Seat of the week: Lilley

Wayne Swan’s electorate of Lilley covers the Brisbane bayside north-east of the city centre, between the Brisbane and Pine rivers – an area accounting for industrial Eagle Farm in the south and residential Brighton in the north – along with suburbs nearer the city from McDowall, Stafford Heights and Everton Park eastwards through Kedron, Chermside and Zillmere to Nundah, Nudgee and Taigum. The redistribution before the 2010 election had a substantial impact on the electorate, adding 26,000 in Chermside West and Stafford Heights at the northern end (from Petrie) and removing a similar number of voters in an area from Clayfield and Hendra south to Hamilton on the river (to Brisbane), but the margin was little affected.

Lilley was created in 1913, originally extending from its current base of Nudgee, Aspley, Kedron, Eagle Farm and Brisbane Airport all the way north to Gympie. It did not become entirely urban until the enlargement of parliament in 1949, when Petrie was created to accommodate what were then Brisbane’s semi-rural outskirts. Labor won Lilley in 1943, 1946, 1961 and 1972 (by a margin of 35 votes on the latter occasion), but otherwise it was usually safe for the prevailing conservative forces of the day. A decisive shift came with the elections of 1980 and 1983, when Labor’s Elaine Darling won and then consolidated the seat with respective swings of 5.2% and 8.4%.

Wayne Swan succeeded Darling as the Labor member in 1993, but like all but two of his Queensland Labor colleagues he lost his seat in 1996. Swan stood again in 1998 and accounted for the 0.4% post-redistribution margin with a swing of 3.5%. He added further fat to his margin at the each of the next three elections, although in keeping with the inner urban trend his swing in 2007 was well below the statewide average (3.2% compared with 7.5%). The 2010 election delivered the LNP a swing of 4.8% that compared with a statewide result of 5.5%, bringing the seat well into the marginal zone at 3.2%.

Swan’s path into politics began as an adviser to Bill Hayden during his tenure as Opposition Leader and later to Hawke government ministers Mick Young and Kim Beazley, before he took on the position of Queensland party secretary in 1991. He was elevated to the shadow ministry after recovering his seat in 1998, taking on the family and community services portfolio, and remained close to former boss Beazley. Mark Latham famously described Swan and his associates as “roosters” when Beazley conspired to recover the leadership in 2003, but nonetheless retained him in his existing position during his own tenure in the leadership. Swan was further promoted to the Treasury portfolio after the 2004 election defeat, which he retained in government despite suggestions Rudd had been promised the position to Lindsay Tanner in return for his support when he toppled Kim Beazley as leader in December 2006.

Although he went to high school with him in Nambour and shared a party background during the Wayne Goss years, Swan has long been a bitter rival of Kevin Rudd, the former emerging as part of the AWU grouping of the Right and the latter with the Right’s “old guard”. He was in the camp opposing Rudd at successive leadership challenges, including Rudd’s successful challenge against Beazley, his toppling by Julia Gillard in June 2010, and most recently when he sought to recover the leadership in February 2012, when Swan accused Rudd of “sabotaging policy announcements and undermining our substantial economic successes”. Swan succeeded Gillard as deputy upon her ascension to the prime ministership.

Swan’s LNP opponent for the second consecutive election will be Rod McGarvie, a former soldier and United Nations peacekeeper. McGarvie won a July preselection vote from a field which included John Cotter, GasFields commissioner and former head of agriculture lobby group AgForce, and Bill Gollan, owner of a Deagon car dealership.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

2,173 comments on “Seat of the week: Lilley”

  1. Topics of political interest in the Philippines ATM:

    (1) sacking of Mr Puno in relation to some accusations relating to details surrounding the purchase of 59,000 Glocks and a substantial number of long firearms for the police.

    (2) the non-occurrence of a hoped-for meeting in the sidelines beween Messers Hu and Noy. (the Chinese are having a severely trashing impact on the Philippines banana export industry by way of trade pressure in relation to disputed islands in what is variously called the South China Sea or the Philippines Western Sea.)

    (3) the alledged failure by the Deputy Speaker to keep his statement of assets up-to-date.

    (4) the refusal by President Aquino to allow ex-president Arroyo to go overseas for urgent medical treatment in the context of legal proceedings against Ms Arroyo.

    (5) the safety of documents belonging to Mr Robredo who lately died in a light plane crash, cause unknown. The documents are safe despite an attempted break in a day after the plane crash. Mr Robredo was Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government.

