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”

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  1. Tony Abbott has long history. He also bullied Bernie Banton, John Brogden, Graham Edwards, Craig Thomson, PM and Dep Speaker Bourke

  2. We all thought this happened years ago.

    We were wrong.

    It hasn’t happened until it’s in the Herald.

    [Bully tactics came out early in Abbott, says former rival
    WHEN Tony Abbott lost the University of Sydney Students’ Representative Council presidency, he allegedly approached the woman who beat him and, leaning into her face, punched the wall on each side of her head.


  3. Good morning Dawn Patrollers.
    Oh dear! Peta will give Abbott a spanking after that performance with Lisa W.
    But why should he be rewarded for that?

    Hitching the Coalition to Can-do’s wagon may not be a wise move.

    I do hope David Marr’s paper gets plenty of airplay. It seems attuned to what is in Susan Mitchell’s book. Another portent of the Great Unhinging perhaps?

    The Grattanosuarus agrees with the PM for a change.
    A very sombre Mike Carlton column today.
    Alan Moir has a dip at Fatty’s Sydney transport plan.

    Ron Tandberg hits out at Jim Wallace’s stupid remarks.

  4. And from the Land of the Free –

    When FoxNews gets tetchy with the Repugs it’s serious.
    US BISONS in picture form.

    For the life of me why, oh why do the US political parties include religious crap in their conventions, etc?
    That’s a great line!
    This video is worth a look. Thom Hartman and Mike Papantonio saying that the Repugs are trying to make sure Obama fails. Sound familiar?

  5. NSW LG elections
    I will be concentrating on mayor of Port Macquarie – Hastings.
    Peter Beeseling ex MLA and Oakeshott ally is standing – how he goes will give some idea of Oakeshott’s poskition.

  6. OC
    am i wrong or has besseling aligned himself with conservatives who backed lesley williams in the state election – i think it is quite strange

  7. And there we have it.

    After the obligatory references to Teh Polls, Ruddstoration, Boats, Disgruntled Miners, Patronising (or should that be Matronising?), Talking Down To Serious Bizoids Who’ve Thrown A Few Bucks At Aborigines, there is this:

    [The question is this: will Gillard get any credit for economic management and for going hard on traditional Labor issues – or have voters already stopped listening? My instinct is that she still faces a huge battle, but a comeback cannot be ruled out.

    One reason for this is that Gillard’s ability to set the agenda in the past fortnight has put the focus back on Abbott – and he hasn’t performed very well. ]

    Michael Gordon finally gets it about Gillard and he gets it about Abbott.

    OK, so it’s grudging, surly and stupid.

    Abbott, it seems, has only not “performed very well” in the past fortinight (forget the other nearly three years of bumbles, uhms, aahs, shit-happens and python squeezes), since a couple of what should have been doddle interviews in friendly venues went pear-shaped.

    As to Gillard, Gordon only now seems to have noticed that Labor got us through the GST intact and prospering by sensible economic management and that Gillard is immensely capable person.

    But he finally is prepared to concede that a comeback is possible.

    It’s a welcome change from the “marking time until we can get rid of her” approach that has colored almost all political commentary, including Gordon’s, since 2010.

  8. BB Your recent tirades against the MSM I suspect are a factor in the recent shift in the MSMs attitudes towards Abbott. Have you considered putting them (the PB tirades) together in a blog or similar? They are great pieces of political writing and deserve a wider audience.

  9. [Bushfire Bill
    Posted Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    We all thought this happened years ago.

    We were wrong.

    It hasn’t happened until it’s in the Herald.]

    Its like, if someone says “I now pronounce you husband and wife”. It means nothing unless the person saying is a priest, standing in a church, with all the prep done beforehand.

    If someone says “Tony Abbott was a thug at uni”, it means nothing until it is repeated on the front page of a newspaper.

    The phenomenon is called a “performative speech act”.

  10. Will Fairfax do a sensationalist dirt-digging campaign against Abbott? Like the Oz tried against Gillard and Rudd.

    Surely good sales in it.

