The Bellwether seat of Petrie in focus for Federal Election 2016 (In Order of the Ballot paper)

Petrie (Key Seat)

Brisbane Northern Suburbs

Marginal LNP 0.5%


Luke Howarth (LNP) since 2013.


Petrie lies mostly to the east of the Bruce Highway in the north of Brisbane, extending from the northern suburbs of Brisbane City Council through to the Redcliffe peninsula and Deception Bay. In Brisbane it includes Bracken Ridge, Bald Hills, Fitzgibbon, Carseldine and parts of Aspley and Bridgeman Downs. It includes Scarborough, Redcliffe, Clontarf and all the suburbs on the Redcliffe Peninsula, plus the newer housing estates of Deception Bay and Mango Hill to the west. Covers 152 square kilometres. 


First created when the Parliament was expanded in 1949, the electorate of Petrie is named after Andrew Petrie, the first free settler in the then Moreton Bay penal colony. Former members include Liberals Alan Hulme (1949-61, 1963-72) and John Hodges (1974-83, 1984-87).

Petrie has been won by the party that formed government at every election since 1987. It was gained by Labor's Gary Johns in 1987 on the back of the abortive 'Joh for Canberra' campaign by the National Party. Johns retained the seat until swept away by a 10% swing on the defeat of the Keating government in 1996. The Liberal Party's Teresa Gambaro then held Petrie until defeated by Yvette D'Ath at the 2007 election. D'Ath was re-elected in 2010, an election at which Gambaro returned to Parliament by winning the inner-city seat of Brisbane.

D'Ath could not withstand the anti-Labor swing in 2013 as the LNP's Luke Howarth continued the Petrie tradition of being won by government. Former member D'Ath was elected to the Queensland Parliament at the February 2014 Redcliffe by-election and is currently Queensland Attorney General.

The Candidates:

Catherine Buckley (Liberal Democrats)

National & State Links:

Party Website.

Candidate Profile:

Catherine is a tender writer for a passenger transportation company, with a B2B focus on the mining and resources industry. She believes that governments at all levels are becoming addicted to over-spending taxpayers' contributions for political gain, resulting in welfare churn and crony capitalism.

Candidate Profile on Party Website.

Luke Howarth (LNP)

National and State Links:

Liberal Party of Australia Website, Liberal Party of Australia Wikipedia Entry,

Liberal Party of Australia Facebook site , LNP Website, LNP Twitter account, LNP Facebook , LNP Wikipedia Entry,

LNP All Federal Canidates

Candidate Profile:

44 year-old Howarth is a small businessman who has lived in the local area all of his life. He runs a family pest control business with his wife and contested the local state seat of Sandgate at the 2004 Queensland election. Howarth. As a teenager he represented Queensland at judo and still coaches the sport at Redcliffe PCYC. He was elected to the House of Representatives for Petrie in 2013

Facebook site

Parliamentary Website

Personal website



Jacqui Pedersen (Labor)

National & State Links:

Australia Labor Party Website, Australian Labor Party Wikipedia Entry,Australian Labor Party Facebook ,

Queensland Labor Party WebsiteQueensland Labor Party Wikipedia Entry, Queensland Labor Party Facebook,

Queensland Labor Party Twitter,

Candidate Profile:

Pedersen grew up in Redcliffe. She currently works in the community service sector and lives in Brighton.

Facebook site

Mark A White (Family First)

 National & State Links:

Party Website

Candidate Profile:


Sue Weber (Greens)

National & State Links:

Greens Party Federal Website, Greens Party Federal Wikipedia Entry, Greens Party Federal Facebook,

Greens Party Queensland Website, Greens Party Queensland Wikipedia Entry, Greens Party Queensland Facebook

Candidate Profile:

Weber worked for over 25 years as a barrister in criminal, family and commercial law, breaking gender barrier on the way. She trained as a mediator at Bond University and went on to become a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. Weber continues to practice as a mediator while campaigning to end live animal exports.

Candidate Profile on Party Website

Facebook site

Andrew Charles Tyrrell (The Arts Party)

National & State Links:

Party Website

Candidate Profile:


The Division of Petrie is an Australian Electoral Division in Queensland. The division was created in 1949 and named after Andrew Petrie (1798–1872), a noted civil engineer, pioneer, and explorer, and the first free settler in Brisbane (1837).

The electorate has a higher-than-average percentage of pensioners and self-funded retirees, and is mainly residential, with some light industrial and commercial activities.

Originally a safe Liberal seat, it has become much more marginal since the late 1970s. Since 1975, it has been held by the party of government for all but one term.


Petrie is located in the northern suburbs of Brisbane, and since a redistribution ahead of the 2010 Federal Election has been centred on the Redcliffe Peninsula.

In the Moreton Bay Region, it includes Clontarf, Kippa-Ring, Margate, Redcliffe, Rothwell, Deception Bay, Scarborough, Woody Point, North Lakes, Mango Hill, Griffin and part of Burpengary.

In the City of Brisbane, it includes Bald Hills, Bracken Ridge, Carseldine and Fitzgibbon, and parts of Aspley and Bridgeman Downs.


