The Moreton electorate is south of Brisbane. Source AEC.
Queensland's most multicultural electorate is again shaping as a key marginal seat in the battleground for sitting ALP member Graham Perrett and high profile LNP candidate Nic Monsour.
Moreton is traditionally a marginal seat in Brisbane’s south. Labor’s Graham Perrett has won the seat of Moreton on preferences since 2007. He has traditionally campaigned on platforms of health and education. However, in this election transport is shaping as a major issue. Labor has challenged the Government to match its $168 million upgrade to alleviate congestion on the M1 at Eight Mile Plains. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has provided no exact figure but has said this project is a priority.
The electorate is Queensland’s most multicultural electorate with 37.2 percent of the population born overseas. It has Queensland’s lowest Christian population (55.1 percent) and the highest proportion of residents of Islamic faith (3.6 percent). It has Queensland’s highest population of people who have come from non-English speaking countries (28.6 percent) and the highest percentage of residents that do not speak English at home (31.5 percent).
The diverse electorate includes some of Brisbane's culturally significant suburbs. Sunnybank has a large Asian population (37.3 percent) and is known for its many Asian restaurants and shops. Moorooka also has a migrant population, with a significant proportion of African residents. Local shops, entertainment and restaurants reflect this cultural influence.The median age of Moreton’s population is 33.7 years and the median weekly household income is $1381. The households of Moreton represent almost an even split of renters (33 percent), mortgage holders (32.7 percent) and outright owners (31.3 percent). The majority of the population in Moreton work as professionals (28.1 percent), followed by clerical and administration workers (15.3 percent). 6.6 percent of the working-age population are unemployed.
Moreton is an inner metropolitan seat. The electorate follows the south bank of the Brisbane River, winding from Fairfield to Oxley and extending in the south as far as Runcorn and Kuraby. The electorate previously covered suburbs on the other side of Compton and Beaudesert roads, but since a redistribution in 2009 the boundary stops after Sunnybank Hills, Acacia Ridge and Willawong. In the east the Pacific Motorway works as a boundary for the electorate, running from Nathan to Eight Mile Plains. The area is made up of mostly mixed-dwelling residential areas, but also includes some significant industrial sites.
The Moreton electorate has existed since Federation and has had six members since 1922. For most of Moreton’s history it has been a conservative seat. From 1906 to 1990 the seat belonged to the Liberal Party and its predecessors. Moreton was a bellwether seat from 1990 to 2013. Perrett ended this trend when he was re-elected at the 2013 election.
In 1901 at the first federal election, James Wilkinson was elected as an Independent Labor member and he later joined the Australian Labor Party. He was one of the founding fathers of Queensland’s Labour Movement and a prominent writer and speaker in the region. He lost his seat at the 1906 election due largely to an electoral redistribution. Moreton was held by conservative MPs for the next eight decades.
A notable Liberal Party minister during this period was James Killen. Killen won Moreton at the 1955 federal election. He went onto hold the seat for the next 29 years.The federal election in 1961, which saw the re-election of the Menzies Government, gave Killen the smallest winning margin of any seat in the country. Killen was on the right of the Liberal Party and the narrow victory at the 1961 election is said to be because of Communist party preferences detracting away from the Labor candidate. In 1982 after a reshuffle in the Fraser government, Killen lost his defence portfolio and was moved to a more junior role. He retired in 1983 - triggering a by-election - after the Fraser Government was defeated.
At the 1990 election, Labor candidate Garrie Gibson won the seat of Moreton, ending its 84 years of conservative leadership. Gibson lost the seat in 1996 to Liberal candidate Gary Hardgrave. In 2007 Hardgrave was axed from his position as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister and moved to the backbench. He later lost the seat of Moreton to Perrett.
Perret has been the member for Moreton since 2007. Despite Labor’s loss of office at the 2013 federal election, Perrett held onto his seat with a 0.4-percent swing in his favour. In July 2014 Perrett was promoted to the position of Shadow Parliamentary Secretary to the Attorney General.