To most parties and politicians, 'redistribution' is a dirty word. So how will the recent redrawing of QLD electoral boundaries impact the next Federal Election?
Queensland: Beautiful one day; a political battlefield the next.
Queenslanders will have the privilege (or punishment) of going to the polls twice in the next two years. Once for a state election and then again at the federal election. Both are likely to be fiercely contested, which brings the recent redistribution of federal Queensland electorates into sharp relief.
It's the first redrawing of federal electoral boundaries in Queensland in fifty years, but those expecting radical reconstructive surgery will be disappointed. Only a slight nip and tuck took place. And yet some of these touch ups could still have an impact on the election result.
Dickson has been held by the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, the Hon. Peter Dutton since 2001, the first to ever hold the seat for more than one term, and is a 'must hold' seat for the LNP.
While the LNP's proposal for a redistribution would have boosted Dutton's margin from 1.6% to 2.9%, the Australian Electoral Commission only accepted some of the LNP's proposal, increasing the margin to 2.0%. While this might not seem like much, in a tight election it could be the difference between holding or losing the seat, especially when you consider Dutton won the seat in 2007 by just 900 votes.
Also in good news for the LNP, the margin in the seat of Brisbane, once a long-held Labor seat, has been boosted from 5.9% to 6.1%.
It's not so good news for the LNP in the seat of Fisher, with the margin declining from 9.1% to 8.9%. This is still a healthy margin and the seat should be retained by the LNP.
Moreton has always been a marginal seat no matter who holds its. It was held by the Coalition for many years under the Howard Government, however it was taken by Labor in 2007 and the local Member has had a tenuous grip on the seat ever since. It's a perennial target for the LNP and will be so at the next election, which is why Labor will be pleased that the AEC has increased the margin from 4.0% to 4.2% as a result of the boundary redraw.
Unfortunately for Labor, since Kevin Rudd's departure from politics, the seat of Griffith has become very marginal and the redistribution of boundaries makes it even more so. Griffith falls from 1.6% to 1.2% and will be a key target for the LNP at the next election.
The seat of Lilley has always been a target for the LNP, however they haven't held it since it returned to Labor in 1998. This redistribution has strengthened the seat for Labor, taking the margin from 5.3% to 5.9%.
Labor has taken a small hit in the seat of Blair with the redistribution reducing the margin from 8.9% to 8.5%. This was once a solid 'hold' seat for the LNP, however Labor has been able to lock it in as a safe seat and this reduction in margin is unlikely to see the seat return to the LNP.
At a macro level the redistribution was a bit of a non-event with small changes to mainly safe and semi-safe seats. Both the LNP and Labor also had marginal seats strengthened slightly.
However, with only a handful of seats needed to secure government for both Labor and the LNP, the changes will have an impact and do slightly favour the LNP.
The LNP has had one of their critical seats strengthened in Dickson, while Labor has had a bite taken out of one of its most marginal seats in Griffith.
With a basket full of marginal seats across the State, there is no doubt that the result in Queensland this month has the capacity to determine who will win government at the next federal election.
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