawson at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in the Townsville part of Dawson at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Bowen at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Bowen at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Ayr at the 2010 federal election.
Two-party-preferred votes in Ayr at the 2010 federal election.

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82 COMMENTS

  1. Petrie I am told is line ball, could go either way but I am confident rudd is losing momentum. OxleyiI think will swing harder than the state average as the LNP Candidate has worked it hard, similar with rankin

  2. Observer – it varies depending on the seat, the primary party, the preferenced party, etc. Greens preferences usually go 80% to Labor, but it does vary.

    Liberals preferenced Greens over Labor in Grayndler in 2010, but 26% of Liberal voters put Labor ahead of the Greens. In Menzies, Family First put Liberals ahead of Labor on their HTV, but 28% still put Labor ahead of Liberals – indeed, only 50% of voters put Liberals second, as indicated on their HTV (almost 36% of them put Greens second, despite the HTV putting Greens last).

    In Watson, Independent Mike Sharma put Liberals ahead of Labor on his HTV, but preferences split 50/50 almost exactly. Indeed, he was knocked out first, and his preferences went 37% to Labor, 35.5% to Liberals, and 27% to Greens.

    In Lindsay, the Independent went Greens, Liberal, AF, Labor. More of his voters preferenced Labor than Liberals.

    DB – I explained the logic you were putting forward, but I’d like to hear your response to my criticism. If KAP voters voted Labor at the last election, why would you assume that a large proportion of them will prefer LNP if KAP directs preferences to Labor? If your assertion, that KAP voters are disaffected Labor voters, is correct, their preferences should follow Greens preferences in proportions, since Greens voters are often disaffected Labor voters, too.

    An interesting point to make is that, according to the Morgan polls, where they actually asked people who they’d preference between Labor and Liberal, there was stronger Labor support than when they applied past results, especially in Queensland (where it’s 50/50 in voter-given preference). If we assume PUP voters are coming from the Liberals, and would preference Liberals, it would seem reasonable to assume that KAP voters are indicating a preference for Labor (while “past results” assume 65/35 to LNP).

  3. On making predictions about this seat, the LNP would have been very confident here based on state results which had the LNP primary at just under 50%, with KAP polling 1/4 and the ALP at just over 20%, but when you adjust the results you have about 42% for the LNP, just under 30% for the ALP and KAP at around 24%. Based on state election preferences, I would have had 57/43 to the LNP but if KAP does announce an ALP deal then that would change to 52/48 to the ALP. Of course the ALP vote would be higher and KAP vote less and the state LNP was fairing better then the federal LNP so I would say 53-54 to labor.

    I would also point out how impressive labor was here to keep its primary in the 40s so its a strong showing and I think based on state results and adjusting them now with KAP preferences, its a strong seat for labor

  4. Observer, Greens aren’t going to poll below 4% here, and Family First should maintain at least 2%, probably 3%. PUP will pick up 1% or so, too. So your numbers don’t seem reasonable – you have 96% for LNP/ALP/KAP combined.

    Also, even if we assume Greens make up all of the remaining 4%, and every one of them flow to Labor on preferences, Labor would still need to get about 70% of KAP preferences. If we assume that you’re out by 1% on each of the three (41% LNP, 29% ALP, 23% KAP), and PUP (1%) and FF (2%) preferences flow to Liberals and Greens (4%) preferences flow to Labor, Labor would need about 75% of KAP preferences.

    I do think, with KAP preferencing Labor, this is within Labor’s grasp, but I think it’ll end up being an extremely marginal win – within 0.5%.

  5. look i said these were state results, its also not inconceivable that the greens vote will dip highly in QLD with new protest parties on the block and I did say the ALP vote would be higher, the LNP vote slightly lower then those figures and as always it is presumed that KAP won’t measure the same outcome he did at the state polls.

    I think you need to consider carefully who people in regional QLD will vote for as a protest party and the fact that the Greens will take a dive here

  6. I just noticed something. In the Qld election, KAP preferences typically went 65/35 to LNP on an “open” ticket. The overall 2PP was 63/37. So KAP preferences actually mirrored the general electorate in regards to Labor/LNP. On this basis, we’d expect about 50/50 without preference directing if the 2PP at the election is around 50/50. With preference directing to Labor, I think we could expect somewhere around 70% putting Labor ahead (note that this represents about 40% or so following the HTV card).

    If we assume that KAP gets, say, 20% of the vote, that works out as about 14% to Labor. Greens, if they get around 5%, will have about 80% flow to Labor, giving Labor another 4%. So Labor would need a primary vote of at least 32% to hold. State seats in Dawson include Mackay, Burdekin, and Whitsunday. If we go simple and take the average of the three for each of the four notable parties, we get the following:

    ALP: 28.9%
    LNP: 43.1%
    KAP: 22.5%
    Greens: 4.7%

    Now, Labor is doing better in Queensland federally than at the state level. Current Labor primary is at 34% according to Galaxy/Courier Mail, whereas Labor got just 26.6% in the Qld election. Taking a slightly pessimistic (compared with proportional change) estimate, this would lift ALP primary vote in Dawson to around 36%. So I propose the following estimates for Dawson:

    ALP: 35%
    LNP: 41%
    KAP: 17%
    Greens: 4%
    Others (PUP, FF): 3%

    This should put Labor at about 50.1% with 80% Greens and 70% KAP preferences. PUP and FF should strongly prefer LNP (20% to Labor), pushing Labor to 50.7%. So that’s my prediction for the seat – Labor gain at 0.7% margin. Anyone else care to make a specific prediction for the seat?

