Electorate analysis: One of eight seats gained by the LNP from Labor at the 2009 election, Mudgeeraba is located immediately inland of the coastal electorates of the Gold Coast, extending from southern Nerang to the New South Wales border. It encompasses developed Gold Coast areas in the north-east along with hinterland and national park areas to the west and south. The electorate was created in 2001 when it replaced abolished Nerang, which the Liberals gained from the Nationals in 1989. The Liberals had a notional margin of 11.6 per cent going into the 2001 election, but this was swept away by a massive 18.4 per cent swing to Labor consistent with the Coalition wipeout across the Gold Coast. Labor’s successful candidate was Dianne Reilly, the principal of a public relations consultancy firm. In common with all of Labor’s Gold Coast newcomers she was returned in 2004, although a 5.0 per cent correction left her seat highly marginal. There were multiple reports during the 2006 campaign that Labor had all but abandoned hope of retaining the seat, but Liberal Party disarray helped Reilly to a third unlikely win with the swing against her limited to 1.0 per cent. A further 6.6 per cent swing finally toppled her in 2009.
The new LNP member was Ros Bates, a former nursing administrator and director of lobbying firm Entree Vous, to which factional powerbroker Michael Caltabiano had been a consultant. It had earlier been reported that Gold Coast councillor and National Party identity Ted Shepherd would get the nod for LNP preselection due to arrangements reached during party merger negotiations, to the dismay of Bates’ supporters, but it was variously reported that Shepherd was unable to nominate because his LNP membership application had mysteriously been put “on hold”, and that he had not intended to run in any case because he had only recently been re-elected to council. Mudgeeraba had also been the scene of rivalry between Bates and Shepherd before the 2006 election, when a late backdown by Shepherd prevented them going head-to-head in a destructive three-cornered contest.
Bates was promoted to shadow cabinet in the reshuffle that followed Campbell Newman’s assumption of the leadership in April 2011, taking on the government services, building industry and information and communication technology portfolios. Her Labor opponent is Aaron Santelises, a law and international relations student at Griffith University.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.