Peter Dutton’s seat of Dickson is one of ‘Ten Seats to Watch’ highlighted by Professor Anne Tiernan on The Machinery of Government.
Eight of the Queensland seats identified are currently held by the Coalition by margins ranging from 0.5% to 7.6%.
Mr Dutton, the Immigration Minister, is on a 6.7% margin in a seat he has held since 2001.
“He is in for a contest from former Queensland Attorney-General Linda Lavarch — a former member for the state seat of Kurwongbah who enjoys a loyal local following,” Professor Tiernan, Director of the Policy Innovation Hub at Griffith Business School, said.
“ALP strategists think Dickson is a long-shot, but note that if the swing is on, Dutton offers little by way of a ‘candidate buffer’.”
- Check out: Ten Seats to Watch
Professor Tiernan suggested Minister Dutton may have been vulnerable after a number of gaffes during Tony Abbott’s prime ministership and his intransigent hard-line on asylum-seekers in off-shore detention.
This sense of vulnerability may have intensified in the wake of comments made to Sky News suggesting ‘illiterate and innumerate’ refugees would take Australian jobs.
“Why these ten seats when others are arguably on closer margins?” Professor Tiernan said.
“Our logic is this: Labor suffered a major electoral setback in the 2010 and 2013 federal polls.
“At just 29.77% in Queensland, its primary vote was the lowest achieved in a state that despite laying claim to being the party’s birthplace has seldom enjoyed great electoral success.
Whether or not it gets close to the 19 seats it needs to secure a majority, Labor’s Queensland vote will improve in 2016.”
- FIND OUT MORE: Read Professor Anne Tiernan’s latest blog on The Machinery of Government.