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”

Comments Page 2 of 44
1 2 3 44
  1. latika does not agree with Hartcher

    [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 1h
    @dfg77 I disagree with Hartcher’s theory. I don’t reckon Abbott’s outgrown Joyce at all. Merely read correctly this was a fight libs wld win]

  2. It is not PB, it is the newspaper headlines. I am quite sure headlines about our gold medals, photos of our victorious team and all the rest would make people feel good and be interesting. The story is there waiting to be written. The ABC is cleaning up in the ratings apparently, so the interest is there.

    As usual the MSM miss the story.

  3. There’s the Michael Duffy book, there’s his own book Battlelines, there’s the Susan Mitchell book and there’s now a Marr Quarterly Essay on Abbott as well as the pocket book of quotes Tony Speaks. A lot of this stuff is very well known

    There’s less written about the Prime Minister. One book by Jacqueline Kent after the 2007 election and that’s it (which is very surprising given she’s the first female PM)

  4. victoria:

    If Abbott really did disagree with Joyce he’d have gone a lot harder against the thinly-veiled racism the Nats are peddling with the Cubby sale.

    Listening to Abbott explaining to Wilkinson yesterday, he sounded like he was trying to have a bob each way: no we don’t think foreign ownership of our land should be curtailed, but we’re going to establish guidelines for it anyway (as if such guidelines don’t already exist).

  5. spur212

    Not everyone is interested in reading about politicians. Therefore, I repeat my earlier comments that the general populace would have no clue about Abbott’s uni days unless it was talked about in the msm or on qanda for eg. Otherwise, these things are not known. Why do you think the Oz and others were so desperate for the story of JG as solicitor to come out in the msm?

  6. Julie Bishop is on ABC24 going through the usual gloom and doom. lol She ends by saying Gina is right to be ‘concerned’.

  7. Rossmore

    Posted Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    More evidence of disunity and rumblings in the LNP

    But Pompous Peter has to go in on Abbott’s side I see, saying he has outgrown Joyce?? Sorry my time clock was out last night as just went through the proceedings. Has Duckie surfaced yet? AND is he intact? Hope I get an invite like the sound of the menu.
    A big welcome back to Harry Snapper or Monica or whatever he is now.
    I am so proud of the paraolympians, they have done us proud.

  8. Drownings and Nauru are not stemming the flow

    [Latika Bourke @latikambourke 18s
    Another boat. AFP and Customs had to board a boat near Cocos. 99 on board. ‘Run the risk’ of transfer. #asylum]
    View details ·

  9. Lyne Lady @ #10
    That is completely new to me but I am only in Port occassionally now.
    Doesn’t Beeseling still work in Oakeshott’s office?

  10. Good Morning from the frontlines of the NSW Local Council Elections! 🙂

    Well, I’m not on the front line yet, my HTV shift starts at 1pm & finishes with Scrutineering, however I’ve spoken to our candidate from our local area and he has retailed some very interesting news to me about the Liberals up here on the Central Coast.

    It appears the war between the Moderates and the big ‘C’ Christian Conservative faction, led by Peter Hartcher’s cousin, Chris Hartcher, has produced a campaign having received few donations, an anaemic team lined up to run with no local heavy hitters on it, and insipid support from the wider Liberal diaspora up here.

    Is ‘An Institutional Go Slow’ on up here, I wonder? 😉

    Anyway, the Labor Party has a full ticket of 10 candidates(and even one for guytaur to love 🙂 ), plus a Liberal defector on the ticket and a few handing out HTVs for us.
    They haven’t decided to join Dr Andrew Leigh’s new party of the small ‘l’ Laborels but we’ll work on it.

    It’s also a beautiful day here and I’m feeling lucky, punk! 😀

  11. Victoria

    The general populace don’t really care much about Abbott’s uni days. It’s been covered ad nauseum in the other books I listed.

    The PM had far less written about her before she became PM

  12. spur212

    The electorate did not seem to care about JG’s days as a solicitor. Her personal ratings has gone up since then. So you are probably right.

    For me. It is the economy stupid!

  13. It’s not that Tony Abbott doesn’t like women, or even powerful women, for that matter. It’s just that he believes they have their place in society, and it’s beneath him. Also dutiful towards their husbands.

  14. [The PM had far less written about her before she became PM]

    The PM wasn’t a soulless attention seeker devoid of policy or value or any sort.

  15. WeWantPaul

    If that’s the case, why is there nothing written about her? I don’t care about her uni history (which I know), I want to read about her philosophy and her personality

  16. victoria,
    It’s an interesting demographic up here. Lots of arty types and environmentalists. We’ve had 2 Greens Councillors for a very long time. Big LGBTI community, which generally likes to fly under the radar and just live the relaxed lifestyle. We also have one of Sydney’s gazetted nude beaches too. But also a large Pensioner, Disabled & Public Housing sector. Not to mention extremely wealthy individuals, like John Singleton(you can’t win ’em all 😀 ).

