Electorate analysis: The inner western electorate of Mount Coot-tha was created in 1950 in place of abolished Enoggera, which had been a marginal seat over the preceding decades. Until 1986 it covered much of the territory that henceforth constituted Moggill, the remainder being in Ithaca. Both seats were held by the the Liberals until 1989, and thereafter by Labor. Former Health Minister Wendy Edmond held the seat from 1989 until she retired in 2004, her closest call coming in 1995 when an 8.9 per cent swing closed the gap to 3.5 per cent. The seat is exceptionally strong for the Greens, and there were suggestions former ABC television and radio presenter Andrew Carroll might win it for them when he ran upon Edmond’s retirement in 2004. However, Carroll’s 23.6 per cent was less than perennial candidate Drew Hutton had managed in 1995, and left him 6.5 per cent behind the Liberal candidate at the second last count. The party’s vote has remained in the low twenties at the two elections since.
The new Labor member, Andrew Fraser, had previously held various ministerial, electorate and party positions, and rapidly emerged as the boy wonder of the Beattie-Bligh government: MP at 27, parliamentary secretary at 28, cabinet minister at 29, Treasurer at 31, Deputy Premier at 35. A member of the Labor Unity faction, he became Queensland’s youngest cabinet minister after the 2006 election, and went on to replace Anna Bligh as Treasurer after Peter Beattie’s departure as Premier in September 2007. He further became Employment and Economic Development Minister after the 2009 election, which he exchanged for the state development and trade portfolios in the February 2011 reshuffle. In September 2011 he assumed the deputy leadership when Paul Lucas stepped down on announcing his retirement, making him the youngest Deputy Premier in the state’s history.
Fraser’s LNP opponent is Saxon Rice, whom the party describes as “an economist with a masters in international law who has done time in Canberra”. The Courier-Mail reported in May 2011 that “Labor number-crunchers” had told Fraser he was facing defeat. Greens candidate Adam Stone has “worked in policy roles within the State and Commonwealth public services and as an advisor in the Federal Parliament”, and is being spruiked by the party as its senior candidate.
Late in the second last week of the campaign, a ReachTel poll conducted for Channel Seven suggested Andrew Fraser was headed for a heavy defeat, with Saxon Rice leading him 56.1-43.9 on 2009 election preferences. On the Monday before polling day, the Courier-Mail likewise reported that Labor internal polling had Andrew Fraser heading for defeat.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.