Electorate analysis: Redcliffe occupies the peninsula 25 kilometres north of central Brisbane which bears its name, along with Moreton Island. The LNP is strong at the peninsula’s northern tip around Scarborough, while the remainder leans to Labor. The electorate was created in 1960 and held for its first 19 years by Jim Houghton, first as a Liberal and later with the National/Country Party. The Liberals did not take his defection lying down, and the electorate became a battleground between the two parties throughout the 1970s. Only with Houghton’s mid-term retirement in 1979 did the seat return to the Liberal fold, the ensuing by-election being won by Terry White. White became leader of the party in August 1983 at the head of the disastrous anti-Joh rebellion which cost most of his colleagues their seats at the election held two months later. He eventually lost the seat when it fell to Labor in 1989, and now lends his name to a national chain of pharmacies.
The incoming Labor member, Ray Hollis, retained the seat on uncomfortable margins in 1995 and 1998 before picking up a 13.7 per cent swing with the 2001 landslide, but he was nearly brought back to earth in 2004 when Liberal candidate Terry Rogers picked up a 10.5 per cent swing. Rogers was rewarded for his performance with an uncontested preselection when Hollis retired mid-term in July 2005, which along with Terry Mackenroth’s departure initiated the twin by-elections of Redcliffe and Chatsworth the following month. Both were won by the Liberals, with Rogers securing a 1.2 per cent margin after an 8.3 per cent two-party swing. As with Michael Caltabiano in Chatsworth, Rogers’ parliamentary career did not survive beyond the end of the term: Labor’s defeated by-election candidate, Lillian van Litsenburg, prevailed on her second attempt at the September 2006 election with a 5.4 per cent margin that represented a 6.6 per cent swing to Labor compared with the by-election, and a 1.7 per cent swing to the Liberals compared with the 2004 election.
Lillian van Litsenburg is a former school teacher and Redcliffe councillor associated with the Labor Forum faction. The LNP candidate is Scott Driscoll, national president of the United Retail Foundation.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.