Margin: Nationals 14.2%
Location: Southern Outback, Queensland
In a nutshell: Once upon a time, in the heyday of the Australian Workers Union’s hegemony over Queensland politics, the outback electorate of Maranoa was a stronghold for the Australian Labor Party. Those days having long since vanished into history, Bruce Scott has held the seat for the Nationals on extremely comfortable margins since he entered parliament in 1990.
Maranoa covers the south of Queensland from Dalby west of Toowoomba out to the Northern Territory and South Australian borders. In keeping with the ongoing relative decline of population in remote areas, the redistribution has expanded it still further, absorbing the western half of Flynn (the local government areas of Barcaldine, Blackall Tambo, Longreach and Winton) and its 7200 voters. This returns to the electorate areas which it had included prior to the 2007 election, at which Flynn was created, and increases its share of the state’s area from 31.5 per cent to 41.8 per cent.
Maranoa has existed since federation, originally occupying a much smaller area of the state’s corner around Charleville and Dalby. A Labor stronghold at first, it fell to the newly founded Country Party in 1921 and has stayed with them for all but one term since. Bruce Scott had no trouble seeing off a Liberal candidate when he replaced the retiring Ian Cameron in 1990. After promising much, One Nation polled a fairly modest 15.1 per cent in 1998. Scott served as a shadow minister from April 1992 and as Veterans Affairs Minister in the first two terms of the Howard government. He was dropped after the 2001 election after a weak electoral performance by the Nationals reduced their share of the spoils.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Read Bowe’s blog, The Poll Bludger.