Electorate analysis: The electorate of Mackay includes the central part of the coastal city 970 kilometres north of Brisbane which bears its name, excluding the northern coastal reaches of Dolphin Beach and Shoal Point and the western suburb of Mt Pleasant (which are in Whitsunday). Noted since colonial times as a centre for sugar production, Mackay has formed the basis of an electorate without interruption since 1878. It has had just four members since 1915, all Labor: William Forgan Smith (1915 to 1942, Premier from 1932 to 1942), Fred Graham (1943 to 1969), Ed Casey (1969 to 1995, Opposition Leader from 1978 to 1982) and Tim Mulherin (1995 to present). A member of the Labor Unity (Old Guard) sub-faction of the Right, Mulherin filled the cabinet vacancy created by the ignominious exit of Gordon Nuttall in December 2005, serving in the primary industries and fisheries portfolios and further gaining rural and regional Queensland after the 2009 election. These portfolios were collectively repackaged as agriculture, food and regional economies portfolio in the February 2011 reshuffle.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.