Electorate analysis: Located along the Gold Coast south of Surfers Paradise and north of Burleigh, Mermaid Beach was created at the 2009 election as the successor to abolished Robina, taking 81 per cent of its voters. Robina in turn was created in 2001 in place of abolished Merrimac, which was itself created in 1992 to accommodate the area’s rapid growth. Merrimac and then Robina were held for the Liberals by Bob Quinn, who first entered parliament as the member for South Coast in 1989. Along with Moggill and Caloundra, Robina was one of only three seats retained by the Liberals after the 2001 election, at which Quinn’s margin was cut from 16.2 per cent to 4.0 per cent. He subsequently replaced David Watson as party leader, a position he held until he was rolled in favour of Bruce Flegg eight days before the 2006 election was called.
Quinn promptly announced his retirement, initiating a preselection battle won by former Gold Coast mayor Ray Stevens ahead of Mark Powell and Aaron Debattista, the respective candidates of the Santo Santoro/Michael Caltabiano Sicilian and Bob Tucker/Bruce Flegg western suburbs factions. Stevens entered the shadow ministry in April 2007, successively serving in housing affordability and public works, information and communication technology, housing affordability and public works again, tourism and fair trading after the 2009 election and tourism and racing after November 2010, before being demotd to parliamentary secretary after Campbell Newman became leader in March 2011.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.