Created 1949
MP Luke Howarth
Party Liberal National
Namesake Andrew Petrie
Electors 92,973 (2013)
Area 152 km2 (58.7 sq mi)
Demographic Outer Metropolitan



Member Party Term
  Alan Hulme Liberal 1949–1961
  Reginald O'Brien Labor 1961–1963
  (Sir) Alan Hulme Liberal 1963–1972
  Marshall Cooke Liberal 1972–1974
  John Hodges Liberal 1974–1983
  Deane Wells Labor 1983–1984
  John Hodges Liberal 1984–1987
  Gary Johns Labor 1987–1996
  Teresa Gambaro Liberal 1996–2007
  Yvette D'Ath Labor 2007–2013
  Luke Howarth Liberal National 2013–present
Current, boundary gazetted 15 December 2009
AEC Divisional Office:
Divisional Office contact details
Maps & GIS data:
A4 map of the Division of Petrie (2009) [PDF 439KB]
Map of the Division of Petrie (2009) [PDF 1.1MB]
Download GIS data
Name derivation:
Named after Andrew Petrie (1798–1872), a noted civil engineer, pioneer, explorer and the first free settler in Brisbane 1837.
Area and Location Description:
Petrie covers an area of approximately 152 sq km to the north east of Brisbane. From the northern Brisbane suburbs, east of the Bruce Highway and north to Burpengary Creek. The area includes Redcliffe on Moreton Bay. It takes in parts of the local government areas of Brisbane City and part of Moreton Bay Regional Council. The main suburbs of the City of Brisbane include: Bald Hills, Bracken Ridge, Carseldine, Fitzgibbon and parts of Aspley and Bridgeman Downs. The localities in the Moreton Bay Regional Council include Clontarf, Deception Bay, Griffin, Kippa-Ring, Mango Hill, Margate, Newport, North Lakes, Redcliffe, Rothwell, Scarborough, Woody Point and part of Burpengary.
Products/industries of the area:
The area is mainly residential with some light industrial and commercial activities.
First proclaimed/election:
Demographic rating:
Outer Metropolitan
Howarth, L (LNQ) 2013–
D'Ath, Y (ALP) 2007–2013
Gambaro, T (LP) 1996–2007
Johns, G T (ALP) 1987–1996
Hodges, J C (LP) 1984–1987
Wells, D M (ALP) 1983–1984
Hodges, J C (LP) 1974–1983
Cooke, N M (LP) 1972–1974
Hulme, A S (LP) 1963–1972
O'Brien, R C (ALP) 1961–1963
Hulme, A S (LP) 1949–1961
Current member details:
Please refer to the Parliament of Australia website
Further information:
2013 federal election – House of Representatives results for Petrie
2010 federal election – House of Representatives results for Petrie
2007 federal election – House of Representatives results for Petrie
2004 federal election – House of Representatives results for Petrie
2013 divisional profile
For supporting information, see Party codes, demographic ratings and seat status.
Australian federal election, 2013: Petrie
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
  Liberal National Luke Howarth 33,570 40.65 +0.59
  Labor Yvette D'Ath 32,630 39.52 −3.27
  Palmer United Thor Prohaska 8,422 10.20 +10.20
  Greens John Marshall 3,729 4.52 −4.58
  Family First Tasman Spence 1,774 2.15 −2.86
  Katter's Australian Chris Thomson 1,336 1.62 +1.62
  Rise Up Australia Elise Jennings 920 1.11 +1.11
  CEC Geoff Cornell 192 0.23 +0.23
Total formal votes 82,573 94.80 +0.08
Informal votes 4,530 5.20 −0.08
Turnout 87,103 93.69 +0.65
Two-party-preferred result
  Liberal National Luke Howarth 41,722 50.53 +3.04
  Labor Yvette D'Ath 40,851 49.47 −3.04
  Liberal National gain from Labor Swing +3.04  


Federal Election 2016, both sides of politics will be scrambling to ensure they have the best chance of winning and nothing is more important to either side of politics to Bellwether seats.

So just what are Bellwether seats and how important are they ?

The definition of a Bellwether  is one that leads or indicates trends.

The term is derived from the Middle English bellewether and refers to the practice of placing a bell around the neck of a castrated ram (a wether) leading his flock of sheep. The movements of the flock could be noted by hearing the bell before the flock was in sight.

Today in politics the term Bellwether is a term is more often applied in the passive sense to describe a geographic region where political tendencies match in microcosm those of a wider area, such that the result of an election in the former region might predict the eventual result in the latter. In a Westminster-style election, for example, a constituency, the control of which tends frequently to change, can mirror in its popular vote the result on a national scale.

In Australian federal elections, the electoral division of Eden-Monaro in New South Wales has elected its Member of Parliament from the party which won government at every federal election since 1972. The Division of Robertson in NSW has voted for the party winning government at every federal election since 1983. The Division of Lindsay in NSW, has elected its Member of Parliament from the party which won government in every Federal election since its creation in 1984. It is the only existing division in the country to have such a bellwether title.

