Phillip Thompson, since 2019.
Herbert covers the vast majority of the urban area in Townsville. It also covers rural areas to the west of Townsville which are contained in the Townsville local government area.
Herbert is an original federation seat. The seat originally covered most of North Queensland, from Mackay to the Torres Strait, but now is almost entirely based in Townsville. The seat has long been a marginal seat, and only three former MPs have managed to retire on their own terms.
The seat was first held by Fred Bamford, who held the seat for a quarter of a century. He was first elected as a Labor member and was expelled from the ALP over conscription in 1916. He served briefly as a minister under Billy Hughes and represented the Nationalists under his retirement in 1925.
At the 1925 election, Premier of Queensland Ted Theodore resigned from office in order to run for Herbert, but was surprisingly defeated by Lewis Nott of the Nationalists, who held the seat for one term. Nott later emerged as the first member for the Australian Capital Territory as an independent from 1949 to 1951.
George Martens won the seat for the ALP in 1928 and held it until his retirement in 1946. The seat was then held by Labor’s William Edmonds until 1958.
Edmonds was defeated that year by John Murray of the Liberal Party, who was defeated himself by the ALP’s Ted Harding in 1961. Harding was defeated in 1966 by Robert Bonnett. The seat was then held solidly by the Liberal Party for a long period. Bonnett retired in 1977 and Arthur Dean held on to the seat for the Liberals from 1977 to 1983.
In 1983, Dean was defeated by the ALP’s Ted Lindsay, as part of Bob Hawke’s election win over Malcolm Fraser. Lindsay held the seat for the entirety of the Hawke/Keating government before being defeated in 1996 by Liberal candidate Peter Lindsay (no relation). Lindsay was re-elected four times, and retired in 2010.
The Liberal National Party’s Ewen Jones won the seat in 2010. The redistribution had made Herbert a notional Labor seat, but a swing of 2.2% saw Jones retain the seat for the LNP. He was re-elected in 2013.
Jones lost in 2016 to Labor candidate Cathy O’Toole in an extremely close race. Recounting eventually gave O’Toole the seat with a 37-vote margin.
LNP candidate Phillip Thompson easily defeated O’Toole in 2019 thanks to an 8.4% swing.
Herbert swung hard to the LNP in 2019 but has a recent history of being won by Labor. The swing was also massive in three other coastal seats in central and northern Queensland, but Herbert is the only one that had been won by Labor in 2016, and has the slimmest margin. We may well look back on 2019 as the beginning of the end of Labor winning seats in this area, and the LNP campaign here will be boosted by the local member’s new personal vote, but if they have a chance of winning back any of these seats Herbert would be the best prospect.
|Phillip Thompson||Liberal National||34,112||37.1||+1.6|
|Amy Lohse||One Nation||10,189||11.1||-2.4|
|Nanette Radeck||Katter’s Australian Party||9,007||9.8||+2.9|
|Greg Dowling||United Australia Party||5,239||5.7||+5.7|
|Tamara Durant||Conservative National Party||1,671||1.8||+1.8|
|Mackenzie Severns||Animal Justice||1,585||1.7||+1.7|
2019 two-party-preferred result
|Phillip Thompson||Liberal National||53,641||58.4||+8.4|
Booths have been divided into five areas. Most of the seat’s population lies in the Townsville urban area, and these booths are divided into three areas: Townsville, Mundingburra and Thuringowa-Douglas. The remaining booths are divided between those in the rural hinterland to the west of Townsville, and those on islands off the coast.
The LNP won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in four areas, with a vote ranging from 53.3% in Mundingburra to 61.3% in the rural parts of the seat. Labor polled 57.3% on the islands, which only make up a small part of the population.
One Nation and Katter’s Australian Party both polled best in the rural parts of the seat, and amongst the urban parts of the seat they both polled best in Thuringowa-Douglas.
|Voter group||ON prim||KAP prim||LNP 2PP||Total votes||% of votes|