Noosa voters estranged from Wide Bay
NOOSA may be the jewel in the crown of Sunshine Coast tourism but its federal representative sits in the rural seat of Wide Bay, more than 150km to its north.
While the rest of the Coast enjoys the benefit of federal parliamentarians on their doorstep at Maroochydore, Kawana and Caboolture, Noosa has been sacrificed to a "make-up-the-numbers" role in an electorate centred on Maryborough and stretching west into the South Burnett to places such as Goomeri, Murgon, Cherbourg and Brooweena - a name that would not slip easily from the tongues of most who call the northern Sunshine Coast home.
Speculation continues to mount about the future of Member for Wide Bay Warren Truss, the 67-year-old National Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister, opening the door to questions about not only who will succeed him but from what area the LNP's pre-selected candidate will come.
There is little doubt that if Mr Truss announces his retirement in February or March as is being tipped, whoever the LNP pre-selects to replace him will be the next federal member.
The seat is strongly conservative and despite Mr Truss's primary vote plummeting at the last federal election in 2013, due mainly to the influence of the Palmer United Party candidate Stephen Anderson, distribution of preferences saw the incumbent returned with 63.16% of the two-party preferred vote.
That represented a swing of just over 2% against him.
Should electoral boundaries be readjusted so voters are better represented?
This poll ended on 11 January 2016.
Yes. How can one person adequately represent people with such vastly different needs.
No. Things seem to be working fine as they are.
Without introducing more seats it's a readjustment would just shift the problem.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
The Labor Party last May pre-selected Lucy Stanton as its candidate. In 2013, she secured 20.71% of the primary vote and 36.84% of the two-party preferred count.
Mr Truss came under most pressure from Sunshine Coast and Gympie polling booths where up to 23% of voters went looking at the PUP alternative before preferencing the sitting member.
In 2013, Wide Bay had 89,658 people who voted. Noosa booths (27,296) made up 30% of that total.
However, former Liberal member for Fairfax Alex Somlyay, whose seat at one stage stretched from the Maroochy River to Gympie, Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach, says those towns to Noosa's immediate north have a far greater community of interest with it than Maryborough.
They would prefer their local member to be either in Noosa or Gympie.
Taking in Gympie and district polling places lifts to 47,133 - or 52.56% - the number of voters in the electorate whose community of interest is disconnected from Maryborough.
Mr Somlyay points out it is not those voters but LNP party members who will determine the candidate to replace Mr Truss.
"There is definitely a community of interest between Noosa and Gympie plus Tin Can Bay and Rainbow Beach," he said.
"I represented those areas as a Liberal representative for quite a significant time."
There lies the rub. Mr Truss may be part of the merged LNP in Queensland, as are Fisher MP Mal Brough and Longman's Wyatt Roy.
But unlike them, he sits in the Federal Parliament as a National Party representative because Wide Bay had been a National Party seat before the Queensland conservative amalgamation in 2008. It was that convention that ultimately blocked Ian Macfarlane's shift to the Nationals before Christmas.
The LNP in Queensland is officially a division of the Liberal Party but it is also a division of the Nationals.
"Pre-selection will be dependent on branch numbers,'' Mr Somlyay said.
"Maryborough would be more old National Party than Liberal. LNP members in Gympie would vote for a more Country Party person.
"There's more involved than who is the best person for the job. There could be territorial demarcation. The voters of Noosa in the past 25 years are generally ex-Liberals from NSW and Victoria."
Mr Truss gained his grounding in politics as a councillor in Kingaroy from 1976 before becoming the council chairman in 1983 - a position he held for seven years before shifting to Maryborough and winning Wide Bay in 1990.