Electorate analysis: One of eight seats gained by the LNP from Labor at the 2009 election, Indooroopilly covers the inner suburbs immediately west of the city, from Indooroopilly itself south to Fig Tree Pocket and east to St Lucia, along with Graceville and Sherwood on the southern bank of the river. The electorate was created at the 1992 election in place of abolished Toowong, a traditional Liberal seat which fell to the National Party with Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s triumph at the 1983 election. Denver Beanland recovered it for the Liberals in 1986 and went on to become the inaugural member for Indooroopilly, serving as Attorney-General in the Rob Borbidge government of 1996-98. Beanland’s troubled tenure in the latter role presumably contributed to the jolting 12.5 per cent swing he suffered at the 1998 election, which cut his margin to 0.7 per cent. The voters delivered the coup de grace in 2001 when Labor’s Ronan Lee won the seat with a further 3.3 per cent swing.
A less crowded field in 2004 helped boost the Liberal primary vote by 5.8 per cent, but this only translated into a 0.8 per cent two-party swing. The 2006 election was similarly disappointing for the Liberals, with both major parties down fractionally on the primary vote and Labor picking up a two-party swing of 0.3 per cent. Ronan Lee meanwhile earned a reputation as something of an agitator, bucking the party line over uranium mining, privatisation, means testing and co-payments for surgery at public hospitals. In October 2008 he surprised everybody by quitting Labor to join the Greens, despite his conservative views on abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Claims emerged shortly afterwards that there was high turnover in Lee’s electorate office due to his abrasive attitude towards staff.
Labor’s difficulties helped the LNP to finally recover a natural blue-ribbon seat with a substantial 8.6 per cent swing to the candidate Scott Emerson, a former state political reporter for The Australian and more recently a director of public relations firm Crook Publicity. Emerson was frozen out of the preselection contest ahead of the 2006 election by a factional deal that delivered Indooroopilly to transport consultant Peter Turner and Mount Ommaney to former member Bob Harper, neither of whom won their seats. Emerson has seen been promoted to shadow cabinet in the science, research and communication technology portfolio in November 2011, moving to transport, multicultural affairs and arts after Campbell Newman became leader in April 2011.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.