  7. QO, Glen, Observer
    Everyone is getting VERY excited about Bob preferencing Labor. As i recall Julia Offered him the world, same as she did to Rob, & Tony. Julia thought she had him aboard too. Bob however was far too crafty, wily, & astute, went his own way.
    Who made the smart choices??
    Who is still standing??
    who knows his own best interests??
    How will it advance Bob or KAP to preference Labor??
    Past history suggests that Bob will pull away at the last possible moment, having got all other players to show their hands, without revealing his own !!.
    A deal with Bob is the last thing i’d put money on, especially when there is common wisdom on that prediction

  8. More encouragement for Labor according to Centrebet.

    Currently, Centrebet odds in Dawson shows support for Labor firms from $3.25 to $2.90 whilst support for the LNP eases from $1.30 to $1.35.

  9. Glen, 50.7%… I predict it will be closer than that…….. Golly gosh. You couldn’t be out by 0.2% could you. MoE perhaps. Seriously…..

    Mind you nothing has been confirmed in KAP preferences yet by the way. Maybe you want to hold off until it is confirmed one way or the other. I wouldn’t underestimate Abbott.

  10. DB, I’ll be honest, I don’t think it’s possible to underestimate Abbott. But that’s a different discussion.

    There’s been a lot of commentary on the point that Rudd and Katter are friends. Katter refused to support Gillard as PM, yet when Rudd returned to the leadership, Katter said he would provide the necessary vote to protect Rudd from “no-confidence”. Also notice that, while Labor has been actively campaigning against the Greens, they have had nothing bad to say about KAP.

    It may not be set in stone, but it’s certainly in wet cement at the moment.

  11. Must remember that the real irony for this election is that while Katter and Rudd are ‘mates’, KAP actually took the lion’s share of the ALP vote from the 2012 QLD Election. Along with that, most of those votes exhausted and, coupled with a small primary swing to the LNP, resulted in the catastrophe that was the QLD 2012 Election for the ALP.

    With compulsory preferences, you really start to move into the unknown. There was no genuine preference movement amongst the major parties from the KAP in 2012.

  12. I have no idea of the polls for Dawson, but the KAP candidate could be the xfactor in the Dawson election. The KAP candidate for Dawson is Justin Englert. Englert for many years has been the Head of the SES in this region and is well known and highly respected by a large proportion of the Dawson population. Englert for many years has been the face and voice on all local media during every cyclone season / disaster or flood that affects the region – and there have been a few! He could easily split the conservative vote, irrespective if his preferences going to Labor, as not every voter cares or understands the significance of the preference.

    (For the record I am an LNP supporter who will not be voting for the KAP candidate, these are just my thoughts as a Dawson resident)

  13. The KAP candidate Englert fell just 44 votes short of winning the Mackay mayoralty, so he does have the name power as PJ suggests. Could he possibly finish ahead of Labor, giving him a shot at victory?

  14. Interesting he ran for mayor, katter strongest natural vote is the burdekin so picking a strong Mackay candidate is clever.

  15. Well I live in the Townsville end of Dawson and the booths in my area are all strongly LNP (a lot of Defence personnel too) and I don’t know anyone who even credits Katter with a brain let alone considering preferencing him, and this goes for workmates who live in Herbert as well

  16. PK: “let alone considering referencing him”. I guess the question is would those LNP voters pref him before the ALP? I would assume that they would. That is really all that matters for KAP.

    Christensen doesn’t come across as the strongest local member either – usually making headlines for the wrong reasons. Thus, the LNP would have to expect some leakage from the last election to both PUP & KAP don’t you think? Those factors could throw up an interesting outcome.

  17. Yappo – I agree with your points. For me, Dawson, Herbert and Flynn could go either way but the LNP primaries seem to be fairly strong in each.

  18. Coalition extends its lead according to Sports Bet.

    Currently, Sports Bet odds in Dawson shows support for Labor eases from $2.80 to $3.00 whilst support for the LNP firms from $1.33 to $1.30.

  19. Coalition also extends its lead according to Centrebet.

    Currently, Centrebet odds in Dawson shows support for Labor slips from $2.90 to $3.80 whilst support for the LNP tightens from $1.35 to $1.22.

  20. Momentum for the Coalition according to Sports Bet.

    Currently, Sports Bet odds in Dawson shows support for Labor drifts from $3.00 to $4.00 whilst support for the LNP firms from $1.33 to $1.20.

  21. For what it’s worth, Galaxy have polls out today showing the LNP comfortably ahead here and in Herbert…..

  22. Good to see the Bulletin numbers for this seat. However, the sitting member and the two new parties mean nothing is 100% (“cannot lose this seat’) even though it appears most likely it will be retained.

  23. More momentum for the Coalition according to Centrebet.

    This afternoon, Centrebet odds in Dawson shows support for Labor crashes from $3.80 to $5.00 whilst support for the LNP tightens from $1.22 to $1.14.

  24. Momentum continues for the Coalition according to Sports Bet.

    This afternoon, Sports Bet odds in Dawsom shows support for Labor eases from $4.00 to $4.50 whilst support for the LNP firms from $1.20 to $1.18.

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

    Currently, Centrebet odds in Dawson shows support for Labor slips from $5.00 to $6.50 whilst support for the LNP tightens from $1.14 to $1.08.

  26. Not sure the betting markets mean much here as it is one of a few Qld seats (eg. Herbert) that could throw up an interesting result if KAP & PUP get the right % of votes.

    Still a likely retain but don’t be surprised it there is a surprise of some sort…..

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