Capricornia – Australia 2019

LNP 0.6%

Incumbent MP
Michelle Landry, since 2013.

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

Capricornia gained a small area to the south of Mackay from the seat of Dawson. This area covers McEwans Beach, Chelona and Rosella. These changes had no impact on the seat’s margin.

Capricornia is an original federation electorate. After changing between a number of parties in early decades, the seat was 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, before the LNP won in 2013.

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 was re-elected in Capricornia in 2001, 2004, 2007 and 2010.

Livermore retired in 2013, and the LNP’s Michelle Landry won the seat with a 4.5% swing.

Landry was re-elected in 2016 by a slim 0.6% margin. This seat was the most marginal Coalition seat in the country, thus giving the government its slim majority.


Capricornia is an extremely marginal seat and could go to either major party. It will undoubtedly be a focus of the election campaign.

2016 result

Michelle Landry Liberal National 35,31040.1+0.540.1
Leisa Neaton Labor 33,57938.1+1.138.1
Laurel CarterKatter’s Australian Party6,2417.1+1.57.1
Lindsay TempleFamily First4,5475.2+1.35.1
Ken MurrayIndependent4,3124.9+4.94.8
Kate Giamarelos Greens 4,1664.7+1.34.7

2016 two-party-preferred result

Michelle Landry Liberal National 44,63350.6-0.150.6
Leisa Neaton Labor 43,52249.4+0.149.4

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”.

Labor won a large 56.4% majority in Rockhampton, and a smaller 52% majority in Isaacs, but the LNP won majorities in the north and Livingstone, as well as a large majority amongst other votes.

Voter groupLNP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Other votes57.113,53215.2

Two-party-preferred votes in Capricornia at the 2016 federal election

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  1. The One Nation vote will probably be around 20% (as it was in the state election) this could cause a major headache for Landry especially if One Nation preference against sitting members.

  2. usually Capricornia is only won by the lnp once in bad elections….. np has had 2 wins……
    pick alp win in 2018 or 2019

  3. The seat seems to have changed character, though.

    In 1996 the Nationals won it narrowly in what was a landslide election overall. In 2016, the LNP won even though the overall election was extremely close.

  4. The 2016 election certainly ended Capricornia’s recent history of only returning non-Labor members in landslide elections. The electorate is evidently more conservative than it used to be.

    The current boundaries don’t help Labor either. The Rockhampton hinterland communities of Gracemere and Mount Morgan are drawn into Flynn.

  5. Mark Mulcair
    Good points. However i still feel that Labor’s anti-coal position mean that it cannot, & will not recover this seat. David Walsh made a good point about the composition of the seat. ON will preference the LNP, Hanson has committed.

  6. hanson committed where? compare the state figures……mainly Keppel….. should be AL

    P….. the nats were very lucky to retain last time

  7. Hanson has stated clearly that the ALP will NOT be receiving her preferences. End of story. The state figures are relevant. However coal/ energy, is a national issue. Nats were not lucky, Labor screwed up big time. WRT Capricornia, they still are.

  8. I think the Palaszczuk Government’s recent changes to Vegetation Management will play out badly for Labor in Capricornia.

    The recent spate of positive attention and money for Michelle, points to positive internal polling for the LNP here.

    Lineball at the moment, but one seat the LNP could get across the line in again, especially if PHON preferences Landry.

  9. Labor retained Keppel at a state level if this vote repeated then alp gain….Rockhamption based seat should vote Labor

  10. Mick Quinlivan
    Oscar is half right. The KAP/ PHON vote will probably be at least 20%. However that will be a problem for Labor, not Landry
    What would be absorbing would be if KAP outpolled PHON, then with preferences, outpolled Labor to win the seat with a fraction of the vote. That would be a very amusing outcome. Won’t happen of course.

  11. The Labor primary would have to fall to the high 20s to get excluded below KAP or PHON, those parties would need to do twice as well as they ever have.

