Electorate analysis: The town of Maryborough is located on the Bruce Highway 300 kilometres north of Brisbane, from which the electorate extends north-eastwards to the outskirts of Hervey Bay at Urraween, 40 kilometres southwards down Bruce Highway to Glenwood and Curra, and 30 kilometres northwards to Cherwell. It has existed without interruption since 1865, and was in Labor hands for all but one term from 1915 to 1971. It has since been held at various times by Labor, Liberal, the Nationals, One Nation and the current member, independent Chris Foley. Labor’s Ray Dollin won the seat from the Nationals when the Goss government came to power in 1989 and held it until 1998, when One Nation candidate John Kingston achieved his party’s second best performance in the state with 42.6 per cent of the primary vote. Kingston was generally reckoned to be one of the sharper tools in the One Nation shed, and had the sense to abandon the party eight months after his election. He was re-elected as an independent in 2001 by a 0.5 per cent margin after preferences, making him one of only two members of the One Nation class of 1998 to be re-elected (the other being Dorothy Pratt in Nanango, also returned as an independent).
Kingston’s retirement due to ill health led to a by-election in April 2003, at which Wesleyan Methodist pastor Chris Foley kept the seat in independent hands after first being knocked back for Nationals preselection. Labor led the primary vote with 37.0 per cent, but Foley won by 3.5 per cent after preferences. The 2004 campaign was highlighted by the withdrawal of Nationals candidate Michael Giles hours before the closure of nominations when it was revealed he had failed to inform the party of a domestic violence order that was taken out against him, leaving the party without a candidate. Giles went on to claim that the Nationals were not serious about winning the seat and were content to see it remain with Foley, who ended up winning a primary vote majority in every booth for a total of 64.9 per cent. Even with the Nationals in the field he was able to increase his vote still further to 69.6 per cent in 2006, but a much stronger performance by the LNP in 2009 reduced his vote to 47.8 per cent. The LNP is again fielding its candidate from 2009, property valuer Anne Maddern.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.