Margin: Labor 4.4%
Region: Southern Brisbane
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Electorate analysis: Mansfield covers suburbs on either side of the Gateway Motoray about 10 kilometres south-east of central Brisbane, including Mount Gravatt to the west and Rochedale to the east, and further extends to semi-rural areas in the east around Burbank. It has had a remarkable record as a litmus test seat since its creation in 1972: held at first by the Liberals, Joh’s Nationals won it as part of their 1983 triumph and held it until it fell in the Labor sweep of 1989. After the Liberals won it with a 9.3 per cent swing at the 1995 election which ultimately led to the Labor government’s downfall, it was narrowly recovered by Labor when they came to power as a minority government in 1998, became secure for them in the Beattie landslides of 2001, 2004 and 2006, and returned to marginal territory after a 4.0 per cent swing in 2009.
The member since 1998 has been Phil Reeves, who endured a court challenge against his 80-vote victory in 1998 at which Labor’s capacity to form a government was at stake. Reeves was a sports management and marketing consultant before entering politics, and is associated with the Left faction Liquor Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union. He eventually won promotion to parliamentary secretary after Peter Beattie’s resignation in September 2007, and thence to cabinet as Child Safety and Sport Minister after the 2009 election. His LNP opponent is Norton Rose law firm partner Ian Walker, who was included in an Australian Financial Review’s best lawyers list in 2010. Campbell Newman caused a stir within the party when he nominated Walker ahead of any member currently in parliament as a potential leadership contender in the event that he failed to win Ashgrove.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.