Electorate analysis: Sunnybank was created at the 2009 election as the successor to abolished Mount Gravatt, from which it took 48 per cent of its voters (in Sunnybank, Robertson and Runcorn in the electorate’s south). The remainder came from four different electorates: Algester (7300 voters at Acacia Ridge in the south-west, providing Labor’s greatest source of strength in the electorate), Stretton (3000 voters at Sunnybank South in the south-east), Yeerongpilly (3100 voters at Archerfield and Coopers Plains in the north-west) and Mansfield (1600 voters at Macgregor in the east). Sunnybank previously existed as an electorate between 1992 until 2001, at which point most of its area was absorbed within Stretton. Stephen Robertson held Sunnybank for Labor throughout this period, and was thereafter member for Stretton.
Mount Gravatt had been held by Labor from its creation in 1950 until 1957, then by the Liberals until 1983, the Nationals until 1989, and thereafter by Labor’s Judy Spence. Judy Spence served as a minister in the period when the Goss government maintained a shaky hold on power between the 1995 election and the 1996 Mundingburra by-election defeat, and remained on the front bench in both opposition and government until she was demoted to parliamentary secretary after the 2009 election. According to the Courier-Mail, this amounted to the settling of “an eight-year-old factional score” relating to her defection from the Left to Labor Unity to save her position in the ministry in 2001, with earlier suggestions the Left would seek revenge by stymieing her bid to move from Mount Gravatt to Sunnybank in 2009. In 2010 she announced she would not seek another term, and made an unfulfilled threat to initiate a by-election by retiring mid-term.
The new Labor candidate is school teacher Megan Bishop, who prevailed in a preselection contest which formed another round in the long-running rivalry between Bligh and Spence. Bishop had the backing of Anna Bligh and the Left, and faced down a rival contender in Adam Obeid, a colleague of Spence in Labor Unity. The LNP candidate is Mark Stewart, described on the party website as “a marketing and sales manager for a privately owned leading-edge signage company in Brisbane”.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.