Electorate analysis: The electorate of Noosa extends along the coast from Noosa Heads and its surrounds to Peregian Beach 20 kilometres to the south, and through less developed areas for 30 kilometres to the north. It was created in 1992, mostly from the urbanised part of abolished Cooroora, which the National/Country Party had held from the party’s creation in 1922 until Ray Barber (now running in Maroochydore) won it for Labor when the Goss government came to power in 1989. Liberal candidate Bruce Davidson won the new seat by 2.4 per cent at the 1992 election, at which the Nationals ran a distant third (they did not contested the seat thereafter).
Noosa emerged as the jewel in Labor’s short-lived Sunshine Coast crown early last decade, when their candidate Cate Molloy narrowly won the seat from Davidson with an 11.3 per cent swing in 2001 before piling an extra 7.8 per cent on to her margin in 2004. Molloy emerged as a troublesome figure for the government, at one point saying she held Liberal MPs “accountable” for the Bali bombing. She was disendorsed ahead of the 2006 election due to her public opposition to the Traveston dam, which extended to her leading protest marches and threatening to introduce a private member’s bill to prevent it. Her decision to run as an independent probably ended any hope Labor had of retaining the seat, as she split the anti-conservative vote by polling 23.4 per cent. The Liberals were thus able to turn a 2.9 per cent increase in the primary vote into a 15.0 per cent swing after preferences.
The seat has since been held by Glen Elmes, general manager of local radio stations Heat FM and 4GY, who had also been the Liberal candidate in 2004. Elmes emphatically consolidated his hold on the seat with a 12.4 per cent swing at the 2009 election, at which Cate Molloy polled 8.1 per cent as an independent. After the 2009 election he was promoted to the front bench as Shadow Climate Change and Sustainability Minister, from which he was further promoted to police and emergency services in November 2011. However, his tenure in the latter high-profile role proved short-lived, as he was demoted to parliamentary secretary for tourism when Campbell Newman assumed the leadership in March 2011. This led him to complain he had been a victim of his support for John-Paul Langbroek’s leadership.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.