Blair – Australia 2022

ALP 1.2%

Incumbent MP
Shayne Neumann, since 2007.

Geography
Blair covers most of the City of Ipswich as well as Somerset Regional Council. The seat covers the urban area of Ipswich and rural areas to the west, and towns such as Esk and Kilcoy.

History

Blair was created at the 1998 election, one of a number of seats created in Queensland over the last few decades. The seat was held by the Liberal Party until 2007, when the ALP won.

Blair took over territory in Ipswich in 1998 from the seat of Oxley. Oxley had a long history of being held by the Labor Party but was lost to disendorsed Liberal candidate Pauline Hanson in 1996. Hanson formed One Nation in her term in the House of Representatives, and contested Blair in 1998. Hanson came first on primary votes, but lost on preferences. Liberal candidate Cameron Thompson came third on primary votes, but overtook the ALP on Nationals preferences and then overtook Hanson on Labor preferences.

Thompson held Blair at the 2001 and 2004 elections, but lost in 2007 to Labor candidate Shayne Neumann. Neumann was assisted by a redistribution which saw Blair take in more of pro-Labor Ipswich, losing rural conservatives areas to the northwest.

Neumann has been re-elected four times since his first win in 2010.

Candidates

Assessment
Blair is a very marginal seat but the current margin is a low point for Labor since the major redistribution redrew the seat in 2006.

2019 result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Shayne Neumann Labor 29,98731.3-9.8
Robert Shearman Liberal National 27,84429.0-0.6
Sharon BellOne Nation16,11416.8+1.9
Michelle Duncan Greens 8,3258.7+2.0
Simone KarandrewsIndependent3,8494.0+4.0
Majella ZimpelUnited Australia Party3,2613.4+3.4
John QuinnDemocratic Labour Party2,4182.5+2.4
John TurnerIndependent2,1182.2+0.1
Peter FitzpatrickConservative National Party2,0092.1+2.1
Informal7,7657.5+1.9

2019 two-party-preferred result

CandidatePartyVotes%Swing
Shayne Neumann Labor 49,12351.2-6.9
Robert Shearman Liberal National 46,80248.8+6.9

Booth breakdown

Booths have been divided into five areas. Booths in Somerset local government area have been grouped together. Those booths in the City of Ipswich have been divided into four parts. Those in the rural west of the council area have been grouped together. Most of Blair’s population lives in the urban area around the centre of Ipswich, and these have been divided into Central, North and East.

The ALP won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in two of these five areas, polling 56.3% in central Ipswich and 60.7% in eastern Ipswich. The LNP narrowly won in northern Ipswich (50.3%) and won more sizeable majorities in the rural areas, winning 55.7% in rural parts of the Ipswich council area and 57.7% in the Somerset council area.

This seat is a strong area for One Nation, with a vote ranging from 14.6% in northern and eastern Ipswich to 22.3% in rural Ipswich.

Voter groupON prim %ALP 2PP %Total votes% of votes
Central Ipswich16.956.319,07019.9
North Ipswich14.649.711,74612.2
East Ipswich14.660.710,46210.9
Somerset20.742.39,70310.1
Rural Ipswich22.344.34,9905.2
Pre-poll16.449.625,44826.5
Other votes16.250.014,50615.1

Election results in Blair at the 2019 federal election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for Labor, the Liberal National Party and One Nation.

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32 COMMENTS

  1. Blair Labor MP Shayne Neuman has been difficult to dislodge and avoided being thrown out in 2013. Ipswich mayor Teresa Jane Harding and former LNP candidate for Blair has rejected approaches from the LNP to stand here. There were rumors reported that former LNP QLD state leader and Mp for Nanango Deb Frecklington had interest in standing in Blair in May.

    Dennis Atkins reported that the LNP had faint hopes earlier in the year of winning Blair. But it’s now not looking on the cards despite the narrow margin.

