Division of Capricornia

The Division of Capricornia is an Australian Electoral Division in Queensland. The division was one of the original 65 divisions contested at the first federal election. It is named after the Tropic of Capricorn, which runs through the Division. It is located on the central Queensland coast and its centre has always been the city of Rockhampton. On its current boundaries it also includes the town of Yeppoon and Ooralea, a southern suburb of Mackay.

The first election saw Alexander Paterson, with 51% of votes, narrowly elected over the ALP candidate Wallace Nelson. For most of its subsequent history it has been a fairly safe seat for the ALP. This was especially true when Gladstone was part of the seat from 1901 to 1984. Even after Gladstone was redistributed to Hinkler in 1984 (it is now part of Flynn), it remained one of the few non-metropolitan seats where Labor consistently did well. Labor held it for all but two terms from 1961 to 2013, the two exceptions being the high-tide elections of 1975 and 1996. Its best-known member was Frank Forde, who was briefly Prime Minister of Australia in 1945.

Capricornia is currently held by Michelle Landry for the Liberal National Party who in 2016, became the first reelected conservative MP for the seat since George Pearce in 1958.

Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of CAPRICORNIA 2016
Division of Capricornia in Queensland, as of the 2016 federal election.
MPMichelle Landry
PartyLiberal National
NamesakeTropic of Capricorn
Electors98,190 (2016)
Area91,049 km2 (35,154.2 sq mi)


Member Party Term
  Alexander Paterson Independent Free Trade 1901–1903
  David Thomson Labour 1903–1906
  Edward Archer Anti-Socialist 1906–1909
  Commonwealth Liberal 1909–1910
  William Higgs Labor 1910–1920
  Independent 1920
  Nationalist 1920–1922
  Frank Forde Labor 1922–1946
  Charles Davidson Liberal 1946–1949
  George Pearce Liberal 1949–1961
  George Gray Labor 1961–1967
  Doug Everingham Labor 1967–1975
  Colin Carige National 1975–1977
  Doug Everingham Labor 1977–1984
  Keith Wright Labor 1984–1993
  Independent 1993
  Marjorie Henzell Labor 1993–1996
  Paul Marek National 1996–1998
  Kirsten Livermore Labor 1998–2013
  Michelle Landry Liberal National 2013–present

Election results

Australian federal election, 2016: Capricornia[1]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Liberal National Michelle Landry 35,310 40.05 +0.47
Labor Leisa Neaton 33,579 38.09 +1.05
Katter's Australian Laurel Carter 6,241 7.08 +1.54
Family First Lindsay Temple 4,547 5.16 +1.30
Independent Ken Murray 4,312 4.89 +4.89
Greens Kate Giamarelos 4,166 4.73 +1.30
Total formal votes 88,155 96.45 +1.60
Informal votes 3,242 3.55 −1.60
Turnout 91,397 93.08 −1.75
Two-party-preferred result
Liberal National Michelle Landry 44,633 50.63 −0.14
Labor Leisa Neaton 43,522 49.37 +0.14
Liberal National hold Swing −0.14


  1. ^ Capricornia, QLD, Virtual Tally Room 2016, Australian Electoral Commission.

External links

Coordinates: 22°03′04″S 148°11′20″E / 22.051°S 148.189°E

Alexander Paterson (Australian politician)

Alexander Paterson (24 January 1844 – 23 March 1908) was an independent member of the Australian House of Representatives, representing the Division of Capricornia, Queensland.

Born in Greenock, Scotland, Paterson worked as a shipping manager before migrating to Australia in 1875. In Australia, Paterson was involved in business ventures in Melbourne and Queensland, gaining enough stature in Queensland to be elected to the inaugural Australian parliament.

Paterson contested the seat of Capricornia in the 1901 Federal election, winning by a margin of 139 votes over the ALP candidate Wallace Nelson.On 15 June 1901, during the first parliament of the Commonwealth, the Immigration Restriction Bill 1901 was introduced, defined as A Bill for an Act to place certain restrictions on Immigration and to provide for the removal from the Commonwealth of Prohibited Immigrants.

The wording of the bill also listed in its definitions that restrictions "means any person who is unable to write out 50 words in a European language dictated by an officer".

Paterson spoke in favour of the bill, and in particular of the 'Chinese problem'. The bill was subsequently passed, and set in motion what is popularly known as the White Australia policy, which survived until late in the 20th century.

Alexander Paterson did not contest the subsequent election, and retired from politics.


