The four electorates which encompass the Darling Downs and South West Queensland are among the Liberal National Party’s strongest seats in the state. So strong is the LNP’s foothold to the north and the west of Toowoomba, that a 10 percent swing would be required to topple the party in it’s most at-risk electorate in the region, Warrego. But the year is 2020 and, as we’ve seen, stranger things have happened. Australia is in economic recession, Queensland has as an unemployment rate above 7 percent and the state’s debt has been the worst in the nation since before the pandemic. The fallout of the pandemic has polarised opinion of how Queensland’s economic and social challenges should be managed, and thus the election will inevitably produce some interesting results. Polling opens on Monday, October 19, ahead of election day on Saturday, October 31. To assist in deciding which candidates to vote for in the seats of Callide, Condamine, Southern Downs and Warrego, the Country Caller is publishing an electorate and candidate profile for each seat. Map images have been supplied by the Electoral Commission Queensland. Visit the ECQ website for more information about the election, including polling booth locations.
See the Caller‘s election guide for the seat of Callide here.
See the Caller‘s election guide for the seat of Southern Downs here.
Harry Clarke, Editor
SITTING MP: Pat Weir
PARTY: Liberal National Party
BACKGROUND: Named after Thomas de la Condamine, aide-de-camp to Governor Ralph Darling, this electorate captures western parts of the Lockyer Valley, the highlands around Crows Nest and the floodplains west towards Dalby. While it doesn’t include much of the city itself, the seat wraps around Toowoomba and most of it is governed at a local level by the Toowoomba Regional Council. In the 2017 election LNP recorded two-party preferred majorities at all 38 polling booths, four of which recorded majorities of higher than 70 percent.
2017 ELECTION RESULTS:
CONDAMINE 2020 CANDIDATES:
*Candidates are listed in alphabetical order by surname.
UAP – Nui Harris
As managing director of Waratah Coal, Nui Harris is an employee of the United Australia Party founder, mining magnate Clive Palmer. Mr Harris was educated at North Mackay State High School and obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science from the Queensland University of Technology. His LinkedIn page says he has bee employed by Waratah Coal, a subsidiary of Mineralogy and Queensland Nickle, since 2011.
ALP – Brendan Huybregts
Mr Huybregts’s Facebook page indicates he lives in Toowoomba. He also ran as Labor’s candidate for Condamine in the 2017 election and gained the third highest primary vote with 18%. He lists education as one of the political issues he’s most passionate about, and points out that that the Palaszczuck Government has promised to spend $62 million on improving school facilities in the Darling Downs and South West, if the party is re-elected.
ONP – Greg Priebe
Advocating for the approval of Stage 3 of New Hope’s Acland Coal Mine would be one of Greg Priebe’s main aims if he’s elected. The controversial mine sits right on the Oakey resident’s doorstep. Mr Priebe’s background is in agribusiness and education, and he says what he perceives as a lack of support for agriculture was his main motivation for running on the One Nation ticket. A father of three, Mr Priebe says his roots in the Condamine electorate date back to 1864 when his great-great-grandfather settled in the area.
LNP – Pat Weir MP
Now vying for a third term as Member for Condamine, Pat Weir was previously the LNP’s South West Regional Chair. He has lived his whole life on the Darling Downs, growing up on the family property ‘Donegal’ near Cecil Plains, a grain and cotton farm. During his time as a Member of Parliament, Mr Weir has been a member of the Parliamentary Finance and Administration Committee and is also deputy chair of the Agriculture and Environment Committee.
GNS – Sean Womersley
Despite repeated attempts by the Caller to contact The Greens media representatives to obtain profile information on Mr Womersely, no response was received. Mr Womersley ran for the division of Macgregor in 2020 Brisbane City Council elections, which led to a 0.3% swing against the party.