Division of Kennedy

The Division of Kennedy is an Australian electoral division in the state of Queensland.

Australian House of Representatives Division
Division of Kennedy in Queensland, as of the 2019 federal election.
MPBob Katter
PartyKatter's Australian
NamesakeEdmund Kennedy
Electors114,486 (2022)
Area567,377 km2 (219,065.5 sq mi)


Edmund Kennedy, the division's namesake

The division was proclaimed in 1900, and was one of the original 65 divisions to be contested at the first federal election. It is named after Edmund Kennedy, an explorer in the area where the division is located in Queensland.

The member since 1993 is Bob Katter Jr., the leader of Katter's Australian Party. He was previously elected as a member of the National Party, but became an independent in 2001 before forming his own party in 2011.

Geographically, the electorate is rural. It takes in the Pacific coast of Queensland between Cairns and Townsville, including a small portion of Cairns itself, before sweeping westward to take in most of Queensland's northern outback—a large, increasingly sparsely populated area stretching west to the border with the Northern Territory. The largest population centre in the electorate is the city of Mount Isa, in its far west. Until 1949, the electorate was even larger, encompassing most of the state north of Townsville, becoming still larger when it absorbed Cairns in 1934. However, much of its northern portion, including the Cairns area, became the Division of Leichhardt in 1949.

Kennedy was held by the Australian Labor Party for most of the first half of the 20th century, and was one of the few country seats where Labor consistently did well. From Federation until 1966, Labor held it for all but two terms. However, since 1966 it has been held by the conservative Katter family—Bob Sr. and his son, Bob Jr.—for all but one term. It has long since shaken off its Labor past, and is now considered one of the most conservative electorates in Australia. A few Labor pockets still exist in Mount Isa, which was represented by Labor at the state level as late as 2012, as well as around Cairns and Townsville. However, they are no match for the heavily conservative bent of the rest of the seat.

Besides the Katters, other prominent members include Charles McDonald, the first Labor Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives, and Bill Riordan, a minister in the Chifley government.

Darby Riordan held the seat from 1929 until his death in 1936. His nephew, Bill, won the seat at the ensuing by-election and held it until his retirement in 1966. Bob Katter Sr. won it in the 1966 Coalition landslide, holding it until 1990. His son and current member, Bob Jr. defeated his father's successor, Rob Hulls, in 1993. Hulls would later become Deputy Premier of Victoria.

Since 1984, federal electoral division boundaries in Australia have been determined at redistributions by a redistribution committee appointed by the Australian Electoral Commission. Redistributions occur for the boundaries of divisions in a particular state, and they occur every seven years, or sooner if a state's representation entitlement changes or when divisions of a state are malapportioned.[1]

At the 2013 election, sitting member Bob Jr. faced his first serious contest in two decades. He'd gone into the election holding Kennedy with a margin of 18 per cent, making Kennedy the second-safest seat in Australia. However, Liberal National candidate Noeline Ikin was well ahead on the primary vote by 10,000 votes. Katter narrowly pulled through and won another term on Labor preferences. However, he suffered a swing of 17 per cent, reducing his majority to only 2.19 per cent.[2]

Katter did not however face a rematch against Ikin at the 2016 election due to her having a brain tumour which forced her out of the election.[3] (The tumour ultimately claimed Ikin's life in 2017.[4]) At that election, Katter picked up a swing of almost nine per cent, making it a safe seat once again.

Kennedy was one of the 17 (out of 150) electorates that voted ‘no’ in the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.[5]


Image Member Party Term Notes
  Charles McDonald
Labor 30 March 1901
13 November 1925
Previously held the Legislative Assembly of Queensland seat of Flinders. Served as Speaker during the Fisher and Hughes Governments. Died in office the day before the 1925 federal election
  Grosvenor Francis
Nationalist 14 November 1925
12 October 1929
Lost seat
  Darby Riordan
Labor 12 October 1929
15 October 1936
Previously held the Legislative Assembly of Queensland seat of Burke. Died in office. Nephew was Bill Riordan
  Bill Riordan
Labor 12 December 1936 –
31 October 1966
Served as minister under Chifley. Retired. Uncle was Darby Riordan
  Bob Katter Sr.
Country 26 November 1966
2 May 1975
Served as minister under McMahon. Retired. Son is Bob Katter Jr.
  National Country 2 May 1975 –
16 October 1982
  Nationals 16 October 1982 –
19 February 1990
  Rob Hulls
Labor 24 March 1990
13 March 1993
Lost seat. Later elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly seat of Niddrie in 1996
  Bob Katter Jr.
Nationals 13 March 1993
9 July 2001
Previously held the Legislative Assembly of Queensland seat of Flinders. Incumbent. Father was Bob Katter Sr.
  Independent 9 July 2001 –
5 June 2011
  Katter's Australian 5 June 2011 –

Election results

2022 Australian federal election: Kennedy[6]
Party Candidate Votes % ±%
Katter's Australian Bob Katter 39,036 41.70 +0.74
Liberal National Bryce Macdonald 26,387 28.19 +0.71
Labor Jason Brandon 15,033 16.06 −0.92
Greens Jennifer Cox 6,013 6.42 +1.25
United Australia Peter Campion 4,154 4.44 −2.22
Independent Jen Sackley 2,981 3.18 +3.18
Total formal votes 93,604 96.72 +0.88
Informal votes 3,171 3.28 −0.88
Turnout 96,775 84.59 −4.51
Notional two-party-preferred count
Liberal National Bryce Macdonald 56,312 60.16 −4.35
Labor Jason Brandon 37,292 39.84 +4.35
Two-candidate-preferred result
Katter's Australian Bob Katter 59,060 63.10 −0.23
Liberal National Bryce Macdonald 34,544 36.90 +0.23
Katter's Australian hold Swing−0.23


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