  11. (click google link)

    [Resources lobby slams chorus claiming boom is over
    Andrew Burrell
    From: The Australian
    September 08, 2012 12:00AM

    THE head of Western Australia’s powerful resources lobby group has rubbished claims that the mining boom is dead despite the plunge in commodity prices, pointing to data showing 5000 job vacancies in the sector and more than $180 billion of projects under way or planned.

    While Chamber of Minerals and Energy chief executive Reg Howard-Smith predicted that other miners might follow Fortescue Metals Group’s shock move this week to axe jobs and slash its expansion plans in the Pilbara, he insisted this did not mean the investment boom was finished.

    And he said the doomsayers who were calling the end of the boom were damaging Australia’s international reputation, describing the damage to the industry as similar to that suffered during the debate over the resource super-profits tax in 2010.]

  12. bg – I’m not sure there is overall directional meme thing going on at Fairfax at the moment.

    People seem to be doing their own thing.


    The Abbott at Sydney Uni stories always intrigue me, as I was there at the time. Sadly, my recollection of events mostly relate to the goings on at a manning house where the Arts crowd hung out, rather than the Union bar where the engineers and college crew were. Abbott was a Union man.

    I do recall one of Abbott’s party tactics (I think they were called Centre Unity or something similar) was to get a group of 20 or so male engineering students, and march around the campus chanting slogans. This included raiding the known leftie, homosexual and lesbian hangouts. Needless to say, Abbott became a hated figure, but my recollection was he only ran for 1year, maybe 2 and then disappeared.

    A few interesting vignettes from 1979 still relevant today. The Left was hopelessly split and riven with factions and personalities, which led to Abbott winning on miniscule turnout. Secondly, Abbott lied and embellished the truth, as evidenced in the attached link. Still doing it today.

    With the SMH and Marr giving this time in Abbott’s life oxygen, more may come out. And there is a lot more.

  14. (click google link)

    [Force of nature
    by: Matthew Denholm
    From: The Australian
    September 08, 2012 12:00AM

    TEN years old and 270km from home, a little girl sits with tears streaming down her face and writes the only words she is allowed to, though she knows them to be a lie: “Everything is fine.”

    Almost five decades later, the same face, now creased and chiselled by time but enlivened by the same vibrant green eyes, registers the memory with pain and tenderness.

    The girl was Christine Morris – now Christine Milne – as she sat in St Mary’s College boarding school in Hobart, crafting a letter home using words that would pass the strict censorship of the resident nuns.]

    Profile of Christine Milne in the Weekend Australian Magazine

  15. Good Morning, Bludgers.

    I sincerely hope all those in the high wind affected areas are safe and unaffected.

    First it was Leigh Sales, then Lisa Wilkinson, now David Marr calling out Tony Abbott for what the bullying, wrecking-ball, Santamaria-disciple he is.

    Nor do I think it’s coincidence that other women calling him out – including PM Gillard, AG Nicola Roxon, Tanya Plibersek, Penny Wong, Leigh Sales – are all early GenXers born during the height of Aussie women’s struggle for equality: The Pill controversy; not having to resign when they married; equal pay, equal access to jobs & promotion, equal superannuation/ provident fund rights; equal access to bank loans (inc mortgage) etc.

    They grew through childhood in an era when the effects of Youthquakers, Protest Marches and Women’s Lib were keenly felt; a generation of girls growing up in homes where Germaine Greer, Lillian Roxon, Coral Lansbury (MalT’s mother), Anne Summers and others were household names, and Cosmopolitan and Bettina Arndt’s Forum magazines de rigueur reading; with 60-70s’ women singers and protest songs, inc feminist anthems like Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walking” and the music of Chicago’s Women’s Liberation Rock Band.

    At a national political level, Gough Whitlam, having beaten the “Faceless Men”, was the new leader of the Federal Parliamentary ALP, with an articulate wife, Margaret, whose influence on the women’s movement was huge, offering a vision of equality which would come to fruition when Fraser’s Government passed the AntiDiscrimination Legislation.

