Margin: Liberal National 0.1%
Region: Redlands Shire
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Electorate analysis: One of eight seats gained from Labor by the LNP at the 2009 election, Redlands covers coastal suburbs approximately 30 kilometres south-east of central Brisbane, from Thornlands south to the Logan River on the mainland and out to Perulpa Island and Russell Island. Labor won the seat upon its creation in 1972 but it fell to the National/Country Party in the 1974 landslide, remaining with them until Darryl Briskey finally won it back for Labor in 1989. Briskey moved to the new electorate of Cleveland at the 1992 election, at which John Budd retained Redlands for Labor. A 9.9 per cent swing in 1995 delivered it to John Hegarty of the National Party, who held on narrowly in 1998 before inevitably being swept out by the tide in 2001.
The successful Labor candidate was police officer John English, installed as candidate by Peter Beattie as one of five clean-skin candidates without reference to a preselection ballot after the party’s original choice, John Budd, was disendorsed due to a police investigation into misappropriation of party funds, for which he received a suspended sentence in 2002. The Nationals dubiously won the right to contest the seat at both the 2004 and 2006 elections, and on both occasions the seat swung to Labor by a further 1.6 per cent. It finally returned to the conservative fold in 2009 when a 6.8 per cent swing delivered a 34-vote victory to LNP candidate Peter Dowling, a Redlands councillor and former deputy mayor.
Dowling was promoted to parliamentary secretary for planning in the November 2010 reshuffle, and in response to the floods the following January his position was expanded to Shadow Minister for Flood Recovery. However, he was demoted to parliamentary secretary for reconstruction in the reshuffle that followed Campbell Newman’s assumption of the leadership in April 2011.
Analysis written by William Bowe. Please direct corrections or comments to pollbludger-AT-crikey.com.au. Read William’s blog, The Poll Bludger.