  12. Bennee
    Quite right. I didn’t say it would happen, but it is remotely possible. Wilkie got elected with a lot less.

  13. Any minor party that is serious about winning Capricornia would have endorsed their candidate by now.
    Ashby~Hanson Party did show interest early in piece. Australia First were actually holding meetings in CriterionHotel in Rocky. Potential for Amin or conservative exists but as far asi know no DLP or KAP branch has existed. Old DLP (pre 1975) had an active branch but when an attempt to re-establish a branch was made in about 2012 those of us who flew from Brisbane outnumbered locals. They always did say if ALP put up a dead dog in Rocky the dog would win. Rocky is only now 25% of electorate and the city has just about lost the meatworks. and the industrial heart of the city has been taken over by retail. The city is no longer the ALP heartland it used to be.One should also remember the Tory’s they elected. Rex Pilbeam was to say the least unique absolutely no one I ever knew liked him but they trusted him with their vote.He knew what the city wanted him to say when Bulls lost their essentials. Remember the bloke who made modifications to Iwasaki. He could not pay for a beer anywhere he went. ALPs RobScwarten was a similar knockabout bloke. My prediction ALP win.

  14. Should be a Labor gain but given the proposed Carmichael coal mine is in this electorate there’s the potential for voters here to buck the trend and also a big One Nation/Katter/Other vote to further complicate matters.

  15. I think its safe to write off Michelle Landry, She isn’t even popular in this electorate, I think One nation will preference against the Incumbent like they did in Longman in 2016. At the current polling she would get trounced, If this stays with the coalition, There’s no chance for a Labor victory

  16. @Daniel I respectfully disagree. It’s very easy for us to say this will fall because it’s a small margin and there’s an inevitable swing against the government coming and most likely a Labor gov. However, North Qld has always and will always go by its own rules, trust me. Labor are very very unpopular in NQ at moment. I’m expecting Labor to sweep into government on the back of big swings in Victoria and NSW and also in the Brisbane area, I expect the government to do well north of Brisbane though and even pick up Herbert.

  17. There will be a uniform swing to Labor in Qld………. to suggest that Labor loses a seat in Qld against the swing is I think an error…. the lnp Candidate there has his own problems…….. Re Leichhardt and Dawson I don’t know……… but Capricornia is different ……. Rockhampton makes up a Large part of this seat…….. the normal pattern is for that seat to be labor held going back to the 1960s in a bad election they lose the seat then normally win it back the election after even if they don’t win government. The lnp member here has won here in 2013 and 2016 here latest win was very lucky…….. I suspect a state wide Alp 2pp vote of around 50%…….. as such this seat should fall. I don’t think there is an example of Labor winning govt in 1972 1983 and 2007 and not holding Capricornia

  18. Wade Rothery is running for One Nation, having done relatively well in the state seat of Rockhampton in 2017.

    He will poll third and take a large chunk of LNP support that will help Labor win by an even larger margin.

  19. I reckon Michelle Landry can hold Capricornia, she seems to work hard and she has the support of Matt Canavan’s office in Rockhampton.

    I reckon Flynn is much more likely for (and will be) a Labor gain – it was 2% on election night, I doubt postal votes will be able to bring it back this time!

  20. bja…. why will she win? Matt Canavans support is not enough…….. for a nat mp to win 3 times in a row in this seat is beyond a miracle….. especially with a state wide swing in QLD of more than 5%

  21. Are you a delusional coalition supporter? Speaknthe truth and stop trying to defend what the coalition has done in office because any coalition supporter will say they are confident of holding gov or winning key contests because they believe their gov is doing a good job whennit isnt, Labor does this too but there is no way this is a hold. The most marginal coalition seat i QLD has no chance of being held. You have a better chance of gaining Dunkley than holding this. Will you respect the result if Labor wins big at the next election BJA?

  22. @Mick Q

    As I said, I reckon Michelle Landry can win because she seems to work hard, is visible and vocal. The view and evidence that Labor does not care about regional QLD (whatever they say being lip service) is there – I didn’t say she will win, she may not win but I think she could win.