    I’m so glad the Prime Minister’s generation of Aussie Women is finding its mojo and using it so laudably; especially on a wannabe pm that represents all he attitudes to women their parents’ generation fought so hard to defeat.

  16. More on the David Marr article on Abbott.

    Marr with Mike Seccombe video discussion

    [ It was back in 1990, when Abbott, the former student activist, was first making his way in politics proper as adviser to the then Liberal Party leader, John Hewson.

    The young Abbott, himself a man of strong convictions, was impressed at the start with Hewson’s integrity.

    “He called his advisers together and … said something like this: ‘Losing an election would not be the end of the world, but going to an election without a policy, or set of policies I believed in — that would be real failure’.”

    “Now,” continued Abbott, recalling the moment 18 years later, “I was thrilled to hear this and I thought to myself, in the tradition of B.A. Santamaria, this is a man not a political weathervane.”

    Full article and video

  17. OPT,

    Thanks for the reminder that everything that I take for granted as normal, was won by women who stood up and fought for the rights we have today.

  18. Besides 13 year old maddie winning my heart, the thing that stands out in these Paralympics, is the amount of gold medals won in world record time.

  19. Besides 13 year old maddie winning my heart, the thing that stands out in these Paralympics, is the amount of gold medals won in world record time.

  20. From the article on Milne linked to above (thanks, Leroy):

    [“It was hard to negotiate [with her] because there was also an assumption that the people she was dealing with were either morally or intellectually lacking,” ]

    …which is what we were saying here about her and SHY the other day.

    You can believe you’re right and show you respect the other person!

  21. The coverage of the paralympics has been 100 % better than CH 9 olympics, even interviews with those who did not win a medal, but who were in the best 8 in the world, no excuses just happy smiles and sensible comments.

    Well done ABC Paralympic Commentators as well.

  22. morning bludgers

    The Herald Scum is very thin on federal politics today. Laurie Oakes and cubby station

    [THE possibility that Barnaby Joyce could become deputy prime minister in a Coalition government suddenly has Liberals – quite a few of them, anyway – frothing at the mouth]

    there is also an editorial about the Grocon/CFMEU dispute and Fair work Australia. As per usual, it maligns the Union, JG and the govt and Fair Work Australia. Can’t find the editorial online

  23. Good morning everyone.

    “We’re not a Stalinist party” says Abbott, who has refused Liberal members’ their entitlement to a free vote on the issue of marriage equality.

  24. Abbott may have been jittery yesterday morning with Lisa W because he was aware of David Marr writing about the claim that he punched the wall on either side of his rival at uni

  25. Sprocket:

    Abbott’s formative years saw him roaming about the place chanting slogans and sticking his face where it wasn’t wanted?

    No! I’d never have guessed. 😉

  26. As I said yesterday, the Marr Quarterly Essay on Abbott is very ordinary. Similar stuff to the Susan Mitchell book albeit a little less on his gender issues

    I’m sure people on here will pick apart his university history on here, even though most of it is already well known.

  27. Puff. Pb mosty are not intereted it seems
    In the paras
    Don’t waste your time

    We have watched nothing els
    Looking in at pb now and then saddened me tnat
    Many have seem to have just politics

  28. The high opinion polls is what is keeping the coalition relatively in check. Imagine if the polls narrowed. The divisions within the party would explode. Abbott would no longer be able to keep Barnyard in check. The dissent would be obvious for all and sundry

  29. spur212

    Voterland have no clue about Abbott and his past. Only those heavily interested in politics have any clue about our MPS. The general populace do not

  30. [Only those heavily interested in politics have any clue about our MPS. The general populace do not]

    If you have ever worked on a campaign you will know that you underestimate just how aware the electorate are.

  31. my say

    The paralympics have been wonderful. It is probably not being mentioned much here because the games are not being politicised, like the other one was. The reportage has been enjoyable and the athletes are respected. On the other hand, the other games was all about not doing good enough, or the funding was not enough etc.

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