Groom by-election, 2020

Cause of by-election
Sitting Liberal National MP John McVeigh announced his retirement in September 2020.

MarginLNP 20.5%

Groom covers the city of Toowoomba and rural areas to the west of the city contained entirely within Toowoomba Region council area.

Groom was created as part of the expansion of the House of Representatives at the 1984 election. The seat has always been held by Coalition MPs.

Groom was first won in 1984 by the National Party’s Tom McVeigh. McVeigh had been Member for Darling Downs since the 1972 election, and was elected Member for Groom in 1984 when Darling Downs was abolished. Darling Downs had previously centred on Toowoomba, which became the centre of the new seat of Groom.

McVeigh retired in 1988, triggering a by-election. The Liberal Party contested the by-election, and their candidate Bill Taylor outpolled the Nationals by 4.5% on primary votes and won a substantial majority on Labor preferences.

Taylor held the seat for a decade, retiring in 1998. The Nationals again challenged for the seat, but fell into fourth place behind Labor and One Nation, with the Liberal Party’s Ian Macfarlane winning the seat.

Macfarlane was made a junior minister in January 2001, and joined the Howard cabinet after the 2001 election as Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources, a role he held for the remainder of the Howard government. Macfarlane served as a frontbencher while the Coalition was in opposition, and as a cabinet minister during the Abbott government.

Macfarlane was dropped from the ministry when Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as Prime Minister. He attempted to switch from the Liberal party room to the Nationals party room, but the LNP state executive blocked the proposal.

Macfarlane retired at the 2016 election, and was replaced by John McVeigh, who won the seat easily. McVeigh had held the state electorate of Toowoomba South since 2012, but resigned from that state seat to contest the federal election.

McVeigh was re-elected in 2019, but resigned from parliament in September 2020.


  • Sandra Jephcott (Sustainable Australia)
  • Craig Farquharson (Liberal Democrats)
  • Garth Hamilton (Liberal National)
  • Chris Meibusch (Labor)

Groom is a very safe LNP seat and should stay in LNP hands.

2019 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
John McVeigh Liberal National 50,908 53.3 -0.7
Troy Kay Labor 17,811 18.7 -3.5
David King One Nation 12,493 13.1 +13.1
Alyce Nelligan Greens 7,598 8.0 +1.8
Kenneth Law United Australia 3,784 4.0 +4.0
Perry Adrelius Conservative National 2,854 3.0 +3.0
Informal 3,160 3.2

2019 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
John McVeigh Liberal National 67,274 70.5 +5.2
Troy Kay Labor 28,174 29.5 -5.2

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into four areas. A majority of the population lives in the Toowoomba, and these booths were split into two halves: north and south. The booths outside of the Toowoomba urban area have also been split into north and south.

The LNP won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all four areas, ranging from 63.2% in Toowoomba North to 74.7% in the rural north.

Voter group ON prim % LNP 2PP % Total votes % of votes
Toowoomba North 12.9 63.2 17,970 18.8
Toowoomba South 10.8 66.0 16,436 17.2
North 16.4 74.7 11,193 11.7
South 20.6 77.1 6,491 6.8
Pre-poll 11.5 71.4 26,812 28.1
Other votes 12.9 75.9 16,546 17.3

Election results in Groom at the 2019 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and One Nation primary votes.

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  1. @L96 your baseless assertion that Dr van Gend is driven by “hate” is libellous nonsense for which you should apologise. He is a compassionate and caring doctor with an excellent reputation. There is also no evidence that he supports conversion therapy.

  2. There is evidence, He literally said it Ent,

    Why do you think controversial members from the Nationals like George Christensen and Matt Canavan endorsed him? He shares their views despite Gend being actually a member of the Liberal party, Saying Homosexuality is a disease or whatever is suggesting you support conversion therapy. And the Liberal electors in the party room rightly didn’t select him because of his disgusting views and comments that have no place in federal parliament. While the people of Groom would likely vote a Gun over Labor I still think the swing would have been more than it was away from the LNP if it was Gend.

    And my question is if he’s a doctor doesn’t he know the science behind Stem Cell research and abortion because it seems he opposes them BOTH, My question is, Is he anti-vaccine?

  3. @entrepreneurial – here’s a direct quote from his twitter – “Yes, “gay conversion therapy” is a nonsense name, because only fools use it. Serious clinicians respect the right of any person to seek proven, safe psychotherapy to minimise unwanted same-sex attraction & maximise their heterosexual potential. To ban that is totalitarian.” (April 26, 2019)

    He’s against calling it conversion therapy, but in favour of doing it. And his twitter page is full of denigrating language.

    A person can simultaneously be caring for those they care about, and full of hate for those that they don’t identify with. Adolf Hitler was undoubtedly a caring partner to Eva Braun.

    But here’s my question for you – if a patient came to him wanting to surgically transition while still a teen, what do you think he would do? If his child were to announce they wanted to marry their same sex partner, what would he do?

    Those who simply have strong beliefs would be capable of reacting with compassion. How do you think a person who has made their entire public life about these issues would react? I’ll give you a hint, lgbt people are often at risk of being disowned by their own parents.

  4. Daniel
    Why don’t you ask Dr Van Gend before you assume you know the answer to his position on vaccines. I do know the answer but as I heard it in a confidential situation I do not intend to reveal what I know.


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