    Where do I start…
    1. I believe it is clear from my comments I support the LNP (I have said on another seat that I am a member)
    2. How would I not respect the result!?! The election result is the election result. Will a majority Coalition govt election result be respected by everyone saying not a chance?
    3. Delusional!?! I’m sorry for believing in what I am fighting on the ground for. Why would we just roll over without campaigning to stop a Shorten govt that we know will destroy the country.
    4. You’re saying that the election is going to be a complete annihilation of the Coalition – large, uniform swings to Labor but you’re adamant Luke Howarth will hold on in the face of that. Yes, I agree that Luke is visible and works the seat hard and I think will be re-elected but he’s not going too with total LNP annihilation.

    Yes, the past has been disappointing but why does that mean we stop what we believe in. See also my prior comment on the Ryan page tonight.

    Ben, really sorry for deviating off Capricornia… time for a sanity break for me, given how more invested I am than I want to be…

  23. Bia I think what Daniel is trying to say by delusional is that you are allowing your opinions to cloud your judgement. On this site political party activists ( which in truth most of us are) only see their own party winning.
    I agree with Daniel Michelle Landry will lose. On my visits to Capricornia ( mainly Yeppoon and Rockhampton) I have always noticed newspaper articles about Landry. But with her margin of 1.2% she has not got much chance of surviving a 4.5% National swing. My prediction is that ALP current campaign will result in a higher swing in Capricornia than National swing. Why?
    Rocky significant unemployment and a general working class attitude.
    FIFO workers impacted significantly by Labor Hire.

    It certainly would be delusional to think that LNP does not have an up hill battle.

    I have no great bias between ALP and LNP. At the moment I will probably preference ALP in House and some LNP Senators ahead of ALP in Senate. Chance of me putting either of them as (1) is infinitesimal.

  24. Again, Anyone who is part of a political party will say they are confident to keep the Momentum up, Even if they are going for a massive defeat, Personally they know they are, But it would make them look bad if they made that public, because people be like ”Whats the point of voting for you if your not going to win anyway, Just like NSW 2011, Kenneally said she was going to defeat O’Farrell, But she knew damn well she wasn’t going to win. I think its like that with the current federal government atm. The coalition would need a miracle to win, Its part of human nature to be positive and confident. And as a Labour person i am confident of them gaining this seat and government.

  25. Daniel (particularly)
    The CFMMEU Gamechanger. This seat will now only go one of 2 ways. KAP win, or LNP retain. game over. Idiot Anastasia might have cost BS the election over a dumb little bird !!.How incredibly stupid ! In 2004 the CFMEU campaigned against Latham over forestry in Tassie. We know how that ended !. Does any one seriously doubt their intent, or the reality that they are now completely backing Katter against Labor ? EVERYTHING else is now irrelevant

  26. Wine Diamond
    From my experience visiting Capricornia at least once a year since 1977 I do not think Landry will hold on. She is not as visible as has been reported.
    Urban Capricornia will behave like the rest of Australia and have a swing of 4 to 8% to ALP.
    Only factor that can alter this is Adani.
    A flight into Rocky which I will do next week will be a flight accompanied by high vis.The city (including the coastal Livingstone area) is dependent upon Coal.
    When I lived in Blackwater I knew of city deprived teachers who drove 200 km into Rocky for KFC.
    Rocky is a city that is dependent on Coal and Shoalwater Bay defence spending. Meat works on which it once survived are now much less significant. People from Rocky drive to Gladstone for work daily.
    Retirees wanting to escape to Family in Brisbane sit in housing hoping for an Adani led boom.
    If Shorten keeps his To the Change the rules style campaigning he will take Capricornia. If he falls into trap of opposing Coal he will lose Capricornia.
    When Stanwell was being planned by Bjelke-Petersen there were three other potential sites. If Shorten wants to win he should guarantee Central Queensland the largest HELE power plant in Southern Hemisphere.
    Andrew Jackson

  27. KAP is such a good chance that it’s not even listed on the odds on Sportsbet. So much for it being a ‘game changer’.

    Reports are Queensland Nationals are agitating for a change leadership in the Nats before the next election must show that the internal polling must be pretty dire. You would have to be pretty desperate to do that two months out from a poll. Unlike other seats Michelle Landry has very little room to falter. The fact it was reported she one of six National mps who signed a letter demanding their leader stand up to the Liberals more and provide more action on coal power stations shows their internal polling must be saying something.

