Chatsworth – QLD 2020

LNP 2.9%

Incumbent MP
Steve Minnikin, since 2012.

South-Eastern parts of the City of Brisbane. Chatsworth covers the Brisbane suburbs of Belmont, Carindale, Carina Heights, Gumdale, Chandler and parts of Carina and Tingalpa.

Chatsworth was first created at the 1960 election. The seat was dominated by the Liberal Party in its early years, with the Liberals holding the seat from 1960 to 1977.

In 1977 the Labor Party made a recovery against the governing National-Liberal coalition, gaining twelve seats. In Chatsworth the seat was won by the ALP’s Terry Mackenroth.

Mackenroth became a minister in the new Labor government in 1989, serving as a minister until Labor lost power in 1996. He returned to the ministry in the new Labor government in 1998.

In 2000, Mackenroth was elected Deputy Premier in the Beattie government. He became Treasurer in 2001 and served in both those roles until his retirement in 2005.

Mackenroth had held on to Chatsworth in 2004 with a 61.4% margin. This margin collapsed at the 2005 by-election, with the Liberal candidate, Brisbane City councillor Michael Caltabiano, winning the seat with a 13.9% swing.

Caltabiano was one of only seven Liberal MPs after his by-election win and he quickly rose through the ranks of the opposition. He was appointed Shadow Treasurer shortly before the 2006 state election.

At that election, Caltabiano lost Chatsworth to the Labor candidate, former sports presenter Chris Bombolas. The ALP won by barely 400 votes. Bombolas became a parliamentary secretary in the Labor government in 2007 and then retired due to poor health in 2009.

At the 2009 state election, the Liberal National Party ran Angela Caltabiano, wife of the former MP. The ALP ran firefighter Steve Kilburn.

The result was extremely close, with the ALP’s Kilburn eventually declared the winner. The case went to court and after six months the ALP was confirmed as the winner, winning by only 85 votes.

In 2012, Kilburn was defeated by LNP candidate Steve Minnikin. Minnikin was re-elected in 2015 and 2017.


Chatsworth is a marginal seat but leans LNP.

2017 result

Steve Minnikin Liberal National 14,99349.8+0.2
Paul Keene Labor 11,44238.0-0.8
Dave Nelson Greens 3,65512.1+3.6

2017 two-party-preferred result

Steve Minnikin Liberal National 15,91852.9-0.4
Paul Keene Labor 14,17247.1+0.4

Booth breakdown

Booths in Chatsworth have been divided into three areas: central, east and west.

The LNP won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in the east (52.9%) and the centre (53.9%) while Labor polled 55% in the west.

The Greens came third, with a vote ranging from 11.3% in the east to 14.1% in the west.

Voter groupGRN primLNP 2PPTotal votes% of votes
Other votes12.855.66,96623.2

Election results in Chatsworth at the 2017 QLD state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and Greens primary votes.

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  1. I’m not sure why but I had this listed as a TOSS-UP on my predictions for August. I think it was due to previous Labor history and closeness of margin. If the COVID handling of the ALP goes down well, this is one I could see falling. I’d have to see how Labor campaigns here in the next month or so to see if they’re targeting.

    Prediction (August 2020): TOSS-UP – Lean LNP

  2. I admit Labor cannot get the better of Steve, However in a few elections time i expect the Greens to have a shot at winning this

  3. Greens are a long way off here. If their trajectory continues they’ll get a boost in the parts that overlap with Griffith, but that won’t be anywhere near enough. I’m not sure where the Greens go after they land their 3 federal targets (and Miller) which may lead to Moreton) but I think the Sunshine Coast is more likely than Bonner. Noosa was a winnable Greens seat going into 2017 but they dropped the ball and Sandy Bolton picked it up.

    A strong Green vote may help Labor win this seat, but I don’t see Greens trying here for a while.

  4. I think this seat having a long Labor history making the seat traditionally Labor is a bit misleading. The demographics have changed and the seat is alot more affluent then it use to be. The late Terry Mackenroth was a very popular member during his time when he held the seat. But the seat was alot more Labor friendly back in the Goss/Beattie days then it is now.

    Steve Minnikin is one of the more socially moderate LNP’s MP’s which will help him in this seat. I think he is favored to retain. However, if Labor pulls away during the campaign then taking Chatsworth is not completely out of the realms of possibility considering the margin.

  5. A very diverse seat ranging from want to be yuppies in east closest to true yuppie heaven in Bulimba to true working class in Murarrie close to old Abattoirs at Canon Hill. With a few semi rural farms ( Rural Residential in council speak) in East.
    The switch from ALP back to LNP reflects this diversity. In late 1970’s DLP had a functioning branch in electorate centred on Tingalpa.

    Because of diversity very difficult to predict result.

    Geographically Predominantly but not necessarily demographically suburban.

  6. Furtive
    All parties are remiss in this respect. My view is that nominations for seats should occur in first months after new Parliament meets. That gives candidates time to educate themselves and as a minimum read every speech by sitting member. They should in effect know the sitting members vews in every subject. They should know every piece of legislation passed or amended.We should be able to talk to a candidate about Industrial Relations Act, Education Act, Health Act, etc etc. we need candidates who know what they are talking about. Candidate forums should be inquisitions for candidates. They should be grilled on detail of Police Acts, Criminal Code. In effect they need three years minimum to prepare to stand.

