James Bidgood, since 2007.
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.
Dawson lost rural parts of Townsville and Burdekin council areas to Kennedy, while it gained Annandale and Wulguru in the southern parts of urban Townsville from Herbert. At the southern end of the seat Dawson exchanged with Capricornia one sparsely populated area near Mackay for another sparsely populated area also close to Mackay.
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.
- Bill Ingrey (Citizens Electoral Council)
- George Christensen (Liberal National)
- Damian Herrington (Family First)
- Jonathon Dykyj (Greens)
- Mike Brunker (Labor)
This seat has a long history of being held by the Coalition, and the massive swing achieved by the ALP is likely to be a high water-mark for the party. It would not be surprising if the seat were to swing back to the Coalition, although the ALP would still have a strong chance of holding on to the seat.
2007 two-candidate-preferred result
Results do not take into consideration effects of the redistribution.
Dawson is covered by four local government areas. A majority of the population lives in Mackay LGA, not all of Mackay council area lies within Dawson, but the town of Mackay does. The ALP won a large majority in Mackay and a smaller majority in Whitsunday. Townsville and Burdekin both gave a majority to the Nationals.
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