Bundaberg – Queensland 2024

ALP 0.01%

Incumbent MP
Tom Smith, since 2020.

Central Queensland. The seat of Bundaberg covers the central suburbs of the Bundaberg urban area, including Avoca, Svensson Heights, Thabeban, Kensington, Avenell Heights and Kalkie.

The seat of Bundaberg has existed continuously since 1888. Labor held the seat continuously from 1896 until 2006. The Liberal National Party held the seat for the next nine years, but the seat has changed hands at the last three elections.

Clem Campbell won the seat for the ALP in 1983. He held the seat until his retirement in 1998, when he was succeeded by Nita Cunningham.

Cunningham was re-elected in 2001 and 2004. In 2006 she resigned due to health issues. A by-election was not held, as Cunningham’s resignation prompted Peter Beattie to call an early election.

Bundaberg was won in 2006 by the National Party’s Jack Dempsey. Dempsey won re-election in 2009 and 2012.

Dempsey was defeated in 2015 by Labor’s Leanne Donaldson. Donaldson herself only held on to the seat for one term, losing in 2017 to the LNP’s David Batt. Batt only held the seat for one term, losing in 2020 to Labor’s Tom Smith by just nine votes.


  • Alan Corbett  (Independent)
  • Tom Smith (Labor)
  • Bree Watson (Liberal National)
  • Ian Zunker (Legalise Cannabis)

Bundaberg is the most marginal seat in Queensland. It has changed hands at the 2015, 2017 and 2020 elections and is very likely to be in play in 2024.

2020 result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Tom Smith Labor 13,053 43.1 +8.8
David Batt Liberal National 12,577 41.5 +6.0
Stewart Jones One Nation 1,766 5.8 -16.6
Ian Zunker Legalise Cannabis 1,669 5.5 +5.5
Claire Ogden Greens 964 3.2 -0.3
Shane Smeltz United Australia 244 0.8 +0.8
Informal 1,105 3.5

2020 two-party-preferred result

Candidate Party Votes % Swing
Tom Smith Labor 15,141 50.0 +4.2
David Batt Liberal National 15,132 50.0 -4.2

Booth breakdown

Booths in Bundaberg have been divided into three areas: central, north and west.

Labor won a majority of the two-party-preferred vote in the centre, which is the most populous part of the seat, while the LNP won in the north and west. Labor also won the pre-poll vote, which made up over half of the vote.

Voter group ALP 2PP % Total votes % of votes
Central 52.7 3,199 10.6
West 49.9 2,492 8.2
North 47.9 1,753 5.8
Pre-poll 50.6 16,084 53.1
Other votes 47.8 6,745 22.3

Election results in Bundaberg at the 2020 Queensland state election
Toggle between two-party-preferred votes and primary votes for Labor and the Liberal National Party.

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  1. Very curious that this seat exists as the hole of the donut that is Burnett. In this regard it is like no other seat in Queensland. I wonder if consideration had ever been given to splitting the seat and merging the eastern half with the Bargara side of Burnett, and the other half going with the Gin Gin – Agnes Water part of Burnett. Such an idea may run counter to the seeming desire to consolidate provincal city centres in their own seat – the seats of Hervey Bay, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns all seem to be drawn in this fashion, whilst Toowoomba is split in half. I wonder what a future redistribution here may look like. Maybe if Callide needs more electors the ultimate knock-on effects would see Bundaberg as we know it change.

  2. @Ben – minor typographical error “Election results in Pullenvale at the 2020” should read Bundaberg not Pullenvale… unless Brisbane has decided to take over here too. Keep up the good work though!

    Still well over a year to go, but with current polling trends, you’d think the LNP would re-gain this seat again.

  3. @ NQ View the dynamic between Bundaberg and Burnett is unique for now and has been for some time, but I suspect that if the larger regional electorates continue to fall behind the provincial cities, Rockhampton and Keppel may be forced into the same sort of situation.

    To name the worst offenders – Mirani, Burdekin, Callide, Gregory and Traeger are doing quite poorly at keeping up with growth in the southeast of the state. Mundingburra in Townsville is the same, although it’s provincial. Elsewhere such as the Fraser Coast and Toowoomba region are doing more than fine.

    When I’m bored I try to look at how these seats may be redistributed in the future assuming they continue to trend negatively, and I struggle quite a bit to come up with boundaries that make sense (with the assumption that parliament will not be expanded again so soon, and that no regional seat will be lost in favor of SEQ).

