Electorate analysis: Mirani covers 200 kilometres of the central coast from the northern outskirts of Rockhampton to the southern outskirts of Mackay. It was substantially redrawn by the redistribution before the 2009 election, which added 10,000 voters from two geographically and electorally distinct areas from abolished Fitzroy to the south: the Nationals-voting grazing district around Dysart and Middlemount in the interior, and declining mining areas to the west and south of Rockhampton. Labor’s strength in the latter area gave the seat a notional margin in their favour of 1.2 per cent, and incumbent Ted Malone was only able to eke out a precarious victory on the back of a 1.8 per cent swing. The seat has only had six members in a history going back to 1912, the only Labor member being Ted Walsh from 1935 to 1947 (he was later member for Bundaberg). Malone came to the seat at a by-election in 1994, and survived close shaves when his margin was cut to 2.7 per cent in 1998 and 3.8 per cent in 2001. Malone was promoted to the front bench after the 1998 election defeat and has covered a number of portfolios since, assuming emergency services in November 2005, moving to families, housing and community services in the November 2010 reshuffle, and to industrial relations, employment and skills when Campbell Newman became leader in April 2011. It was reported that Newman wished to drop him from the front bench, but he was spared on the insistence of powerful party president Bruce McIver.
Labor’s candidate is Jim Pearce, who held first Broadsound and then Fitzroy from 1989 to 2009, before bowing out when the latter electorate was abolished at the redistribution before the last election.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.