    Labor gain.

  28. Waiting till two months before an election to stand up for her electorate means Michelle Landry deserves to receive a belting. I think Political Nightwatchman is right ALP gain. But I will have a better idea by next weekend after 3 days in CQ.
    This is a seat that KAP should do well in but it is not one where the influence of farmers will be overwealming.
    Andrew Jackson

  29. is a normal alp seat except in lnp landslides……… to win in 2016 was quite a feat now will return a labour mp

  30. I have spent last two days in Capricornia. Flying into Rocky and travelling by car to Yeppoon.
    Landry has some signage on Rocky -Yeppoon Rd and had news stories in Morning Bulletin and Capricorn News.Locals think she has got them infrastructure spending. She is now standing up for coal mines.
    From on the ground experience I think she has more of a chance than I thought 4 days ago. However with a very small margin and a 4% natiowide swing I still think ALP win but would not be betting on the result. Beef road maintenance an issue going back to Menzies era 1961 election still an issue.

  31. Climate change is a big issue here, and you all know what coal does to this climate especially if its overdone, (Like Barnaby and the cult want) The Coal fire power station will hurt her badly here, Allot of working class families are in Rockampton and i don’t see them voting for her This time

  32. Today’s Morning Bulletin is a microcosm of election issues. Large photograph of Billboard
    Landry and Canavan endorsing message. Canavan even makes it into cartoon with similar message colliding with teenage anti coal protesters. In effect this is the unsolvable problem that will only be resolved when we are living like hippies and we either tolerate a return to Stone Age conditions or demand power.
    The protesters today can show their commitment by going home turning off the electricity at mains and living with no electricity for next week. If they still want no coal enjoy no coal perpetually.
    Mick Quinlan The more this issue is discussed the more likely that Landry will have a third term.
    A Letter in Morning Bulletin asks question will ALP candidate support coal.and editor refers letter writer back to news article in which ALP candidate and Bill Shorten are both
    Supportive of coal. In fact ALP candidate is a coal miner.

    Bill Shorten is accused by Michelle Landry of changing his position on coal depending on the postcode he is in. ALP is accusing Coalition of warlike attacks over coal. ALP should remember that world war 11 appeasers have nearly as bad a reputation as DeGroot or Mosley. In effect ALP have to decide are they riding with the hunters or running with the hares. The electorate is in certain on this issue but will quickly see through regional policy variations.

  33. A couple of women in Yeppoon last night wearing Michelle Landry T shirts. No sign of any ALP campaigning.
    My impression after a week in electorate. ALP will win seat but because of National campaign.
    Landry will have a smaller swing against her but no where near enough for her toto save seat. Canavan working seat hard even though he is not up for Re-election. Have not seen a single car with a political candidate sticker.
    Seat could swing widely either way on issue of Coal. Yeppoon feeling the pinch of down turn in coal. Gone from a hive of building activity in 2017 & 2018 to CFMEU free zone in 2019.
    Andrew Jackson

  34. Morning Bulletin today shows up the advantage to candidates of a provincial newspaper. ALP candidate Russell Robertson has come out strongly in favour of coal and has indicated that Bill Shorten is totally in favour of Coal. In Qld of 20 Divisions only 3 or 4 are likely to be anti coal and a similar number pro coal leaving over half whose attitude to Coal generators is determined solely on basis of reliability and price at electricity. Therefore they will be pro coal generation.

