Electorate analysis: The vast central Queensland electorate of Gregory is one of five electorates with lower than average enrolment due to the “notional electors” allowance for districts of more than 100,000 square kilometres, which adds 6544 notional voters to its enrolment total for purposes of boundary calculations. The redistribution before the 2009 election changed the appearance of the electorate substantially, transferring the Charleville area to Warrego and the southern part of the Northern Territory border to Mount Isa (substantial on the map, but affecting only 155 voters), with compensating gains in the east from Bangall through Clermont to Blackwater (previously in abolished Charters Towers and Fitzroy) drawing the electorate nearer the coast.
Gregory has existed in one form or another since 1878, and was a Labor stronghold from 1899 until the party split of 1957. It then fell to the Country Party, which together with its successors has held it since without interruption. Current member Vaughan Johnson assumed the seat in 1989 and was relatively untroubled by the challenge of One Nation in 1998, despite a 19.4 per cent drop in his primary vote. Even amid the Coalition’s 2001 fiasco he easily won a two-horse race against Labor by 9.4 per cent, to which he added a further 8.0 per cent in 2004. Johnson was Transport and Main Roads minister in the Borbidge government and held an endlessly shifting array of portfolios in opposition, taking on police and corrective services after the 2009 election. When then-LNP leader John-Paul Langbroek made an injudicious public announcement of his plans for a reshuffle in late 2010, Johnson declared he would not leave without a fight, but he was nonetheless dropped when the reshuffle was finalised in November. When Campbell Newman became leader in March 2011 he was made shadow parliamentary secretary for western Queensland.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.