  2. Labor paying $1.03 to win on Sportsbet, Coalition $10.00. This is a little surprising given how marginal the seat is. Betting markets are clearly expecting a Labor tide in Queensland.

  3. That is surprising that the odds are that wide considering the narrow margin. The bookies must seem to think the vote will blow back hard in Labor’s favor in this seat. I don’t think Scott Morrison has done any campaigning here. So their internal polling must be suggesting this seat is not in play. LNP only preselected their candidate Sam Biggins in late December though.

  4. Ipswich is over 60% of the seat… unless the boundaries are different this is a reliable seat for Labor most times.With an expected alp swing in Queensland this is a Labor hold

  5. Labor will probably hang on, but if the political realignment of blue collar voters towards the LNP continues they may well lose this sear. Neumann is one of Labor’s worst MPs.

  6. I am interested in watching the rise of the minor parties in this electorate, and others. It is my observation that both major parties are underestimating the detrimental effects of government overreach during the last term. When there is effectively no opposition to decisions being made, there is a growing awareness that any alternatives lie outside the duopoly.

  7. We can’t afford to let the LNP get hold of Blair. Labor are the only party that ever get anything done, LNP, Greens, One Nation, and UAP. Are just political grandstanders, with a whole lot of bark, but no idea on how to run a government. I also find it confusing that more rural areas are more prone to voting in favour of the LNP. It’s almost as if they want the very land they live on to be destroyed by poor economic, and environmental management.

  8. Can’t see any likely scenario where Labor loses Blair. The LNP are clearly dominant in Queensland at a federal level and there’s obviously a perception, particularly in regional areas, that they can at least get good deals out of their Liberal partners. Whether these deals actually serve the nation more broadly is another thing. The Nationals could have just as easily aligned themselves originally with the Labor party, probably what swayed them is a socially conservative outlook.

  9. Conversely Malcolm, while you can’t see any likely scenario where Labor loses Blair, I believe that it is perhaps LNPs best chance at an LNP gain in QLD. John’s observation is correct. I’ll also make a few points that address John, Sharyn and Engadine. Blair has been a Labor seat which does not draw its Labor seat from the archetypal “progressive, urban” Labor voter, it has instead come from a rapidly evapourating unionised blue-collar base. There are a few factors bludgeoning this Labor vote in Blair (and similar QLD divisions) from all different directions.

    1. Industry. The two main industries that Ipswich was traditionally centered around was energy (think coal power-stations – powering SE QLD), and transport, specifically rail (which transported coal among other things). Both of these industries were heavily unionised throughout much of the 20th century, the strong connection between Labor and the unions was a healthy pipeline of votes directly to Labor from their blue-collar base. Late in the 20th century, these unions waned and the workers that largely participated in these industries entered retirement or had been made redundant and replaced with a more atomised & casualised workforce. Those that entered retirement and were now well off, were generally no longer animated by issues of job-security or industrial relations, but instead became fixated on their retirement, investment portfolio and inheritance. Sensitivities which made them to receptive to the Coalition.

    Those that had been made redundant were disillusioned. Their redundancies had coincided with globalisation. They were furious at the Coalition, who arguably made their jobs vulnerable via neoliberal policies. They were furious at Labor for what they perceived to be an abandonment of their blue-collar base for metropolitan progressives at a time their jobs became increasingly vulnerable. This allowed Pauline Hanson to fill the void in the region, elected in Oxley (which at the time encompassed a lot of Blair’s boundaries). Ever since, the micro-parties – particularly One Nation, have found a home in the outer suburban fringes of Brisbane.

    In 2019, it had not only been “globalisation” which had been a perceived threat to job-security in the region, action against climate change had been at a fever pitch in the election, Coalition and the micro-parties took advantage of this while Labor didn’t offer a compelling vision of opportunity for QLD’s regions.

    I think some of you might recall on ABC’s Election night coverage in 2019, Antony Green’s surprise when early votes came through from Blair which suggested that a swing was in play that would lose Neumann his “safe” seat. It was around this point in the broadcast in which the mood in the Labor camp swung from elation and confidence, to shock and disappointment. Neumann did end up weathering the storm but it put this seat on notice.