Capricornia is a term sometimes used for northern Australia, derived from the Tropic of Capricorn. It can apply to any of the items below:

Areas associated with Queensland:

Capricornia, Queensland, a region of the coast located around Rockhampton, Queensland

Division of Capricornia, an electoral district in the Australian House of Representatives based around the region

A proposed new Australian State based in northern Queensland

Capricornia (novel), a 1938 novel by Australian author Xavier Herbert, set in the Northern Territory

Capricornia (album), a 2002 album by Midnight Oil

A single from the band Allo Darlin' from their album Europe

Capricornia (trilobite), an extinct genus of trilobite

Capricornia (genus), a genus of moths

Colin Carige

Colin Lawrence Carige (19 July 1938 – 15 May 2002), Australian politician, was a member of the Australian House of Representatives from 1975 to 1977, representing the Division of Capricornia. He held the seat for the National Country Party.

Carige was born in Mount Morgan. His livelihood was earned in small business, having variously owned a restaurant, a cattle grazing property, and a construction business.

Colin Carige married his wife Gloria Carige [nee Hardy] and had three children. Julie, Lawrence and Susan. He was grandfather to four grandchildren. Daniel, Erin and Anna who were born to Julie and Jillian who was born to Lawrence.

Carige died of acute myeloid leukemia in May 2002.

In Parliament on 24 June 2002, Senator Ron Boswell alluded to his country upbringing in his speech of condolence:

"At the time of his election he sold himself to his constituents as a correspondence-educated Biloela grazier, a clearing contractor and a bulldozer driver. You do not see too many bulldozer drivers in parliament today; in fact, you do not see too many self-educated people coming into this place."

David Thomson (Labor Party politician)

David Alexander Thomson, (26 February 1856 – 30 October 1926), was an Australian politician.Thomson was a member of the Australian House of Representatives, representing the Division of Capricornia, Queensland, between 16 December 1903 until 12 December 1906. He was a member of the Australian Labor Party.

Edward Archer (politician)

Edward Walker Archer (12 December 1871 – 1 July 1940) was an Australian politician.Archer gained election to the Australian House of Representatives electoral Division of Capricornia on an Anti-Socialist platform on 12 December 1906, serving until 13 April 1910. When he was sworn in as an MP in February 1907, he chose make an affirmation rather than swear an oath, making him the first member of the House of Representatives to do so.Later, Archer switched to state politics, serving as member for the electorate of Normanby in the Legislative Assembly of Queensland between 5 March 1914 until the state election on 22 May 1915.

Electoral results for the Division of Capricornia

This is a list of electoral results for the Division of Capricornia in Australian federal elections from the division's creation in 1901 until the present.

Enith Clarke

Kathleen Eileen Doris Enith Clarke (1911–1995) was an Australian pianist, noted for achieving considerable critical success in the 1940s.

Frank Forde

Francis Michael Forde (18 July 1890 – 28 January 1983) was an Australian politician who served as Prime Minister of Australia from 6 to 13 July 1945. He held office after the death of John Curtin, and is the shortest-serving prime minister in Australia's history.

Forde was born in Mitchell, Queensland, to Irish immigrant parents. He eventually settled in Rockhampton, and was a schoolteacher and telegraphist before entering politics. Having joined the Labor Party at a young age, Forde was elected to the Queensland Legislative Assembly in 1917, aged 26. He transferred to the House of Representatives at the 1922 federal election, winning the Division of Capricornia. Forde was an assistant minister and minister in the Scullin Government from 1929 to 1932, and was largely responsible for the government's tariff policy. He entered cabinet in 1931 as Minister for Trade and Customs.

After Labor's landslide defeat at the 1931 election, Forde was elected deputy leader in place of Ted Theodore. After Scullin's retirement in 1935, he was expected to become party leader but lost to John Curtin by one vote. He returned to cabinet in 1941 as Minister for the Army in the Curtin Government, and as the de facto deputy prime minister was one of the government's most prominent figures. When John Curtin died in office in 1945, Forde was appointed prime minister to serve while the Labor Party elected a new leader. He contested the leadership ballot against Ben Chifley and Norman Makin, but Chifley emerged victorious.

Forde continued on as deputy leader and army minister in the Chifley Government, but lost his seat at the 1946 election. He then served as High Commissioner to Canada from 1947 to 1953. Forde attempted to re-enter federal parliament in 1954, but was unsuccessful. He won a state by-election in Queensland the following year – the only former prime minister to enter state parliament – but served only a single term before again being defeated. Forde died at the age of 92, and was accorded a state funeral; Gough Whitlam is the only prime minister to have lived to a greater age.

George Pearce (Queensland politician)

Henry George Pearce (born 17 September 1917) is a former Australian politician who was a member of the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1961, representing the Liberal Party in the Division of Capricornia.

