Electorate analysis: Chatsworth is located about 10 kilometres east of the city centre, from areas of Labor strength around Carina east to strongly conservative Belmont and Manly West. Labor has held the seat since a favourable redistribution helped Terry Mackenroth gain it for them at the 1977 election, outside of a brief interregnum following a by-election on 20 August 2005 which followed Mackenroth’s retirement. This was won for the Liberals by Michael Caltabiano, a Brisbane City councillor and noted factional warlord, on the back of a 13.9 per cent swing. A 3.3 per cent correction at the 2006 election saw Labor’s Chris Bombolas, a former Channel Nine sports reporter and rugby league commentator, recover the seat for his party by a slender margin of 0.8 per cent. Bombolas made a surprise retirement announcement four days before the 2009 election was called, saying doctors had advised him to reduce stress due to diabetes.
The seat emerged as the biggest cliffhanger of the ensuing election, at which Michael Caltabiano’s school teacher wife Andrea Caltabiano contested the seat for the LNP against Labor’s Steve Kilburn, a local firefighter and Navy sailor who contested Hinchinbrook in 2004. Kilburn’s 74 vote win was challenged in court by the LNP, on the unpromising grounds that double voting and a strong result for Labor on absent votes constituted evidence of fraud. An exhaustive judicial review of contested ballot papers revealed only 14 errors, the effect of which when rectified actually increased Labor’s margin to 85, and only two cases of double voting were identified, both of which involved confused elderly citizens.
The LNP’s candidate for the coming election is Steve Minnikin, manager of the Alexandra Hills Shopping Centre.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.