  2. [The incident with Hockey where he knocked him unconscious is also worth noting]

    I have never heard of this before – what is this in?

    Remember the problems Latham had over his cabbie incident?

  3. SK

    A few years ago I was at a public park, and was crossing a suspension bridge with my daughter. All of a sudden, Something was urging me to get off the bridge. Mind you, it was a calm sunny day and people were just casually walking along the bridge without a care in the world, but i got this sense of urgency to get off the bridge. So I told my daughter that we needed to rush off the bridge. Once I got off the bridge my OH said what is wrong? Why are you panicking? All I could say to him was that i got the sensation that I had to get off the bridge because something bad was happening. Low and behold a few minutes later, police arrived in police cars and ordered everyone off the bridge. Guns drawn etc, there was this guy on the bridge they were zoning in on, and a lady who had arrived with the police started pleading with this man. Next thing you see is the man jump off the bridge. I could not believe what I was watching. It was like a scene from a movie. Could never Reconcile that incident in my mind.

  4. Mick I think you are just manipulating the different circumstances to justify one side doing something you would criticise the other side for doing. Having said that the government, and Gillard personally, has had plenty directed her way in the past two years so Abbott can hardly complain if a bit comes back to bite him.

    But please don’t try to differentiate the issues on equity grounds. They are both old issues which were only raised now for political point scoring reasons.

  5. I’m still coming to terms with the fact that the challenger for the Prime Ministership was asked if he violently intimidated a woman and he said he couldn’t remember!!! Jesus. That wasn’t exactly a trick question. There was only one sane answer. The man has obviously got the IQ of a pot-plant, albeit a well watered one.

  6. IMHO, the public already knows that Mr Abbott is a bit of a serial thug, a bit of serial stuntmeister and a bit of a liar. The 40% or so who give him PPM will ignore all this because he gives them what they want to hear. The other 60% are most likely not going to switch to hime for any particular reason.

    I am not convinced that the Government going all-out on a negative attack on Mr Abbott is good politics.

    IMHO, nor would it increase Labor’s stature as a government.

    IMHO, people are sick of gutter politics.

  7. Victoria @ 2155

    Low and behold a few minutes later, police arrived in police cars and ordered everyone off the bridge. Guns drawn etc, there was this guy on the bridge they were zoning in on, and a lady who had arrived with the police started pleading with this man. Next thing you see is the man jump off the bridge. I could not believe what I was watching. It was like a scene from a movie. Could never Reconcile that incident in my mind.

    I see.

    So the cops plan was to shoot him to stop him jumping off the bridge?

    Well that’s how it often works in Victoria.

  8. bemused

    I have no idea who the person was, and why the police were in pursuit. The really weird part for me was that without any clue as to what was about to occur, I had the strong feeling to get off the bridge because something bad was just about to happen. I could never figure out how I could possibly know this in advance.

  9. victoria,

    I had a similar incident with the helicopter at sea world. My brothers and their girlfriends wanted to go on the helicopter, and I love to fly as my brothers were well aware and tried and tried to get me on it and I stubbornly refused and begged my brothers not to go on it. Anyway they did go on it, survived, and gave me plenty of stick.

    We flew home that night and the next day was the day the Sea World helicopter crashed.

  10. Victoria
    IMHO, organised sport, particularly male teams in aggressive sports, promote the group identity and adherence to group norms to an extent which can over-ride the individual’s sense of self-protection. This is no different to the military or street gangs. This is why players will play on with injuries which should be rested or join in questionable pack behaviour that
    the individual normally would shun. That is where the club has a responsibility. When strong groups are created, strong rules and leadership is needed, particularly when the players are young and still developing their own values.

    When the group that plays under a set of rules, strongly enforced and under complete supervision on a sporting field and then that same group goes to a place where there is no supervision, no immediate consequences (like a sending off or a penalty kick) and the illusion of no rules, people can get hurt. There is a history of codes of sport not taking responsibility for the situations they create and thankfully now most are addressing this through specific programs.

  11. Sk

    Mine are dreams, sometimes things take years to happen,
    But not always.
    I’d say you have a great guide/guardian angel. Who is warning. You to?warn,
    Have u ever seen an accident, and gosh, ?if the phone had not rang, or if icould of found my car keys
    That may have been me
    I think. To we are used to say say thing out of the blue, the person you?spoke to
    May say, gosh i was worrying about that or thank u that had been on my mind

    Some times the pho e rings and u may of tnought of the person seconds before
    Or. See them in the street.

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