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Mar 7, 2013

Poll Bludger’s seat of the week: Labor heartland Capricornia

The central Queensland electorate of Capricornia has existed since Federation, with Rockhampton as its constant as boundaries shifted over the years. It currently has Rockhampton at its

William Bowe — Editor of The Poll Bludger

William Bowe

Editor of The Poll Bludger

The central Queensland electorate of Capricornia has existed since Federation, with Rockhampton as its constant as boundaries shifted over the years. It currently has Rockhampton at its southern coastal end, from which it extends northwards to the southern outskirts of Mackay and westwards through farming and coal mining communities as far as Belyando, 250 kilometres inland. Rockhampton has kept the seat strong for Labor for most of its history, the party’s only defeats after 1961 coming with the demise of the Whitlam and Keating governments in 1975 and 1996 (the margin on the former occasion being 136 votes).

The proverbial baseball bat having been wielded in 1996, the seat was recovered for Labor in 1998 by Kirsten Livermore, member of the "soft Left" tendency associated with Martin and Laurie Ferguson. Livermore picked up an 8.8% swing on her debut and retained the seat with reasonably comfortable margins thereafter, until an 8.7% swing in 2007 boosted it to very safe territory. Then came a 0.7% redistribution adjustment followed by an 8.4% swing amid the Queensland backlash of 2010, which reined it back to 3.7%. In December 2012 she announced she would not seek another term, as she wished to spend more time with her family.

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