Electorate analysis: Pine Rivers is the successor to the electorate of Kurwongbah which was abolished at the 2009 election, taking in 89 per cent of the old electorate’s voters. It extends north-westwards from Strathpine (located 15 kilometres north of central Brisbane) and Lake Samsonvale through semi-rural territory to Dayboro. Labor support progressively weakens in the west of the electorate, culminating in a big majority recorded for the LNP at the Dayboro booth in 2009. An earlier incarnation of the Pine Rivers electorate was one of the seats the National Party won from the Liberals at part of Joh Bjelke-Petersen’s triumph in 1983. Margaret Woodgate won it for Labor in 1989 and subsequently became the inaugural member for Kurwongbah in 1992, holding it until her mid-term retirement in 1997. Linda Lavarch retained Kurwongbah for Labor at the ensuing by-election and easily held the seat thereafter, later emerging as a senior figure in the Beattie government. She resigned as Attorney-General shortly after the September 2006 election citing depression, following a period in which she had faced pressure over her handling of efforts to return to Jayant Patel to Australia.
Lavarch’s announcement that she would not seek another term ahead of the 2009 election resolved a dilemma for Labor, which was struggling to find a seat for Glass House MP Caroyln Male. The redistribution having made Glass House an almost certain gain for the LNP, Male had hoped to be accommodated in the new seat of Morayfield, but appeared to be in a losing race for preselection against Left faction lawyer Mark Ryan. The accommodation of Male in Pine Rivers maintained factional continuity, as both Male and Lavarch are associated with Labor Forum/AWU. After the 2009 election Male was promoted to parliamentary secretary for education, but she quit a year later citing fatigue and announced she would not contest the election in early February. Her successor as Labor candidate is Patrick Bulman, the chief executive of Parkinsons Queensland. The LNP candidate is Seath Holswich, Queensland manager of the Australian Employment Covenant, described on the party website as a national industry-led initiative aimed at securing the commitment of sustainable jobs for Indigenous Australians.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.