Katter's Australian Party

Katter's Australian Party (KAP) is a political party in Australia. It was formed by the Independent Federal Member of Parliament, Bob Katter, with a registration application lodged to the Australian Electoral Commission in 2011. Katter has been the party's federal parliamentary leader since that time, while his son Robbie is the leader in Queensland.Bob Katter was re-elected under the party's label at the 2013 federal election, while the party also won two seats at the 2012 state election in Queensland, which it retained at the 2015 state election. It won three seats at the 2017 state election, with the election of additional MP Nick Dametto. In June 2018, Independent Senator Fraser Anning (formerly of One Nation) joined the party. He was expelled that October.

Kirsten Livermore

Kirsten Fiona Livermore (born 10 November 1969) is an Australian former politician. She was an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian House of Representatives from October 1998 until September 2013, representing the Division of Capricornia, Queensland.

Livermore was born in Mackay, Queensland, and was educated at the University of Queensland. She was a solicitor and an organiser with the Community and Public Sector Union before entering politics.On 27 November 2012, Livermore announced that she would not stand in the federal election to be held in 2013.

LGBT rights in Queensland

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Queensland have advanced significantly from the late 20th century onwards, in line with national progress on the issue. Private consensual sex between men has been legal in the state since 1991, with lesbian sexual acts never criminalised. The age of consent was equalised to 16 years for all sexual acts in 2016. Sexuality and gender identity are protected attributes under both Queensland and federal Australian anti-discrimination laws. Same-sex couples are able to marry under federal law, enter into a civil partnership under state law or live together in an unregistered de facto relationship. Same-sex couples may become parents through adoption, foster care, altruistic surrogacy and, for lesbian couples, IVF.

State anti-discrimination protections for sexuality and gender identity were introduced in 2002 and in 2017 the gay panic defence was abolished from the criminal law. Transgender and intersex Queenslanders are able to update their government records and birth certificate, with the "forced divorce" requirement abolished in 2018 and activists calling for the sexual reassignment surgery requirement to be repealed.LGBT rights have been politically polarised - the Queensland branch of the Australian Labor Party supported the decriminalisation of homosexual sex and anti-discrimination protections as early as 1981 and have introduced various legal reforms when in power, while the socially conservative Liberal National Party of Queensland and its predecessor the National Party has traditionally been more hostile. Queensland has historically been Australia's most conservative state, particularly in the decentralised regions to the north and west of the metropolitan south-east corner, but the impact of social conservatism on Queensland politics and laws has gradually declined. The highest proportion of Queensland same-sex couples are concentrated in Brisbane's inner-city suburbs, with the top three being New Farm, Fortitude Valley and Teneriffe.

List of Australian electorates contested at every election

Of the 65 federal electoral divisions first contested at the 1901 election, 34 are still in existence without ever being abolished. These are referred to as Federation Divisions, with the Australian Electoral Commission's redistribution guidelines stating that "Every effort should be made to retain the names of original federation divisions".

The Division of Riverina was abolished in 1984 and re-created in 1993, so has not been contested at every election.

Although there were 75 members in the House of Representatives in 1901, there were only 65 divisions contested as the states of South Australia and Tasmania consisted of single multi-member divisions electing 7 and 5 members respectively.In the state parliaments:

In New South Wales, there is only one of the original 34 contested in 1856 that still exists.

In Victoria, three of the original 37 contested in 1856 still exist.

In Queensland there is only one of the original 16 contested in 1860.

In South Australia there is also only one of the original 17 contested in 1856.

In Western Australia, five of the original 30 contested in 1890 still exist.

In the Northern Territory, there are nine of the original 19 contested in 1974.

In both Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory none still exist.

Marjorie Henzell

Marjorie Madeline Henzell (born 21 September 1948) is a former Australian politician.

Henzell was elected to represent the Division of Capricornia in the Australian House of Representatives, and served as the member from 13 March 1993 until 2 March 1996. Henzell was the first woman elected to represent this electorate, and held the seat for the Australian Labor Party.

Michelle Landry

Michelle Leanne Landry (née Martin; born 15 October 1962) is an Australian politician who has been a member of the House of Representatives since the 2013 federal election, representing the Division of Capricornia. She is a member of the Liberal National Party of Queensland, and sits with the Nationals in federal parliament.

Paul Marek

Paul Marek, (born 25 July 1964 in Mount Isa), Australian politician, was the National Party member of the Australian House of Representatives from 2 March 1996 until 3 October 1998, representing the Division of Capricornia, Queensland.

William Higgs

William Guy Higgs (18 January 1862 – 11 June 1951) was an Australian politician who served in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. He was a Senator for Queensland from 1901 to 1906, and then represented the Division of Capricornia in the House of Representatives from 1910 to 1922. He served as Treasurer of Australia from 1915 to 1916, under Billy Hughes.

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