  35. On way to airport back to Longman I noticed 1 Pauline Hanson Corflutes on a fence line North St?? No doubt in my mind Michelle Landry doing better than LNP in general but still will be an ALP victory. It will be good to see a new miner in Parliament. ALP is becoming dominated by individuals who have never seen a worksite and are more familiar with hair salons than Union Offices.

  36. Coal may dampen the swing but I don’t think with national trends this seat can survive on a 0.6% marginal, so I’m putting this down as an ALP gain.

  37. United Australia Party for the win. Lindsay Sturgeon is there candidate. He has a mining background and grew up on a farming property so has experience in our major industries. He is a straight shooter and a hell of a nice guy that will give you the shirt off hie back. I tip him for the upset, Independent polling shows him doing well in light of recent scandals.

  38. This seat is a labor leaning marginal……… usual pattern is the lnp wins it in a good to landslide election then labour wins it next election even if they don’t win govt. for the ants to win it twice in a row is a near Miracle
    predict with a swing labor’s way will alp gain.
    Don’t think labor has ever been in government and not held this seat since 1946

  39. This is just the sort of seat that could buck the trend. Since Landry already held on against the odds once, its actually more, not less, likely that she can do it again, especially as she is even more well known by now and there are regional factors (Coal) going against the ALP. Although Rocky is a Labor town it had a famous Liberal mayor for 30 years, who also held the state seat for 9, and also Vince Lester who won Rockhampton Nth / Keppel as a National.

  40. Peterjk23
    Vince Lester was elected as a National Party MP but he was without doubt the best local member I have had dealings with. The fact that he was elected in a Labor Town is not unsurprisin. He was elected by people of Blackwater many times when they voted solidly ALP in Federal and Local Government elections. Vince Lester was elected not National Party.
    The mere fact that Vince was elected in Keppel ( I do not think he ever represented North Rockhampton) and Peak Downs is irrelevant to result in Capricorn. Vince Lester was unique he was the only MP who has represented me who had a personal vote.
    Andrew Jackson

  41. Keppel was created in 1992 one-vote-one-value redistribution to replace the abolished electorates of Rockhampton North and Broadsound. Lester transferred to this ALP electorate as his seat of Peak Downs was also abolished. He won by defeating Rob Schwarten, the ALP member for Rockhampton North. He was one the last of the larger than life characters from the Joh era, with Bob Katter being the last.

  42. This and Flynn are the seats where LNP->PHON preferences could end up winning a seat for them, just like what happened in Mirani. While Morrison has ruled out Liberals preferencing PHON over Labor, that doesn’t extend to the Nationals, or the Nat affiliated LNP members like Landry and O’Dowd.

    I think they are a real threat in this seat and Labor will need to put in contingencies against LNP->PHON preference flows as part of their strategy to hold on.

  43. If there is the slightest chance of PHON picking up a seat then every party has a moral obligation to ensure this does not happen. Hanson has no choice but to park her preferences somewhere or let her voters make up their own mind. If she does this her voters will likely Preference Liberal in Liberal seats and ALP in ALP seats. PHON voters are loud one HTV takers often rude about it to party volunteers but they are extremely in reliable HTV followers. I suspect most Vote Hanson 1 and then just go Ass like all over the ballot paper. In negotiations over Preference arrangements They have been shown to be the least ideologically driven negotiators and behave like tantrum throwing three year olds.

    I was approached by PHON prior to Longman by election Re Country Party Preferences and they then failed to front meeting. Country Party placed them at bottom with only an ex uniformed NAZI below them.

    They were furious about Australian Country Party decision.

    I expect all parties with any morals to place PHON,Anning, ALA, Australia First and Greens on bottom of HTV. I will tolerate different sequencing in different seats to take account of ballot draw or candidates but no party that places any of these racist groups above a major will get my vote or assistance.

  44. PRP
    The difference between KAP finishing 3 rd or 4th could be difference between winning and losing.
    What are reasons for saying they will come third or 4th?


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