The Division of Makin in South Australia was a bellwether division from 1984 until 2010, although ceased its bellwether record in 2013, when Makin stayed Labor as the Coalition regained power nationwide. Also, in terms of nationwide two party preferred vote, Eden-Monaro, Lindsay, Robertson and Makin have bucked the bellwether trend in the past by voting Liberal at the 1998 federal election. In purely statistical terms, the state of New South Wales, which has the largest population of any Australian state or territory, could also be considered a "bellwether", as the party which wins government has won the majority of House of Representatives seats in that state at every election since 1963.

Unlike many bellwethers, these are cited by analysts solely for their record and are not usually attributed to demographic factors that reflect the median of Australia.

In Queensland one seat that is also considered a Bellwether is the Federal Seat of Petrie, Since 1996, as governments have fallen, so has Petrie. That year, when John Howard became prime minister, the LNP’s Teresa Gambaro seized the seat. She lost to Labor’s Yvette D’Ath in 2007, on the back of Kevin Rudd’s win. Mr Howarth defeated Ms D’Ath in 2013, mirroring Tony Abbott’s ­defeat of Mr Rudd.

The Division of Petrie is an Australian Electoral Division in Queensland. The division was created in 1949 and named after Andrew Petrie (1798–1872), a noted civil engineer, pioneer, and explorer, and the first free settler in Brisbane (1837).

The electorate has a higher-than-average percentage of pensioners and self-funded retirees, and is mainly residential, with some light industrial and commercial activities.

Originally a safe Liberal seat, it has become much more marginal since the late 1970s. Since 1975, it has been held by the party of government for all but one term.

Not only is it notionally the Coalition’s most marginal electorate — held by Liberal National Party backbencher and former pest-control business owner Luke Howarth on 0.53 per cent — it is also something of a bellwether.

Bill Shorten has the seat of Petrie, north of Brisbane, firmly in his sights.

It was not surprising, then, when Mr Shorten popped up at a pathology lab in the suburb of North Lakes recently, the second time he has swung through Petrie in less than a month.

Flanked by Labor candidate Jacqui Pedersen, a community ­development officer for the local council, Mr Shorten seized on Malcolm Turnbull’s lack of recent visits to Queensland as proof he was taking the state “for granted”.

“The issues in Petrie need ­attention which only a Labor ­government can give them,” Mr Shorten said. “From properly funded infrastructure, making sure the medical care of people in Petrie is first-class, (to) making sure the schools are first-class ...

“Also, we want to make sure the Australian dream for parents and kids trying to buy into the housing market for the first time is one which is a reality rather than ­proffering taxpayer subsidies to property speculators.”

It is that final point — Labor’s plan to restrict negative gearing — that Mr Shorten hopes will resonate strongly in Petrie, particularly in working-class areas such as Redcliffe and Deception Bay, in the Moreton Bay region, and the northern Brisbane suburbs of Bald Hills and Bracken Ridge.

And, as he mentions whenever he visits the state, Mr Shorten’s wife Chloe is a Queenslander, an ex-journalist and the daughter of former governor-general Quentin Bryce. Yesterday, Ms Shorten also campaigned, visiting a Sunnybank special school in Moreton, one of Labor’s most marginal seats held by Graham Perrett by 1.6 per cent.

On May 9 making Queensland the first destination for both leaders in the election 2016 making the state and its marginal seats a key battleground.  The first to make a door stop was Malcolm Turnbull right after first visiting Brisbane City.  Recently  more than 250 people crowded the Bracken Ridge Tavern’s Phoenix Bar to join Federal MP for Petrie Luke Howarth and Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull at a Politics in the Pub event.

Some of the topics covered were the government’s action on climate change, taxation, perceived bias in the ABC, telecommunication coverage, Australia Post, metadata, higher education and fuel security.

Luke Howarth MP said a few locals also raised the issue of slow internet speeds.

“Several people drew the Minister’s attention to the lack of ports available in some areas of Bracken Ridge and Bald Hills,” Mr Howarth said.

“The Minister’s office handled these enquires directly and Telstra has been in touch with each person.”

Mr Howarth said the NBN’s fibre network now passes 667,000 premises, up from 261,000 premises as of the election.  Its fixed wireless network now passes 169,000 premises, up from 39,000 as of the election.

Mr Turnbull reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to finishing the NBN project sooner, at less cost to taxpayers and more affordably for consumers.

Meanwhile, Mr Howarth told his more than 5000 Facebook followers yesterday that the state Labor government had caved to his year-long campaign for an upgrade of a major roundabout. He also pressed the flesh in the suburb of Griffin, meeting young people working for the Coalition’s Green Army environmental initiative.

It should be noted Malcolm Turnbull has been to Petrie twice in the last 3 months.

With The demographic in Petrie which  has lots of unemployed and low income voters and they tend to vote left. The swing will not require large numbers to go to Labor. However one redeeming feature by many is that Howarth has been a good member for the seat and this may be one thing that tips him over the line.

This is precisely why Bellwether seats are watched keenly by political commentators on election night and Petrie will be one of those seats.

Sources : Antony Greens Blog Luke Howarth MP site and The Australian

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