Electorate analysis: Ferny Grove covers the hills region about 15 kilometres north-west of the city, including a concentration of voters in the Labor-leaning outer suburbs of Ferny Grove and Arana Hills in the electorate’s south-east, and thinly populated territory through Samford Valley to Mount Samson and Mount Nebo beyond which is much stronger for the LNP. The electorate has been held by Labor since its creation in 1992, the closest result being in 1995 when a 10.6 per cent swing cut the margin to 3.2 per cent. The 2001 landslide moved the electorate into safe seat territory for Labor, but a 7.6 per cent swing which formed part of a backlash throughout northern Brisbane (linked by most obsevers to the merger of the Mater and Royal Children’s hospitals) has made it marginal again.
The seat’s inaugural member was Glen Milliner, previously member for Everton from 1977, who was succeeded by Geoff Wilson in 1998. A member of the Left faction, Wilson was promoted to cabinet as Mines and Energy Minister after the 2006 election, moving to education and training after the 2009 election and thence to health in the February 2011 reshuffle. The LNP candidate is Dale Shuttleworth, an electronics specialist who served with the Royal Australian Navy until 1994, and ran as Family First’s candidate in 2006 and for the LNP in 2009.
A ReachTel automated phone poll of 370 conducted on February 17 pointed to a disastrous result for Labor, with Geoff Wilson trailing Dale Shuttleworth 63 per cent to 23 per cent on the primary vote. This was curiously at odds with the figures ReachTel has been getting from the all-important neighbouring seat of Ashgrove.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.