  7. I wouldn’t go that far but for Labor (or LNP for that matter) to have waited until August apparently to even start organising a proper campaign in such a marginal constituency is just insane to me.


    Redistributions make preselecting in the early years of a term hard. Preselecting before a redistribution is unfair on party members who are moved into a seat.

    Speeches by sitting members don`t have to be read in real time either.

    4 years of unpaid effort to try and get a subsequent 4 year job is also an unreasonable burden on most people who are potential candidates.

  9. Thanks for the interesting discussion here. And I can’t even find a green candidate for this seat, and with ALP selecting late, shows how this seat is viewed.

    Prediction (September 2020): LNP Retain [change from TOSS UP Lean LNP]

  10. I recall a Green candidate in Chatsworth in either 2007 or 2010. It is the only time when Tony Z and I had to pull a campaign worker off a booth for very aggressive campaigning. Or volunteer got into a physical fight with Green volunteer. We took the view it did not matter who started it the behaviour would damage our campaign so with the agreement of OIC volunteer was told to depart or police would be called.

  11. I often come into this part of Brisbane. This seat is mostly suburban with some acreage around Chandler and Gumdale. Demographics are seeing this area becoming more and more gentrified and lots of middle-class families moving here as they are close enough to the city for commuters and the area is very good for families (schools, parks, safe). This may partly explain the gradual and slow shift from marginal Labor to marginal Liberal. Couple to that a strong candidate in Minnikin whose more moderate views fit this electorate. Labor had a candidate late in arrival. A couple of signs and not much campaigning (seen more in my electorate of Bulimba and that is safe). It is a marginal seat and has been held by Labor quite recently, however I would say that the Libs are favored here.

  12. It’s hard to say how the changing demographic will actually go. I’ve just moved into this electorate, and at least in the Carina area, there’s a LOT of new townhouses and units being built or just built. I’m not sure which kinds of demographic are moving in generally, but it does seem to be a combination of young couples and downsizers. And much of the development seems to have happened over the last couple of years.

    Which makes it really quite difficult to predict. I don’t think it’s easy to judge who is favoured here.

    Mind you, the fact that the Greens still don’t even have their Chatsworth candidate on their website is astonishingly bizarre. I reached out to them to ask why, and they’ve claimed it’ll be up before Monday… but it’s pretty slack of them to still not have that information on their site, nearly a week after the nominations closed.

  13. The problem with political party websites is
    1. An assumption by those who do not live on internet that they are either a waste of me or the solution to all problems.
    2. Website designers who make updating them a job that requires professional skilled staff to complete.
    It should be much easier to update a candidates list than to produce a Corflute for candidate but it is not.

    I would have thought that Greens would have had access to competent Arty types who could do this as their contribution to party.

    The more centralised decision making is in a political party the easier it is to maintain the website.

    No political party can allow all and sundry to maintain the Site but if a political party becomes totally dependent on one individual they can walk leaving the site near useless. This has happened to other minor parties in recent years. In one case they sacked the key individual before getting access codes off them.

  14. Glen
    Good point. Bulimba is mostly quite affluent (or going that way) but full of townhouses and yuppies. Likewise, even in federal elections where the LNP does better, the booths that form the electorate go 50/50. Still, if it is this close, surprised to see a lack of campaigning, especially compared to other electorates that seem safer.

    Andrew Jackson
    I am surprised that the Greens haven’t put up their candidate on their website yet considering how short this campaign is. 2 weeks to the day and pre-polls open Monday I think? I would think that the Greens (as well as any party without much chance of winning a seat that is safe for their opponents) are just running here to help Labor and get awareness for federal elections – part of the seat is in Griffith which they are campaigning hard for. Without an upper house and the Greens with no shot at winning Chatsworth, there’s not much point in putting their resources and effort here when there is South Brisbane and McConnell nearby (still think that if they run though they should have an obligation to actually put up the effort to have the candidate on the website).

  15. Steve Minnikin had top position on the ballot in 2017, and got a tiny swing to him of 0.2%. This time, Labor is above him on the ballot. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of political activity, here, and most candidates are ghost candidates, appearing on the ballot prior to any online presence. So I think this seat will somewhat reflect general trends, rather than any particular local effects.

    That said, the right-wing split will likely harm Minnikin’s primary vote. PHON will get maybe a 2% boost to where they otherwise would have been due to being top of the ballot.

    My Prediction: Minnikin gets 41% primary, PHON gets 3%, UAP gets 2%, IMOP gets 1%, Greens edge up to 13%, Labor gets 40%.

    Lineball, but I think Minnikin just scrapes through with a margin of less than 1%.

  16. True, Peter Knopke – I suppose I’m overestimating how much of the minor party support would come from Minnikin. I’ll adjust slightly, to 42.5% to LNP, 38.5% to Labor. My brain just sort of went “they’re mostly right-wing, so most of the vote will come from LNP, so I’ll just say all of it does”.

  17. Clay – I disagree. Greens preferences in 2017 split 75-25 to Labor, so using the same numbers here, looking only at Greens preferences puts Labor at 48.25%. So it depends on how the minors split. My prediction is that this seat will see some right-wing voters peel off into minors (who are preferencing Liberals), while most of the left-wing voters will stick with Labor. So a strong split in UAP and PHON vote in favour of LNP is likely, in my view, for this seat.


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