Macalister – QLD 2020

ALP 7.4%

Incumbent MP
Melissa McMahon, since 2017.

Brisbane. Macalister covers suburbs on the south-eastern fringe of Brisbane, including Windaroo, Beenleigh, Holmview, Eagleby, Cornubia and Carbrook.

Macalister was created in 2017 out of parts of five seats.

The seat of Coomera was created in 2009 and has always been held by the LNP.

Labor lost the seat of Redlands to the LNP in 2009, and did not win it back until 2017.

Labor lost the seats of Albert, Waterford and Springwood in 2012, and won back Waterford and Springwood in 2015.

Labor’s Melissa McMahon won Macalister in 2017.


Macalister is a reasonably safe Labor seat.

2017 result

Melissa Mcmahon Labor 10,21036.7-8.1
Judi Van Manen Liberal National 7,42126.6-10.9
Hetty JohnstonIndependent6,44823.2+23.2
Gabi Nehring Greens 1,8516.6-1.0
Ben MusgraveConsumer Rights9173.3+3.3
Greg BradleyIndependent5221.9+1.9
Janelle ClancyIndependent4801.7+1.7

2017 two-party-preferred result

Melissa Mcmahon Labor 15,99957.4+1.0
Judi Van Manen Liberal National 11,85042.6-1.0

Booth breakdown

Booths in Macalister have been divided into three areas: central, north and south.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in all three areas, ranging from 50.2% in the north to 64.3% in the centre.

Independent candidate Hetty Johnston came third, with a primary vote ranging from 21.2% in the centre to 24.9% in the south.

Voter groupIND primALP 2PPTotal votes% of votes
Other votes19.553.34,83517.4

Election results in Macalister at the 2017 QLD state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for independent candidate Hetty Johnston.

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  1. Margaret Keech was Labor MP for Albert, 2001-12, and a minister in the Beattie/Bligh govt. Must’ve been some kind of falling out there.

  2. I think Margaret has been out of Parliament too long and the seats changed too much for her to be a credible threat to Labor here.

    Hetty has a huge profile in Logan and only managed 23% of the vote. So at best I think Margaret will get 12-15% if she’s lucky. Surely this isn’t a seat the LNP expect to win, so it should be a fairly safe retain for Labor.

  3. One correction Ben, you overlooked that Kim Richards won Redlands back for Labor in 2017. A easy mistake when you have this type of electorate bouncing back and forth between the major parties every few elections.

  4. I originally had this down as ALP Retain before I became aware of Margaret Keech really putting her hat in the ring. I concur with @PRP that there isn’t the same pulling power as Hetty. I see more a split of Hetty’s vote with about 50/50 going to ALP and Keech. That would put ALP close to the magical 50% on first pref, which can plausibly happen here, unless the COVID Campaign goes sour but this really is in the area of Labor’s stronghold in the south of Brisbane.

    Prediction (August 2020): ALP Retain

  5. Have seen this seat be described as a key one. Even the betting odds seem surprisingly close considering the area is one you would naturally assume to be pretty safe Labor. Surely an independent couldn’t do that much damage – look at last election. To me it seems that this should be a safe Labor seat. Any word on the ground?

  6. I guess the theory here involves Labor bleeding more votes due to One Nation running this time and Keech pulling more Labor votes then Hetty did. Maybe they think LNP primary lifts a little with some Hetty votes coming across…

  7. @Montau

    I have noticed that too that this seat is competitive for the LNP in the betting odds. My theory is that alot of 23.2% vote Hetty Johnston is heading back to the LNP primary vote tally. Which is why they may be running more closer this time. Yes Johnston was an independent, but my suspicion is that she has a bit of more of a conservative bent in her politics which attracted more conservative voters then Labor voters. Remember Johnston backed the controversial selection of Tim Carmody as chief justice from the Newman government. She is very much active on law and order issues. I still think Labor are favorites to retain.

  8. Political Nightwatchman and Queensland Observer

    Thanks. Have researched and found that in 2017 had Johnston beat the LNP into 2nd (around 3.4% difference), assured they got over 67% preference flow they would have won the seat off Labor (possible with LNP preferences).

    I guess this time they think Keech will have some name recognition and could pull conservative Labor folks (she was always one of the more conservative voices in the party voting against same sex civil union). Also One Nation is running and although they will probably have a fall in primary votes, that may continue to see more conservatives get pulled away from the majors. I guess your theory about Labor primary vote falling and one of the conservatives getting enough preferences from the others is plausible. Keech has put LNP 2nd on her how to vote card. This may have caused enough speculation in the betting odds.

    However, nonetheless I would be surprised if Labor loses this one and would be favorites in the race.

  9. “Keech has put LNP 2nd on her how to vote card. This may have caused enough speculation in the betting odds.”


    That is not completely correct. Margaret Keech has claimed on her website that her how to vote cards are split preferences. And that one side of her card preferences the LNP and the other side of the card preferences Labor.

    Keech claim that Labor put factional interests ahead of the voters is kind of hypocritical. Considering Keech was a member of the Left faction during her political career and was happy to enjoy all the advantages in preselection’s and minster portfolios that come with it.

  10. Margaret Keech has improved her standing on Sportsbet to $3.50, but the LNP has blown out now to $5.50 which is probably where we expected them to be originally for this seat.


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