    2. Population Growth. Ipswich, particularly its South West fringes have been at the center of QLD’s rapid population growth since 2019. The Regional population 2020 – 2021 Financial Year report, released this week, highlights Ripley, in Blair’s south, growing by 19.4% – an estimated 1,889 additional residents in a pandemic year. Redbank and Springfield also experienced exceptional growth. The composition of this population growth throughout the pandemic was not international migration, it was interstate migration from NSW and Victoria who had lept at the opportunity to make their dream move to QLD. This overlapped with aspirational first-home buyers, priced out of other parts of Australia, who were attracted to the more affordable housing developments in abundance throughout the outer suburban fringes. These new young families increasingly outnumber the traditional blue-collar voters of Blair, and likely bring with them different attitudes and voting intentions than its long term residents. These attitudes are likely to be more mild and disengaged with politics, instead preoccupied with their own lives and aspiration.

    Ipswich is rapidly transforming from an industrial hub of SE QLD (the powerbox of Brisbane), into a dormitory suburb of aspirational young families who work can’t quite afford to live in Brisbane or the Gold Coast. The composition of industry and employment is becoming more diverse including more independent trades people, as well as white-collar workers who commute into the city and now might also have the affordance to work-from home. Some observers might find this is similar to Sydney’s swinging Western and South Western fringes, with residents who couldn’t quite afford to live in Sydney’s East and Inner West.

    3. The Pandemic. It is likelihood that One Nation and UAP’s adoption of the negative sentiment surrounding Covid measures throughout the pandemic will strongly play out in SE QLD in the election. Ipswich itself has vaccination rates broadly in line with the state average (QLD has the lowest in Australia), however the fringes of Ipswich, along with the Gold Coast & Hinterland are much lower, suggesting a protest against the vaccine and more broadly Covid measures. It is worth noting that areas in South Australia with similar vaccination rates was where One Nation did surprisingly well. Although, these lower vaccination-rates are a lot more present in the neighbouring division of Wright.

    The pandemic and its effect on Blair might feed back into the overall disillusionment in job-security and prospects. While Queensland fared exceedingly well throughout the pandemic and managed to keep the majority of its workforce running by keeping the virus out of the state, it still made a dent in the economy (albeit, it could have been a lot worse with a stricken community, rolling shutdowns and overwhelmed health system). This dent could have been a write-off if Job Keeper was not introduced. For this I think Coalition would have been greatly rewarded at the ballot box if all of its shine had not been since rubbed off. Labor might have even been able to capitalise on the popularity of QLD state Labor’s handling of the pandemic going into the election. Although as the pandemic fades into a lot of peoples rear-vision mirror, this Labor shine is also starting to fade.

  10. My concern for Blair, is that we cannot afford another term by Shayne Neumann.
    Neumann is complacent and believes if he is ‘seen’ in the community, then that is all he is required to do.
    Federally funded infrastructure projects that should have been completed years ago, are still in the ‘design and/or consultation’ process – due to incompetence and lack of urgency for communities affected by these required projects.
    Labor’s Shayne Neumann is all voice and no action and is taking the constituents of Blair for granted.
    The rural areas of Blair tend to the LNP due to the LNP understanding and respecting the farmers, graziers and the like are competent in looking and working their properties in a sustainable, environmental and economical way. Labor are so aligned to the Greens, that they do not respect nor understand the intelligence and fortitude of Blair’s rural constituents – nor across Australia as a whole.

  11. Two more points to consider to add the Observers points.

    1. LNP pouring resources here. Senator Scarr is acting as an Ipswich corridor MP. He is frequently in Blair as you can see in his social media and he relocated the senate office to Speingfield to focus on this seat and Oxley. I think LNP sense long term opportunity in both seats.

    2. Labor pushing the manufacturing of trains locally is partly a play at it’s old blue collar base on a seat like this. This shows concern about what is happening to that base.

  12. @Concerned

    “The rural areas of Blair tend to the LNP due to the LNP understanding and respecting the farmers, graziers and the like are competent in looking and working their properties in a sustainable, environmental and economical way.”

    Is that so? Then why are landholders in Queensland clearing the equivalent of 1000 MCGs of tree cover each day? [1] Why do we have problems with the Murray-Darling system running dry, and dryland salinity? Could it be that farmers are overusing the water that is available? None of that sounds very sustainable.

    [1] – https://amp.theguardian.com/environment/2021/dec/31/carbon-bomb-queensland-reveals-big-jump-in-land-clearing

  13. @LNP Insider interesting that you flag Oxley as a location where LNP might have genuine intent in competing. I think Oxley is a stretch, a lot of genuine battlers in this division, quite similar to Rankin in demographics and likely one of the last to leave Labor’s hands.

    I propose that the neighbouring Moreton would sooner fall to LNP. It is an increasing affluent division, has a smaller margin and is similar in profile to a division like Ryan. Like Ryan, this is an almost three way contest where LNP are strong but Greens are increasingly viable. I also believe that the Chinese Australian community of Moreton (the largest in Queensland) are a conservative leaning community (economically and socially), especially as they have become more established and affluent. I would point to divisions like Chisholm or Bennelong as similar divisions in other states which are viable for the Coalition with an established Chinese Australian community.

  14. This was a marginal seat at a very bad election in qld. There will be a swing to Labor here so this seat will not be in contention. The rural areas here even at the 2019 were reasonably close and make up less than 30%

  15. @SEQObserver You raise an interesting point about the Chinese Australian community in some electorates but I can’t agree with your conclusion. Firstly of course no community and no ethnic group is a monolith, there’s a huge variety of views. Aside from that I haven’t found Asian Australians or Chinese Australians to be conservative, if any generalisation were to be made I’d say most Chinese Australians veer towards the centre, willing to support either party with good economic and social policies. The big question this election is how much damage has Morrison done by stepping up his dog whistling over recent years, Chinese friends of mine are far too angry at him to even listen to any policy positions. On the other hand Albanese’s centrist small target approach and campaigning on jobs seems to be landing well with anyone I speak with in QLD (even though I find it weak and wish he’d push for meaningful progressive reforms).

  16. Hi SEQ observer. If we just look at this election cycle I agree. That said we are already seeing a trend of independent left leaning candidates eating into LNP seats in wealthier suburbs. Ls

    Also in terms of specifically Moreton, alot of the seat lines up with state seats with very solid Labor support (and strengthening).

    Couple that with LNP base vote strengthening in more blue collar seats (bigger margins in Forde, Petrie Lindsey and becoming competitive in Blair, Fowler, Werriwa, Lilley) you can see why they might see a long term opportunity in Oxley.

  17. Has Scott Morrison or one of his underlings turned up here yet? He’s been perfectly willing to not just play defence and campaign in Labor held seats. This is a rural-urban hybrid seat, on the outer suburban fringes. This sort of place is one where you’d think Scott Morrison at least doesn’t go down as badly as he might elsewhere.

    I’d have this as the best chance for a Liberal pickup in QLD, probably more than Lilley or Moreton.

  18. The LNP are basically aiming to hold their own seats rather than win any Labor .Little effort going into contesting Blair,Lilley or Moreton by the LNP.

  19. A en I have found that increasingly in recent years the Chinese ethnic vote has increasingly been highly supportive of Red China. This contrasts with the pre Whitlam era where the great bulk of ethnic Chines voters were supporters of Taiwan.
    I had good links to ethnic Chinese in 1970’s when the Friends of Free China used the same Post Office Box as the Captive Nations Council.
    The leader of these groups was Long time DLP candidate Harry Wright.
    Red China in those days did not have commissars posted to Queensland uni to ensure that the views of the Red RAt regime were the policy of the uni administration.