  17. victoria

    Because it gives her intellectual weight and those intelligent lefties who tend to read political books tend to view people a little differently when there’s a book or two written about them

  18. spur212

    Christine Wallace who is a fan of JG wrote an unauthorised bio on JG a while ago. The book was withdrawn for sale. I have the inside word as to why, and it was not due to JG

  19. spur212

    And btw the majority of the electorate are not interested in intellectual weight. They care about how much taxes they have to pay and cost of llving. Pretty simple really

  20. [Space Kidette
    Posted Saturday, September 8, 2012 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    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.]

    Actually it was fought for and won by a lot of decent men of good will too. All the new laws which enshrined the rights of women went through parliaments that were – and still are – dominated by men.

    We shouldn’t forget that when handing out the bouquets.

  21. On the NSW council elections –
    It’s supposed to be a big day in Port Macquarie today because we get to vote for a council at last. We’ve had an administrator for years because the last council – National Party dominated and as corrupt as they come – was sacked for incompetence. I really liked having an administrator, I’m not sure I want to go back to a mob of local incompetents, closet Nats stooges and retired gumbies running the place. However, dutiful, community-minded person that I am, I did my civic duty and not only voted but voted days early.

    Naturally, being Port Macquarie the decent candidates will not get up and we will once again have a council made up of the worst of the stooges, gumbies and incompetents.


    [Labor goes after super tax breaks

    Laura Tingle and Katie Walsh

    The federal government is considering cutting billions in superannuation tax concessions to pay for expensive new policies in education and disability services.

    Generous capital gains tax breaks for self-managed superannuation funds which invest in property are the government’s clearest target.]

    A couple of related articles, but paywalled and you can only see the opening paragraph. See todays paper edition if interested.

  23. Rats!!

    “Bendigo would benefit from a government which delivers lower taxes, better services, stronger borders and modern infrastructure,” Mr Abbott said.

    There was no room for anything but the message he had come to Bendigo to deliver, as he walked briskly past patients and visitors.

    Kevin Berry, nursing a leg busted when he fell off a hay stack, tried to explain about the rat problem out on his farm, but even his comment that it wasn’t the hay but the blue twine the rats were after couldn’t swerve Mr Abbott from his focus.

    A tight smile, a nudge from one of his minders, and the Opposition leader moved on, leaving Mr Berry to contemplate the rats alone

  24. Like to know a bit more about Barbara Ramjan, the woman Tony Abbott has pretty much called a liar?

    These days she’s on the board of Legal Aid NSW.
    [Barbara Ramjan BA(Hons) MHL GradDipCrim
    Barbara has previously served as a Member of the Guardianship Tribunal and the Immigration Review Tribunal. Since 2002 she has appeared as a Guardian ad Litem in the Children’s Court and Administrative Decisions Tribunal, as well as filling this role in many other courts and tribunals. Barbara is also a member of the Children’s Court Advisory Committee.]

  25. For those who can’t be bothered to buy the Quarterly Essay, here’s Marr talking about it for 20 minutes


    The ALP prides itself from the conservatives by being more well read and intellectual. The problem isn’t the economy. The problem is the perceived lack of intellectual depth associated with the PM

  26. [He was Abbo to his friends. From the moment he arrived at Sydney University in the late 1970s he showed himself to be a muscular reactionary of extraordinary, boisterous energy. The study of economics and law never engaged his imagination. Politics did from the start. “He was wild,” says a student from those years. “Wild even for a wild college boy.” Young Tony did things hard: drinking, writing, arguing, f…ing and playing rugby union. His home base was St John’s, the Catholic men’s college under its gothic tower. His political base was the tiny Democratic Club, one of a network on campuses across the country set up and guided by Bob Santamaria’s socially conservative and fiercely anti-communist National Civic Council. For the next five years he would speak, write and campaign for NCC causes. Within days of his arrival he was putting out the club’s newsletter, Democrat. The targets he chose for his March 1976 debut as a fighting journalist were lesbians, homosexuals and the Students’ Representative Council (SRC)]

  27. There was a one-legged man at the intersection of Alaya Avenue and Makati Avenue yesterday. He was begging. He might be capable of winning gold in the paralympics but it did not seem to be a front-of-mind issue for him.

  28. The problem is the perceived lack of intellectual depth associated with the PM

    Which Australia do you live in exactly?

    The PM has many problems in the electorate – a perceived lack of trustworthiness, lack of standing for something, personal image issues (voice, earlobes, whatever) – I would be fairly sure “lack of intellectual depth” doesn’t even rate a mention in the pantheon of complaints against the PM.

Comments Page 2 of 44
1 2 3 44

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *