Moving the focus away from the Senate result, there are a few other interesting features in the House of Reps results in Queensland (and to some extent elsewhere).
The Coalition lost a swag of seats in Queensland (between 9 and 12 – my guess is this will end up at 11), but Queensland is still their second strongest state, after WA, with approx 49% two party preferred. Indeed, on primary vote, there were still more people in Queensland who voted for the Coalition than Labor (44.25% to 43.40% on current figures).
I was wrong in my assumption (shared by at least some others) that people like Mal Brough in the outer-urban mortgage belt seat of Longman would do better at resisting the swing than people like Michael Johnson in the traditional wealthy ‘leafy green’ Liberal heartland of Ryan. The swing against Brough of 10.3% was almost the worst against a sitting Liberal member in the entire state, just behind the 10.7% for Cameron Thompson in Blair. There were bigger swings against the Libs in Leichhardt and Forde, but the sitting member was retiring in both of these. The Nationals’ Deanne Kelly also suffered a bigger swing of 13.4% in Dawson.
By contrast, Michael Johnson only had a 6.4% swing in Ryan and Ross Vasta in Bonner had even less at 5.3% – the lowest swing against an incumbent Liberal in Queensland, which is quite a respectable effort for a lower profile MP competing against a very well known local Labor candidate, although not enough to save his very marginal seat. Other outer-urban mortgage belt seats like Dickson (Peter Dutton, who I suspect might just hang on) and Petrie (formerly held by Parliamentary Secretary Therese Gambaro) also copped swings of 8.7% and 9.8% respectively, while Bowman held by Andrew Laming (who is in an incredibly tight contest, but I think might just lose out) had a swing of 8.9%. Bowman is also outer-urban, but is a bit different in character and the contest may also have been affected by the controversy Andrew Laming faced with an ongoing police investigation into printing entitlements.
The swing to Labor in their own inner-urban seats was also comparatively low. Only 4.1% in Kevin Rudd’s own seat of Griffith, 3.2% for Wayne Swan’s seat of Lilley and just 3.0% for Arch Bevis in Brisbane, which is the most inner-city seat of all. By contrasts, Labor’s outer-urban seat of Rankin, based on Logan City and held by Craig Emerson, gained a swing of 9.2%.
The 3 Gold Coast based seats of McPherson, Moncrieff and Fadden all had relatively low swings of just over 5%, and remain fairly safe for the Liberals.
In regards to south-east Queensland, the bigger swings in the outer-urban mortgage belt seats reinforces the view that Workchoices, interest rates and probably the punitive attacks on sole parents (under the misleading label of Welfare to Work) all had a big impact – more so than the Coalition’s continual attacks on human rights and appeals to racism.
However, in this context, it is worth noting some results in another state. The two Liberal seats in Victoria which had virtually no swings to the government where those held by the two most prominent internal opponents of the Coalition’s draconian assaults on refugees – Russell Broadbent in McMillan and Petro Georgiou in Kooyong. Sadly, there weren’t any Liberal MPs in Queensland who took a similar public stand on conscience, so there no local comparison I can make using this criterion.