  20. @John, how’d you figure that? After watching the Lib campaign, I’ve arrived at the complete opposite conclusion. First, mathematically they *need* to win seats because they already start out below 76 because of the redistribution. Indeed, it is almost universally accepted that the Libs are going to lose at least three seats *minimum* – Boothby, Swan and Pearce. Even if they weren’t, they can’t do what Howard did in 1998 because sandbagging alone is too much of a risk when you’re just hovering at the majority line.

    Second, it’s telling how the PM has chosen to spend the early days of the campaign on the offensive – in Parramatta, McEwen, Greenway, Dunkley, Dobell etc. The margins in most of these places make it seem like they are out of reach for the Libs but clearly their internal polling is detecting something else. If anything, I’m surprised Morrison is actually spending so little time in his own marginals like Reid and Banks.

  21. Unless of course you mean the LNP specifically in QLD; it’s hard to tell on this site since we all use the terms interchanegably!

    Even then, I’d be surprised to see the Libs not shift into gear (in Blair at least) as election day nears.

  22. I think Neumann will hold unless the Labor+Green vote is below 45% since there will be leakage between different right-wing candidates to push him over the line. LDP, UAP and PHON have candidates already.

  23. Yes Wreathy, I specifically meant the LNP in Queensland.You’re correct in that the Coalition must try to win seats like Hunter, Eden Monaro and Corangamite to ward off loses to Labor.The Queensland LN P are quite concerned about the seat of Brisbane. The term LNP is only used in Queensland.

  24. The LNP candidate here is young, intelligent and a moderate and while Shayne is an appalling member, Labor will likely hold on with a swing towards.

    Labor have dominated this area on a state level, and Milton Dick in Oxley is a great member and is very visible across both electorates. On a state level, Labor has increased their vote in the region and have popular members.

    Ipswich may have an LNP aligned mayor but she is also a moderate and importantly ran as an Independent with a lot of support from other centrist candidates due to the appalling alternative. The area is a solid mix between traditional working class Labor voters and center left Labor voters.

    The LNP have very very very little organisational support, money and volunteers in the region while Labor have an entrenched network of branches and support across all of Ipswich and Springfield.

    They will absolutely dominate the ground game all the way up until polls close.

  25. Libs will offset any loses in wa with seats in QLD, Nsw and Vic. State govt only survived on the covid vote

  26. Who is mystery man Scarr?
    I live in the Blair electorate and have never heard of him.
    His party sent out fliers to almost everyone here.
    Creating jobs, lower taxes, better health, education.
    This LNP government are woeful to say the least.
    My opinion is that Shayne Neumann will increase his vote,
    As the LNP candidate here, he is missing in action.
    Also may I point out here
    7/10 people have never heard of him either.

  27. @ Ben, tell me what seats in Qld the Coalition will be picking up? Certainly not Lilley. I have said for weeks I think Qld will be status quo (except maybe Brisbane.) I stand by it. If the Newspoll of 54/46 the Libs aren’t picking up any anywhere.

  28. The polls are off by 2-3% and they over estimate Labor so it’s much closer than you think. I did the calculations for Blair. LNP with PHON preferences swinging to each other can swing the seat to either PHON or LNP.

    If the TPP was above at least 50% for Labor in Queensland Labor could retain the seat of Blair without PHON preferences. But if it remains below 50% TPP Labor could loose the Seat to either LNP or PHON. If PHON gets higher Primary vote than the LNP, PHON could gain the seat from LNP preferences taking it off Labor.

  29. My final call: LNP Gain

    Then after this division inevitably gets redistributed with less of it encompassing the rural parts of South East Queensland, ALP regain.

  30. Ninja
    Wishful thinking.

    Blair is an old style ALP seat with some rural areas. Even a small swing of 1-2% will make it a comfortable win for the ALP. Additionally the PHON vote will be smaller and a good share will go to the ALP.

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