Electorate analysis: Albert is located along the western side of the Pacific Motorway as it runs from Brisbane’s outskirts to the Gold Coast. Its major population centres are at either end, around Mt Warren Park and Ormeau in the north and Oxenford in the south. Labor only won the seat on three occasions from its creation in 1950 until 2001: in 1972, when it was won by Bill D’Arcy (later member for Woodridge, and eventually imprisoned for child sex offences); in 1989, when the Liberals directed preferences against Fitzgerald-tainted National Party minister Ivan Gibbs and helped deliver victory to John Szczerbanik; and in 1992, when Szczerbanik was re-elected. Bill Baumann recovered the seat for the Nationals in 1995, before jumping ship for an ill-fated tilt at the new Gold Coast seat of Gaven in 2001. This opened the door to a disastrous three-cornered contest in 2001, in which the Nationals candidate finished in fourth and final place with 11.9 per cent of the vote and Labor’s Margaret Keech prevailed with a 12.6 per cent margin. Albert was assigned to the Liberals in the coalition agreement ahead of the 2004 election, and while they at least made the final two-party cut, that was little consolation given that Labor gained a further 9.4 per cent on the primary vote. Subsequent elections have seen swings of 0.3 per cent in 2006 and 7.3 per cent in 2009.
Margaret Keech is a member of the Left faction, and was the only one of Labor’s unexpectedly durable brace of Gold Coast MPs to make it to cabinet, serving as Tourism and Fair Trading Minister after the 2004 election and Child Safety Minister when Anna Bligh became Premier in September 2007, but left the ministry after the 2009 election (“jumped before she was pushed”, according to one account) and has since served as government whip. The LNP candidate is financial adviser Mark Boothman.
Three weeks out from the election, it emerged that a website administered by LNP candidate Mark Boothman had displayed “adult content” including flash games in which players aimed fire at animated images of women to remove their clothing. Boothman claimed the content had been uploaded by “hackers”, but digging by blogger Syd Walker and VexNews cast doubt on this claim, prompting the LNP to announce they were re-investigating.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.