The electoral division had previously centred on Gladstone and its surrounding area. On those boundaries, it was a marginal seat that traded hands between the Australian Labor Party and the National Party of Australia. However, after a redistribution in 2006, the Gladstone area, a Labor bastion, was transferred to the Division of Flynn. This seemingly consolidated the Nationals' hold on the seat. While National incumbent Paul Neville was nearly swept out in 2007 due in part to Queensland swinging heavily to Labor under Kevin Rudd, he was reelected with a large enough swing in 2010 to turn Hinkler into a safe seat for the merged Liberal National Party.