  4. I got off on a bit of a tangent above and forgot to include any of my thoughts on Bundaberg – This seat is surely an LNP gain. I’ve spent quite a bit of time here in the past and it’s no more the Labor stronghold it once was. Even a tiny swing to the LNP statewide will send it back their way. I was shocked as it was when Labor took it in 2020.

  5. Over 12% of Bundaberg are over the age of 75 (#2 in Queensland for people aged over 85). This is yet another division like Hervey Bay (#1 Aged Over 85+ in QLD) where Labor can attribute a lot of their success at the last election to the elderly staring down their own mortality at the height of the pandemic and thanking Palaszczuk’s strong Covid posturing at the ballot box (Early Voting Centre).


    Again, like Hervey Bay, It is likely that there will be a receding of the tide here from 2020, let alone the fact that only ten votes needed to go the other way for LNP to hold onto this one last time.

    Mick might be right though. There is a considerable chance of a sophomore surge getting Smith back over the line again.

  6. I rate Bundy as a tossup or narrow LNP gain despite its ultra-slim margin. I wrote in the QLD election guide thread that Nicklin, Caloundra and Hervey Bay would probably be the first to flip back to the LNP. The first two are normally Liberal stronghold seats. Hervey Bay swings back and forth but there was a retiring LNP member in 2020. As @SEQ Observer alluded to – the hard border and pandemic politics played into Labor’s favour in seats with a large elderly population.

    QLD does have some oddly shaped electorates that are a collection of small towns in between regional cities e.g. Mirani, Burdekin, and Burnett, on the other hand, encloses Bundaberg. You also have one each for Cairns, Townsville, Mackay and Rockhampton and separate ones for their suburbs. NSW doesn’t have regional electorates (e.g Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Albury, Wagga Wagga) that are as geographically small as their QLD equivalents.

  7. LNP have preselected Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers CEO and Qld Horticultural Council chair Bree Watson as their canidate. I agree with some of the sentiment that it would be foolish to completely write Labor off here. It has a strong Labor history in this seat and the recent years (Dr Death, member failing to pay her rates etc) aren’t really a fair reflection of it. However if the statewide polls are to be belived then I would think the LNP would certainly be favourites at the moment. But with incumbency, sophmore surge, and the seat with a strong Laor history. I think there will be resistance rather then then just the typical pendulum swing by just judging the margin.

  8. @nightwatcen if they can’t overcome a 7 vote deficieir here they won’t be in government in QLD I can guarantee that. Should be a definite pickup for the lnp

  9. I remember Albury nsw. Labor won narrowly and held the seat for 10 years. This is the unknown factor in non Brisbane seats… the personal vote

  10. I could see the LNP gaining this (which they will) but then possibly lose this in 2028 if the LNP are on the nose and are a 1 term government. But that would also probably require the Coalition to be in power federally which is unlikely (or at least they would have only been in power for a few months since an election in 2028 federally is probable) and likely will be the last big test for a premier Crisafulli before he tries for a 2nd term which has not occurred successfully since Joh in 86′ for the conservative side.

    If the LNP win in 2024 and lose this in 2028, This potentially will become the longest string of 1-term MP’s in the states history, unless anyone can name other examples at a state or federal level that changed hands after 1 term 4-5 successive times?

  11. The federal seat of Bass also has a record of being an ‘ejector’ seat. It has changed hands after 1 term on 3 consecutive occasions (1993-1998 and also 2013-2019).

  12. Yoh An,
    A good example of polar opposites.

    Bundaberg has elected just 2 Lib/Nat/LNP MPs since 1896 and it doesn’t look like there will be another one for a long time.

  13. Labor will especially be done here if former MP turned independent, Jack Dempsey runs here and polls 10% and those preferences go to the LNP

  14. One of the first to fall on election night, with a swing of 10%, I predict.

    LNP primary will lift about 5/6% to around 46% and Labor will end up in the mid 30s. So a fairly comfortable win.

    Bree Watson seems to be a well credentialed candidate too.

  15. Again, quite possible. I’m being a bit more cautious about the swing. But regional electorates will swing harder.

  16. PRP,
    Do you have any suggestions as to why regional electorates have swung so hard against the LNP?

  17. In recent elections they’ve swung against the LNP, particularly due to Covid in 2020. But those margins are very vulnerable for Labor this time. Federally they still vote strongly for the LNP, other than Blair.

  18. @Watson Watch many have actually swung to the LNP. In 2017 the swing was split with Labor doing better in South East Queensland while in the regions they did worse with the LNP gaining Bundaberg and almost gaining Townsville.


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