Margin: Labor 12.0%
Location: Rockhampton/Central Regional, Queensland
In a nutshell: Capricornia is dominated by the Labor stronghold of Rockhampton, and has accordingly been lost to the party only in the great Queensland wipeouts of 1975 and 1996. Kirsten Livermore recovered it for Labor in 1998 and has held it ever since.
Capricornia has existed since federation, Rockhampton being its constant as boundaries shifted over the years. It currently has Rockhampton at its southern coastal end, from which it extends north to southern outskirts of Mackay, extending inland through farming and coal mining communities as far as Belyondo 250 kilometres inland. The redistribution has added 4300 voters west of Mackay from Dawson and removed 8,200 voters in an area around Mount Morgan, which previously formed a salient into Flynn south of Rockhampton. This has reduced the Labor margin slightly, from 12.7 per cent to 12.0 per cent. Capricornia has historically leaned towards Labor, whose only defeats after 1961 came with the demise of the Whitlam and Keating governments in 1975 and 1996 (the margin on the former occasion being 136 votes). The baseball bat having been wielded, Kirsten Livermore recovered the seat for Labor in 1998 with a thumping 8.8 per cent swing. She held the seat throughout the years with comfortable margins, until the 2007 swing (8.7 per cent) boosted it to very safe territory. A member of the “soft Left” tendency associated with Martin and Laurie Ferguson, Livermore held parliamentary secretary positions from 2001 to 2007, but was dropped when Labor won government.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read Bowe’s blog, The Poll Bludger.